Business

Fermanagh sawmill giant Balcas is sold to Glennon Brothers in Longford

Balcas wood pellets are used in thousands of boilers and wood burning stoves in homes and businesses across Britain and Ireland

ENNISKILLEN-based timber and renewable energy business Balcas has been bought by sawmill group Glennon Brothers, a third-generation timber processing company with plants in Longford, Cork and Troon.

The deal, subject to approval from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority and its Irish equivalent the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and which brings together two of the industry’s biggest players, has been completed for an undisclosed sum.

The major shareholder in Balcas is Dutch-based SHV Energy, a global distributor of off-grid energy such as LPG, LNG and which is active in the area of sustainable fuels and renewable energy solutions.

Until relatively recently, Invest NI also held around £1.2 million of shares in Balcas, which has had a presence in Co Fermanagh for 60 years.

One of the largest producers of biomass wood pellets in Britain and Ireland, Balcas operates a major sawmill at Ballinamallard making timber products used in building, farming and packaging, and it also manufactures renewable energy products there and at Invergordon in Scotland.

Brian Murphy, chief executive of Balcas, said the company was excited to be joining Glennon Brothers and was “another milestone” in its history.

Its latest set of published accounts shows that Balcas had sales of £108.7 million in 2019 and cleared a profit of £6.3 million, a gross margin of more than 24 per cent. It has reserves of £19m.

The company also employs 380 staff, whereas Glennon has 500 employees and 250 indirect employees in Ireland and the UK.

Mike Glennon, joint managing director of the purchasing company, said Glennon looked forward to welcoming Balcas to the group.

In recent years Balcas has worked closely with the NI Forest Service, Coillte in the Republic, the Forestry Commission, and private landowners to source timber and to ensure that everything harvested is replanted.

Its 'brites' product is used as a renewable fuel for heat in leading supermarkets, in large Scottish distilleries, hospitals, schools and hotels and domestically, and Balcas says that leads to the displacement of more than 100 million litres of heating oil each year.

In recent years Balcas acquired Forever Fuels in the south of England, which grew its production facilities by about a quarter and also offered storage facilities which helped streamline distribution across England and Wales.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Business