Murdock acquisition brings Brooks back into Irish ownership

Murdock Builders Merchants has paid an undisclosed sum to buy the Brooks Group in Dublin from Premier Forest Products Group in Wales and return it to Irish ownership
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NEWRY-based builders merchants Murdock has bought the Brooks Group in Dublin from Premier Forest Products Group in Wales and returned it to Irish ownership.

The deal, the financial terms of which have not been disclosed, comprises Brooks Builders Merchants as well as Dublin Plywood and Veneer (DPV).

“The transaction will lead to the return to Irish ownership, after a 40 year interval, of Brooks, Ireland’s oldest name in builders merchanting and leads to the establishment of a strong competitive force in the market,” a spokesman for Murdock Builders said.

Murdock, established in 1982 with the set-up of Newry Building Supplies on the Rathfriland Road in Newry, has 10 branches and two timber processing facilities in the north as well as four retail outlets in the Republic.

Brooks, which can trace its roots back to 1750, has seven builders' merchants branches in the Republic while DPV has a timber distribution based in Dublin.

The deal is subject to the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

As well as its 14 builders merchants branches Murdock - which employs 370 staff and in its last trading year had sales of more than £68 million - owns two bespoke timber sites in Ireland consisting of Cranwood Industries and Murdock Trusses, and a civils division.

“This acquisition marks an important strategic move in significantly broadening our footprint in the Republic through the Brooks business and provides us with a great platform for further expansion in Ireland,” Ciaran Murdoch said.

“We very much look forward to working with our new colleagues and the Brooks management team who have done such a good job in growing the business over the past number of years,” he added.

Mark Lohan, managing director of Brooks Group, said it was “an exciting new chapter” for the combined business.

“The combination of Brooks with Murdock comes at a great time for the business,” he said.

“We have made significant progress in realising the objectives of our strategy, strengthening the fundamentals, enhancing resilience and delivering performance.”

When the acquisition is ratified, Murdock plans to appoint Eddie Kelly as chairman of Brooks Group.

He has had a significant career in Irish builders merchanting and, as chief executive, led Grafton’s merchanting business in Ireland for seven years prior to his recent retirement.

Paul Lynch, former executive director at Heiton Group and chief financial officer of Applegreen, will also join the board as a non-executive director.

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