Timber businesses mould to form £100m industry super power

Sam McCrea, founder of Springfarm Architectural Mouldings (SAM) in Antrim
Sam McCrea, founder of Springfarm Architectural Mouldings (SAM) in Antrim Sam McCrea, founder of Springfarm Architectural Mouldings (SAM) in Antrim

TWO of the biggest names in the UK and Ireland's timber trade have come together in a move which creates a £100 million-plus industry powerhouse.

The family-owned Springfarm Architectural Mouldings (SAM) in Antrim, founded in 1990 and which manufactures high quality MDF mouldings, skirting and architraves for use across Britain, Ireland and Europe, has agreed to acquire W. Howard Ltd and its sister companies W. Howard Kildare Ltd (WH) and Polyco Ltd.

Neither party has put a figure on the cost of the deal, which remains subject to legal and regulatory approvals.

The brands at SAM ( and W.Howard will continue to operate and trade as normal, and all existing processes will remain the same until the deal is concluded.

A joint statement from the firms' respective owners Sam McCrea and Jonathan Grant said: “In an industry where consolidation is becoming ever more common, this will create an even stronger business unit.

“Together we will be well placed to continue to serve and grow our extremely valued customer base with an ever-increasing quality product range and a service offering which is second to none in the industry.”

In its most recent set of annual accounts, which cover the 12 months to February of this year, SAM reported a turnover of £71.2 million - up 21.5 per cent from the 2022 figure of £58.6 million.

Profit after tax rose from £12.6m to 13.9m, and the company, which has current assets of £31.2m, was able to pay a dividend of £4.5m (up from £1.8m the year before).

Earlier this year SAM, which has 177 staff on its payroll, broke ground on a new 45,000 sq ft warehouse in Antrim in a £5m investment ‘to fulfil its delivery, stock hold, and stock range goals’ and also said a further £2m will be invested in business improvements.

W.Howard manufactures and distributes one of Europe’s widest ranges of MDF skirtings, architraves, window boards, wall panelling, door linings and bespoke products, and its 100-plus stock lines are sold to builders’ merchants and specialist trade manufacturers.

It has 110 staff on its books, and its latest set of accounts show it had sales just shy of £30m in the 2022 calendar year and posted a profit of £2m.