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James Donaldson Group acquires Rowan Manufacturing and Smith & Frater

James Donaldson & Sons Ltd (JDS), has announced the acquisition of Rowan Manufacturing Ltd (RML) and Smith & Frater Ltd (S&F) from the shareholders of the Rowan Group.

Headquartered in Fife, JDS is a family-owned business specialising in the processing, manufacturing, merchanting and distribution of timber and associated building products. This acquisition opens new product and market opportunities for the group, in the supply of door sets, bespoke joinery and kitchen manufacturing; and fits with the firm’s desire to expand its capabilities in the UK’s house building, offsite manufacture, local authority, RMI and contracting markets.

Scott Cairns, group managing director at JDS, said: “Both Rowan Manufacturing and Smith & Frater have a great reputation for quality, service and product innovation. The suite of products offered by both businesses perfectly complements our portfolio in JDS with a clear synergy of client base.

“We see an opportunity initially in the Scottish market to invest in and substantially grow both businesses; with longer-term plans to expand that offering to the rest of the UK.”

Rowan Manufacturing specialises in made to measure staircases; internal and external door sets; windows and screens; as well as bespoke joinery design for all areas of a development or home improvement. Smith and Frater supplies products such as kitchen manufacturing; Fibo wall panelling; flooring; bathrooms; internal doors and ceiling panels to the building trade and construction industry.

Nick Higgins, Rowan Group managing director, said: “Our primary driver was to hand over the business to an organisation with similar values to us and a clear long-term, sustainable strategy. I can think of no better business than JDS to develop RML and S&F, and to nurture what we have built up. Over the years, our team has established a trusted reputation and a market-leading product offering. Having watched the development of the Donaldson Group over many years, I know that I have chosen the best possible enterprise to grow the businesses and people that I am so proud of.”

Andrew Donaldson, Group Financial Director at JDS, adds: “Our business has doubled in size over the last ten years, and we have done this through sustainable organic growth and by the strategic acquisition of some market-leading specialists. As we enter our 160th year in business, calculated investments like these ensure that we are continuously putting customers, service and quality at the core of everything we do. We look forward to welcoming the staff of both businesses into our organisation and will continue to seek out investments that share our core values of customers, integrity, people, sustainability and family.”

There will be no changes for clients, employees or suppliers of RML and S&F. The brands will continue to be independent and will report directly to, and work alongside, the Donaldson Group.

The 160-year-old James Donaldson Group is a family of specialist timber and building product businesses, turning over £200m in the current year. The 6th generation family firm incorporates timber importer and distributor James Donaldson Timber Ltd, engineered wood product manufacturer Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd, timber merchant MGM Timber (Scotland) Ltd, insulation specialist James Donaldson Insulation Ltd, and Nu-Style Products Ltd, a fabrication specialist. The group operates throughout the UK from 31 sites employing over 1,000 people.

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