Vail Williams advises Cairngorm Capital on 3Counties Timber & Building Supplies acquisition

October 7, 2020

Experts from across our valuation and building surveying teams advised Cairngorm Capital Partners (Cairngorm Capital), leading to its portfolio company, Grant & Stone, acquiring 3Counties Timber & Building Supplies Limited (3Counties).

This is a key step in the execution of Grant & Stone’s strategy to expand its business through a combination of acquisitions, new site development and organic growth.

Established in 2007, 3Counties Timber & Building Supplies provides a broad range of heavy and lightside building materials to individuals, contractors and commercial entities across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. 

A trusted local brand with the reputation for outstanding customer service, 3Counties also offers bespoke timber services from its branches in Aylesbury and Hemel Hempstead. The acquisition was triggered by 3Counties’ owners’ succession planning.

Geoff Fallon, the lead partner at Vail Williams who advised on the property aspects of the deal, said: “We are pleased to help longstanding client, Cairngorm Capital, build Grant & Stone’s growing portfolio of builder’s merchants with this latest acquisition of 3Counties. 

“Our team of property experts and building surveyors reacted quickly to provide advice on rental values and the condition of the buildings within tight timescales, to help inform the portfolio acquisition which will see Grant & Stone take on two additional properties.”

With the companies’ shared values, vision and commitment to the highest standards of customer service, this transaction is highly complementary. Strategically, it extends Grant & Stone’s geographic network beyond the Thames Valley to the benefit of both companies’ customers. Richard Dawson, Managing Director of 3Counties, will join Grant & Stone, working with Mat Miller, Managing Director of Grant & Stone’s Builders & Timber Merchants division, to support 3Counties’ successful integration.

This transaction was led by Alex Bayliss, Managing Director at Cairngorm Capital, who said, “3Counties is an excellent company with a strong brand in the builders’ merchants and timber distribution markets. Despite the challenges instigated by Covid-19, Grant & Stone has remained resilient with a clear focus on delivering outstanding customer service. 

“This is the first of a series of planned acquisitions for Grant & Stone, whose experienced leadership team has the talent and appetite to lead a much enlarged company. We are delighted to help Grant & Stone pursue its strategic ambitions.”

Nick House, Grant & Stone’s Chief Executive said, “We are delighted to welcome 3Counties to the Group. Our shared values, vision and commitment to customers makes for an obvious partnership. Our company is at a really exciting point in its development – together, we are able extend our geographic presence and are well positioned to capitalise on the numerous growth opportunities available to us.”

Richard Dawson, Managing Director of 3Counties said, “The Directors are proud of all that we have achieved to date but we recognise that the company has the potential to achieve much more. This is the natural point for us to pass the company to new, trusted custodians who can deliver on its future potential. We are confident that 3Counties is in good hands with Grant & Stone and will go from strength to strength.”

This is Cairngorm Capital’s 25th proprietary, off-market transaction since July 2016 and is typical of its buy and build strategy of providing investment capital, strategic guidance, operational and industry expertise, to support ambitious management teams in their drive for transformational growth. All of Cairngorm Capital’s portfolio companies have performed well throughout the pandemic-driven lockdown period and have returned to growth.

Grant & Stone and Cairngorm Capital were advised on this transaction by PwC (financial and tax), Gowling (legal), Vail Williams (property) and MDW Capital Partners provided financing advice. The sellers were advised by Andrea Smith of Franklins Solicitors with respect to legal matters, and Fortus as corporate finance advisors.