March 01 2021
Founded in 1996 by Mike James and Jeff Lloyd, Merlwood grew rapidly, quickly becoming a well-established business with dedicated suppliers, customers and employees.
Operating from a three-acre site in Haverfordwest, with other strategic dockside locations across the UK, Merlwood has grown from a team of seven to 20, with three of the original members still working for the company today; Mike, Jeff and sawmill foreman and machinist Jason Llewellyn.
In 2018, as part of the owners’ long-term strategy, Merlwood Timber was bought by Premier Forest Group, securing jobs and the future of the company. As the business was so well-established, they continue to operate under the Merlwood Timber brand, while gaining the benefits of Premier Forest’s experience and reach, which has led to a doubling of turnover since 2018.
Mike James, co-founder of Merlwood Timber, said: “After the first months of trading in 1996 we wondered if we had made the right decision, but that was short lived and after only nine months Merlwood Timber was in profit. From there the only way was up.
“Apart from selling the company to Premier, other career highlights include completing the first full Russian shipment through Pembroke Dock, staying profitable during the 2008/9 recession, travelling across the world to meet new suppliers and creating long-lasting relationships with suppliers, customers and fellow timber traders.
“We are also incredibly proud to have been able to support the NHS in 2020 by supplying materials to help build the Nightingale Hospitals in England and Wales.
“In an ideal world we would have liked to take everyone out to celebrate this landmark and to thank them for their hard work and loyalty, but obviously that’s not possible. However, it will be a priority when circumstances allow to ensure this anniversary is celebrated properly.”
Terry Edgell, CEO and co-founder of Premier Forest Group said: “Acquiring Merlwood Timber was a great decision, and we’ve both been rewarded with invaluable improvements and significant growth in turnover as a result. We are looking forward to celebrating this key milestone in person as soon as regulations permit.”
Premier Forest Group is a vertically integrated timber operation engaged in the importation, sawmilling, processing, merchanting, and wholesale distribution of timber and timber products from its 16 sites in the UK and Ireland.