Deals roundup: DWF advises on microbial testing company sale and Shepherd and Wedderburn on sale of forestry management company

Jonathan Robinson
DWF corporate partner Jonathan Robinson

This week saw DWF advise on the sale of a microbial testing provider to a company which develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. Shepherd and Wedderburn meanwhile advised the largest forest products company in the UK on its acquisition of a forestry management and timber harvesting company.

The DWF team, led by corporate partner Jonathan Robinson with support from Mel Kay, advised Lab M Holdings and the founder – Colin Goodwille, Maven Capital Partners and Albion Ventures on the acquisition by Neogen Corporation.

Lab M Holdings is a provider of microbial testing and diagnostic products for the global food, water, industrial and clinical testing markets.

It develops, manufactures and supplies microbiological culture media and diagnostic systems across more than 70 countries worldwide, and has a strong client base in Europe, the Middle East and India.

Neogen Corporation develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety.

The international food safety company will maintain Lab M’s current facility in Heywood, and its operations will be managed by Neogen’s Scotland-based Europe subsidiary.

Mr Robinson, commenting on the deal, said: “The deal sees two complementary companies coming together to deliver a new enhanced service for a wide ranging client base.

“Lab M’s expertise will bring new capabilities and products to Neogen’s global food safety business and we were pleased to support Lab M Holdings through the acquisition.”

Shepherd and Wedderburn meanwhile acted for BSW Timber in its acquisition of Tilhill Forestry Limited from UPM-Kymmene.

BSW is the largest forest products company in the UK. The company’s foundations go back to 1848, and today it employs 1000 people in the UK and Latvia, generating a turnover in excess of £220 million.

Corporate partner, Danny Lee (pictured right), led the Shepherd and Wedderburn team on its third acquisition for BSW in a period of little more than a year.

In July BSW acquired Southampton-based sawmill, RF Giddings Holdings Limited, and this was followed quickly by its purchase of Suffolk–based fuel log producer, Bridgebrooke Energy Limited.

BSW’s group finance director said: “Shepherd and Wedderburn have been BSW’s corporate lawyers for the last 7 years, during which time the company has grown from £100m to over £200m by both acquisition and organic growth.

“Their ability to provide advice across a number of areas, plus their knowledge of BSW’s business, continue to add significant value”.

Based in Stirling, Tilhill Forestry provides professional forestry management and timber harvesting throughout the UK.

Tony Hackney, chief executive, BSW Timber Limited, said: “This significant acquisition creates the largest forest products company in the UK and underscores our ambition to increase the utilisation of UK timber.

“BSW is a growing enterprise and this acquisition is a key component of BSW’s vision for future development.”

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