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BSW Group, now a member of Binderholz, is looking back over its last 10 years of operation, as prolific CEO Tony Hackney retires and his 30-year career in the sector begins to a draw to a close.

Tony has been the figurehead of BSW for more than 15 years, having joined as Chief Executive Officer in late 2008 before stepping into the role of UK Chairman last year. But the last 10 years in particular saw Tony preside over a period of unprecedented growth in size, scale and output from the company.

Not only did turnover increase from approximately £100m annually to over £900m, but this period also saw BSW’s reach and influence stretch across the supply chain and wider timber industry. BSW was already a major stakeholder in the timber supply chain, but the variety of key businesses acquired in the last decade means that the group now has a hand in every part of process.

From a standalone timber manufacturer, Tony spearheaded BSW’s transformation into a fully-integrated forestry and timber business, seamlessly spanning every stage of the process, encompassing tree nurseries, forest management, timber harvesting and production.

2015 saw the acquisition of Tilhill Forestry, which provided BSW with a forest management offering, while the 2019 purchase of Maelor Forest Nurseries, the UK’s foremost growers of coniferous and broadleaf trees, enabled BSW to supercharge the valuable scientific work that the nursery achieves.

2020 brought significant challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic made an unprecedented impact across industries, but steady yet agile management enabled BSW to weather the storm. BSW was able to continue its buying streak throughout the year with the acquisitions of Dick Brothers (the UK’s largest forestry harvesting company) and SCA Wood UK (now BSW Timber Solutions) – a manufacturer and distributor of timber products for home improvement and DIY retailers.

Despite global supply chain issues beginning to take effect the following year, in 2021, BSW strengthened its value-added processing capabilities and broadened its product offering by acquiring Bayram Timber – a key supplier into the caravan, leisure home and garden sectors. And, in 2022, BSW embarked on a joint venture with the industry-disrupting Power Sheds.

Throughout these years, the strength of Tony’s associations with internal and external stakeholders was unparalleled. This was evident as he navigated the sale of BSW to private equity firm Endless in 2020, having previously held a strong relationship with the previous owners, the Brownlie family, particularly the late Sandy Brownlie.

A decade of fostering growth and increasing value also paid off 2022, when Tony steered BSW Group out of the Endless era and into being purchased by timber giant Binderholz. Tony’s leadership was vital, ensuring the smooth operation of the company during the transition.

BSW then went on to acquire the award-winning Scott Pallets, the country’s leading, sustainable manufacturer of new, bespoke, and reconditioned timber pallets.

The acquisition of Scott Pallets provided BSW with a link to its latest purchase, Pallet LOOP – the exciting circular economy pallet reuse business. Alongside enhancing its product and service offering for customers, this acquisition enables BSW Group to make the most of resources, as part of a key focus to improve sustainability practices and ESG goals.

The purchase of Scott Pallets, at the back end of 2022, also entered BSW into a joint venture with Allwood Recycling Solutions – another arm which further underlines the direction of travel for the business and its commitment to reducing waste across the supply chain.

Together with the team of expert businesses and brands, Tony forged a fully integrated supply chain, helping to unlock the full potential of timber and sustain long-term growth for the business.

Formerly just BSW Timber, BSW Group now consists of that original sawmilling business, as well as Maelor Forest Nurseries, Tilhill Forestry, Dick Brothers, BSW Timber Solutions, Bayram Timber, Power Sheds, Scott Pallets, Pallet LOOP, Pallet 2 Packaging and Allwood Recycling Solutions, while also encompassing brands such as IRO Timber, BSW Composites, CarbonStore and Wood Fuel Direct.

On his retirement, Tony said: “Leading BSW through challenging times has been a fantastic experience. I would like to thank all my colleagues and friends across the UK, Latvia and Slovenia for their extraordinary efforts in developing BSW during my period of stewardship.

“I have valued very highly the relationships with our loyal customers and suppliers and again thank them for their support. I wish you all every success in the future.

“I am very proud of the progress we have made, which has assisted in bringing the company to the strong position it is in now. It presents a good moment for me to choose to retire from BSW to pursue my own business interests and spend more time with my family.”