International Timber was originally formed in 1970 through the acquisition of two large timber operations. However, following merger with timber specialists Montague L Meyer in the early 1980s, the name fell into temporary disuse as Meyer International was formed.
The respected name of International Timber lay dormant for just over a decade, until 1993 when three specialist timber businesses belonging to Meyer International – John Ashworth in Manchester, Gliksten in Parkend, Gloucester and Waterman and Ross in Maldon, Essex – were merged. Together they formed International Timber, a new timber specialist business, with the former John Ashworth site in Manchester becoming the operation’s new head office.
The three timber business all specialised in specific timber areas, with Trafford Park focusing on hardwoods and softwoods but later moving into Clear Softwoods, with a processing facility on site for planed goods and profiles. Parkend specialised in kilning of tropical hardwoods from West Africa, while the Maldon site was traditionally a distributor of temperate American timber.
In 1994 a fire at an adjacent business in Trafford Park caused considerable damage to the hardwood shed and although it had a temporary impact on hardwood supplies, the business had recently started to buy direct from North America and the Far East through an internal agency called Lewis Garrett, which resulted in significant cost benefits for the business and its customers. This year also saw Meyer International’s Scottish sister business Sinclair Lang charter dedicated timber vessels from Scandinavia to increase the supply to the Scottish marketplace.
In 1996, International Timber relocated its Essex operation to a vacant Meyer location in Colchester. Due to the increased size of the location, a focus toward Clear Softwoods was introduced and delivered successful sales growth for the business.
Following a prosperous year in 1996, significant investment was made the following year. This included the introduction of a high speed production line at Trafford Park, which enhanced machining capacity and sales opportunities, while the construction of new storage sheds, racking and loading bays at Colchester and Parkend meant the business was able to store and distribute greater amounts and varieties of timber species. 1997 also saw International Timber win the much coveted HM Prison Service contract for the first time.
In 1999 Sinclair Lang at Grangemouth merged with International Timber, bringing new opportunities for the Scottish timber market with an increased hardwood supply and also the introduction of softwood sales into Jewson. However, 2000 saw the beginning of a new era when the French manufacturing and distribution group, Saint-Gobain acquired Meyer International, extending its influence within the distribution sector.
Over the next few years Saint-Gobain developed an extension strategy, concentrating on new extraction facilities and moulders at Trafford Park and an undercover storage area and upgrade of the treatment facility at Grangemouth.
Plans were also put in place to extend International Timber’s activity by joining together a number of specialist timber brands including Grays, Nixon Knowles and Morgan Timber and increasing its nationwide reach. All businesses were successfully integrated within the International Timber family over the course of the past decade, with the internal supply business, which was located in Hull and Newport, being integrated in recent years.
With over 200 years of experience and knowledge inherited from the businesses brought together to form International Timber in 1993, it has fast become a name synonymous with excellence. As the largest supplier and distributor of sustainable timber in the UK, International Timber now has a reputation based around quality and sustainability with the aim of supplying quality timber without affecting the natural environment it operates within.