Simon Howie sells manufacturing arm for £30m

Simon Howie

Simon Howie sells manufacturing arm for £30m

Perthshire-based entrepreneur Simon Howie has sold two businesses to Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces, a global manufacturer and distributor of engineered surfaces headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Mr Howie, best known as a family butcher and food producer, has sold Mermaid Panels and Shore Laminates, manufacturers of shower walls and wall panel systems, to Wilsonart for £30m.

Wilsonart has bought the business as a bolt-on to its other UK operations, Bushboard and Wilsonart UK, which make laminate-faced products such as kitchen worktops and wall panelling.

There are 74 people working at Shore and Mermaid, who will be added to Wilsonart Europe’s 1450 employees, themselves part of Wilsonart’s 4500-strong global workforce. There are no planned changes to operations at Shore and Mermaid, which will continue to operate as they do today, as will Wilsonart UK and Bushboard operations.

Simon Howie said: “We were intent on finding a buyer that loved the laminates and surfaces business, rather than the highest bidder who may have taken the business and moved it around like a chess game.

“I will continue to support the business in the coming months and years in a non-executive capacity. I want to ensure that Wilsonart looks back on this acquisition as the best they have made and that the future jobs of our staff are secure and safe for the long term.”

Tim Pearson, president of Wilsonart Western Europe, said: “Shore and Mermaid bring exciting design and innovative products to the market. The addition of these two companies to the Wilsonart portfolio reinforces our commitment to providing surfacing solutions for a wide range of interior demands.”

EY’s corporate finance team in Scotland originated the sale, Ally Scott, EY’s head of transaction advisory services in Scotland, said: “Simon is a renowned entrepreneur and one of the 2013 UK winners of EY Entrepreneur of The Year. This transaction is an excellent strategic fit for both buyer and seller and builds on my relationship with Simon of more than 15 years when we worked together on the successful Shore Recycling investment. We are delighted to have been lead advisor and it has been a great pleasure to help deliver this outcome.”