Timber is one of Scotland’s long-standing business sectors, its size and presence often under-estimated by commentators. Latest figures from Scottish Woodlands, Scotland’s leading independent forest management company well make the point.
The company, 80 per cent employee-owned, has just reported its best-ever year. It is now harvesting more than one million tonnes of timber a year.
Turnover is up by almost £10 million and operating profits showing an increase of close to 25 per cent.
Sales at Scottish Woodlands saw hit £73.8 million for the financial year to end September, up from £63.9 million in 2012/13 – an increase of nearly 16 per cent.
Operating profit climbed from £1.23 million to £1.56 million and net retained profit was up from £560,000 to £1.1 million.
Chairman Tom Bruce says all the company’s business streams had operated profitably. “Timber harvesting activity increased from 954,936 tonnes in 2012/13 to 1,082, 188 tonnes, reflecting the strong demand for domestically grown timber as well as the currently rising available harvest from UK forests.
“Demand for forestry investments remained high through 2013/14, which – when coupled with new woodland creation and the flow of re-stocking following harvesting, maintained a stable demand for the company’s forest management services. Utilities and landscaping activity also increased and the outlook remains strong in these sectors.”
Colin Mann, managing director, says the results reflect the continuation of a consistently strong performance since a management-led buy-out of Scottish Woodlands in 2005.
The company’s growth, he added, also reflected the success of the forestry sector, currently benefiting from strong supplies of timber. “The forestry and wood sector in Scotland is delivering a powerful combination of sustainable economic growth and significant environmental benefits. It is vital that it continues to thrive to create jobs and economic growth as well as helping Scotland to hit its world-leading climate change targets.”
Scottish Woodlands has 14 offices across Scotland, from Strathpeffer in the north to Castle Douglas in the south, with its headquarters at Riccarton, Edinburgh. It also has offices at Alnwick, Chirk and Ballymena to serve clients in Northern England, Wales and Ireland.