Monday, 29 February 2021 10:00

Scottish Woodlands reports £69.5 million turnover and senior level appointments

Independent forest management company, Scottish Woodlands Ltd, has announced pre-tax profits of more than £1.3 million and revealed changes at senior level in the business.

The form, which is 80 per cent employee-owned, recorded a turnover of £69.5 million for the financial year to September 30, 2015.

Colin Mann, Managing Director, said: “We are very pleased with our 2014/15 results because, although turnover and profit is very slightly down on last year (turnover was £73.8m and profit £1.56m in 2013/14), this was largely because of the strength of sterling and not because of less activity in our markets.” The new figures are still considerably up on 2012/13 - £63.9 million turnover and £1.23 million pre-tax profits.

The company – based in Riccarton, Edinburgh but with offices across Scotland as well as England, Wales and Northern Ireland – employs 141 people and has 85 staff shareholders.

It is one of the larger employee-controlled companies in Scotland, although operations also cover the main forest growing areas of northern England and Wales.

Scottish Woodlands Ltd has also announced important succession changes to the senior management team and Board. Mr Mann leaves his post as Managing Director, which he has held since a successful management buy-out of the company in 2005, to take up the role of Deputy Chairman. He will be succeeded in April by Deputy Managing Director, Ralland Browne, who has been with Scottish Woodlands for 29 years.

Geoff Craythorne also finishes his term as Finance Director and Company Secretary and is succeeded by Richard Walker, previously Chief Accountant.

In addition, Chairman Tom A Bruce Jones CBE, retires from office after a decade and hands over to his son, Tom R Bruce Jones, who is also Joint Managing Director of James Jones & Sons, one of Scotland’s most advanced timber sawmilling and processing companies.

James Jones & Sons is a minority shareholder in SWL Ltd, the holding company which owns Scottish Woodlands Ltd.

In his Chairman’s Report, Tom A Bruce Jones noted that the strength of sterling had impacted on results but said the figures were still ahead of the budgeted forecast. He wrote: “Profitability is now on a firm footing and the company has built a stronger balance sheet”.

He also praised the “unstinting commitment” of Mr Mann and his team.

Mr Mann said: “Although our Board level changes sound significant, they are part of a well-organised and carefully thought-out succession plan. They will assist the business in expanding into the next chapter of our development in what is now one of the country’s most vibrant industries – a sector worth £1 billion according to Forestry Commission research published in late 2015. I am delighted we are able to move our business forward in such a positive way and to announce Ralland Browne as my successor.”

As part of his new role, which will be part-time, Mr Mann will be involved in overseeing the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017, as well as a range of other responsibilities including Director of Utilities and Landscaping. He was last week named as the winner of the annual Dedicated Service to Forestry Award by trade body Confor: promoting forestry and Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said: "Colin Mann has been an absolute stalwart of the forestry sector in Scotland for a very long time. He is an excellent forester and a very talented businessman - and highly deserving of this recognition from his peers. Scottish Woodlands has thrived under his leadership and these latest results show it to be in excellent shape for the next generation.”

Mr Mann said that with 80 per cent of corporate equity owned by its workforce, Scottish Woodlands is a leading example as to how employee ownership makes for an inclusive and profitable organisation - for clients, customers, employees and contractors alike.

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