Change at Woodlands as turnover hits £69.5m

Scottish Woodlands Ltd, which is 80 per cent employee-owned, said it made pre-tax profits of more than £1.3 million on turnover of £69.5 million in the year to September 30, 2015 — and revealed changes at the executive level of the company.

Colin Mann, managing director, said that although turnover and profit were slightly down on last year — turnover was £73.8 million and profit £1.56 million in 2013/14 — this was largely because of the strength of sterling.

Shareholders’ funds rose to £4.5 million, up from £4.03 million.

The company is based at Riccarton, Edinburgh, but has offices across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, employing 141 people including 85 staff shareholders.

Scottish Woodlands said Mann is to leave his post as managing director, which he has held since a 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 will finish his term as finance director and company secretary and is succeeded by Richard Walker, previously chief accountant.

Chairman Tom A. Bruce Jones will retire from office after a decade and will hand over the role to his son, Tom R Bruce Jones, who is also joint managing director of James Jones & Sons, the timber sawmilling and processing company.

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 said the strength of sterling had affected 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”.

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.”