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GWP excited to become part of Macfarlane Group

Last Updated 18th March 2021
Posted In: Company News | Industry News

GWP Become Part of Macfarlane Group

Opportunities for further growth and extended product offering

GWP are excited to announce that the business is now part of Macfarlane Group PLC, following a recent acquisition by the listed company.

The acquisition provides a wide range of potential opportunities for both parties, including increased product range and shared expertise, whilst also providing a strong platform for ongoing growth and enhancing GWP’s already strong customer relationships.

GWP Group Ltd was purchased by Macfarlane Group at the end of February in a deal worth up to £15m.

Macfarlane Group logo

About the deal

Macfarlane’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Macfarlane Group UK Ltd, acquired 100% of Wiltshire-based GWP late on Friday 26 February 2021.

Macfarlane has more than 70 years’ experience in the UK packaging industry and has been listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange since 1973. Sales in 2020 were approximately £230m.

The Glasgow-headquartered business said the acquisition is in line with its declared strategy of building its protective packaging business through a combination of organic and acquisitive growth.

GWP become-part of Macfarlane Group
GWP are pleased to announce that we are now part of the Macfarlane Group

The company also indicated that there are significant opportunities for both GWP and Macfarlane to benefit from access to their respective ranges of protective packaging products and services.

Macfarlane chief executive Peter Atkinson said of the deal;

“GWP is a company that we have admired for a long time. We focus on acquiring quality businesses and when the directors of GWP decided that they wanted to sell we were very keen to pursue the opportunity and we are delighted we have reached an agreement.”

About Macfarlane

Founded by Lord Macfarlane in 1949, Macfarlane Group employs more than 850 people at 31 sites, which, besides the UK, includes operations in Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Macfarlane Packaging is one of the largest manufacturers and the leading distributor of protective packaging in the UK and Ireland.

With over 70 years of experience and serving over 17,000 businesses nationwide, Macfarlane Packaging operates through a national network of regional distribution centres – each of which has a dedicated customer service, procurement, logistics and sales team.

GWP manufacturing site wiltshire
Packaging being manufactured at GWP's Cricklade production facility

These distribution centres have access to products from hundreds of packaging manufacturers from around the world, with these strategic supplier relationships creating excellent value for money whilst also ensuring the very best quality.

Macfarlane Packaging also operates manufacturing sites in Grantham and Westbury which design and assemble bespoke protective packaging for high value and fragile products.

Similar to GWP, Macfarlane place a strong emphasis on supporting their customers’ packaging operations at each and every stage, from stock management to packaging design. This includes increasing efficiency, saving time, reducing costs, and improving the protection of customers’ products in storage and transit.

What this means for GWP

Directors and managers at Wiltshire based packaging manufacturer GWP Group have spoken of their excitement at the opportunities presented following the recent acquisition.

Ruth Cook, managing director at GWP, commented:

“Although it is early days, we can already see a wide number of benefits of working closely with the team at Macfarlane”.

“This includes a broader range of packaging for new and existing customers, shared expertise and knowledge of packaging requirements for specific markets and industries, as well extending the geographical reach of both our products and related services.”

Ruth added:

“This gives us a very robust platform to continue the growth we have experienced over the last few years. Coupled with strong relationships with our customers, ongoing focus on service and innovation, plus our core design expertise, we feel it is the start of really exciting period for the business.”

Peter Atkinson, chief executive of Macfarlane, echoed these thoughts, saying:

“We could see that GWP were well placed to continue the success they have achieved over recent years and, from speaking with the key stakeholders and management team, we have been impressed with their plans for the future”.

“We are extremely confident that the synergies between our businesses will result in a number of tangible benefits for new and existing customers alike. Key amongst this will be the broader portfolio of value-add and sustainable protective packaging solutions, as well as the sharing of knowledge and best practice.”

GWP Group packaging manufacturers
GWP and Macfarlane plan to share knowledge, best practice and a number of other exciting opportunities

Existing relationships and customers

Whilst there has understandably been a focus on the exciting opportunities that the takeover brings, it is important to highlight that there will be little in the way of change to the “day to day” operations in the immediate future.

The current levels of service, product quality and day to day contacts that GWP customers rely on will remain as they are currently. GWP will also retain its name, management structure and autonomy.

GWP Packaging products
GWP packaging products stored at their Cricklade warehouse facility, as part of a "Just in Time" service

This is an exciting new chapter for GWP, one which is predicted to genuinely enhance the already strong working relationships GWP have with each and every customer.

Macfarlane chief executive Peter Atkinson added:

“Because it’s such a good quality business, we don’t plan to make any immediate changes because there’s no need to, it’s progressing really well. GWP is a profitable, growing, well invested company with an experienced management team that is fully committed to the business going forward.”

End of an era

Whilst five of the six Directors of GWP – plus the entire management team – will remain in place, GWP Group chairman David Pedley is retiring from the business following the takeover.

Having been one of the founders of the business (when it was still known as Great Western Packaging), David has been with the company for just over 30 years.

Retiring GWP Group chairman David Pedley
Retiring GWP Group chairman David Pedley, pictured with His Royal Highness Prince Edward the Duke of Kent

He commented:

“This deal is recognition of what a successful business GWP has become, and I am extremely proud of all of the hard work and effort put in by everyone who helped to achieve this.

“It secures a fantastic future for the business and all of our staff. Meaning that GWP can expect to enjoy further growth and success as part of the Macfarlane Group over the coming years.”

Originally founded in 1990 by David and his colleagues, the GWP Group currently operates out of two manufacturing sites in Cricklade (near Swindon) and Salisbury, with a turnover in excess of £13m.

Find Out More

For more information on Macfarlane Packaging, please visit their website at www.macfarlanepackaging.com 

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About the Author

Ruth Cook, GWP Group

Ruth Cook

Managing Director | GWP Group

Ruth is one of the founding directors of GWP, having worked for the company since its inception as Great Western Packaging in August 1990. [Read full bio…]

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