The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has negotiated a collective membership agreement with a fourth major buying group, LIMA.

LIMA was formed in 2008 to allow two of the largest independent merchant groups greater flexibility with customers and suppliers. It encompasses the collective buying power of MKM and Bradfords, two of the top 10 largest builders’ merchants in the UK with a joint turnover in excess of £230m.

Both MKM and Bradfords are current BMF members but the new agreement offers them additional benefits, including group membership and training rates and access to BMF’s meeting and conference facilities in Coventry, currently offered free of charge by the BMF to buying groups in collective membership.

John Newcomb, managing director of the BMF, said: “As I hope everyone knows by now, it is my mission to ensure the BMF is fully representative of our industry, and that our voice is heard where it matters. I want the BMF to embrace every merchant buying group and I am delighted to add LIMA to that list. We start 2014 with four of the seven industry buying groups on board, and an open invitation to the others to add their voices to our ‘one industry, one voice’ mission in the new year.”

Dennis Smith, managing director of Bradfords and BMF south west regional chairman, added: “We are fully supportive of the BMF’s vision for the industry. Under John Newcomb’s leadership, the BMF has shown that it is able to listen and respond to member’s needs, to lead the way in negotiating advantageous commercial deals, to develop conference and training programmes to inspire the industry, and to represent our industry interests with policy makers. The advantages of collective membership should be apparent to all.”