The h&b Group has acquired the Timber Buying Group (TBG), as part of its new strategy to support the industry’s small- to medium-sized merchants.

The acquisition was formally announced by h&b’s Managing Director, Nick Lander, at its Activity Day on 27 September, 2017, at the Celtic Manor Resort.

The h&b Group consists of 70 members, while TBG has 55 members, meaning the move will bring h&b's vision of strong supplier relationships, buying power and non-profit, with the new organisation being 125 members strong.

Together, the h&b Group said it intends to keep the positive collective member spirit and non-political feel that the original orgainsation was founded on 20 years ago, combined with TBG’s additional dynamic buying power, offering members security, performance and consistency.

Initially, the strategy will be specifically orientated between the two tiers of members - those with turnovers up to £4 million who are members of TBG (whose total member turnover had grown to sub £100 million since its formation in 2013) and those h&b members with turnovers over £4 million. H&B’s collective turnover stands at £480 million.

The new organisation will put in place growth strategies for the TBG members to help them achieve the turnover required to take them to the next tier level. TBG has set itself a target of 25 graduations of existing members to Tier 2, along with the recruitment of brand-new members, in the first trading year. Applications from suitably qualified independent merchants are welcomed immediately.

Between them, the two groups have a supplier base of almost 400 manufacturers who have supported both groups over previous years with competitive deals and strong trading relationships. This will be built upon as they move forward under the same umbrella.

h&b Group Managing Director Nick Lander said: "Our new members would have to negotiate a minimum of 170-plus deals a year to stay competitive. h&b currently offers 289 deals to its members to expand their competitiveness locally, enabling them to challenge both nationals and other competitors for business. That's very time-consuming. We aim to buy better for them and the logical acquisition of TBG enhances the strategy to deliver our growth ambitions in order to become the market leading independent buying group.”

TBG Director Allan Durning added: "This exciting development offers real opportunity for small- to medium-sized independents to take advantage of the considerable buying power, deal transparency and potential bottom-line growth from h&b Group, and join what is regarded by many commentators in the industry, as one of the industry leaders in buying group terms. So the door is open and we welcome applications from suitably qualified independents."