Canada’s West Fraser Timber Co. has closed on a $430 million deal to purchase a company with its corporate headquarters and half its sawmills in Georgia.
The transaction was announced in July, but the company said Aug. 18 that it had cleared anti-trust hurdles early, making its acquisition of Gilman Building Products complete.
Gilman has six sawmills overall, three in Georgia and three in Florida. It’s based in St. Marys, Ga., just across the state border from Jacksonville, Fla. The mills in both states employ more than 900 people, and Gilman had pre-tax profit of $67 million on $330 million in sales in the last fiscal year, according to West Fraser.
West Fraser, based in the city of Vancouver in the Pacific province of British Columbia, said the deal boosts its lumber production capacity by about 700 million board feet by expanding its presence in the U.S. That’s about 10 percent of its overall combined capacity of 7.2 billion board feet.
West Fraser bought the company from the Howard Gilman Foundation. The late Mr. Gilman was known as a patron of the arts in New York and beyond. He also hosted world-renowned dancers and artists at his White Oak Plantation in Yulee, Fla. The company moved its headquarters from Yulee back to St. Marys, Ga., in 2013, according to a news release. At the time, the office employed 38 people. Its Georgia mills are in Fitzgerald, Dudley, and Blackshear.
West Fraser expects to realize $10 million in savings from the transaction over three years, but the release points to operational improvements, not job cuts, as the source of these“synergies.”