WOOD-based panel manufacture Egger UK has sold its forest management arm to Perthshire-based RTS.

The Egger forest management team moved across on 1st October to RTS, which, with an annual turnover of £12 million, employs 40 people and is headquartered in Crieff. 

While Egger UK remains fully committed to its harvesting operation, this sale marks the withdrawal of the company from direct forest management operations, which had been developed by Egger Forestry over the last six years.

John Paterson, director of Egger Forestry, said: “We have taken a strategic decision to sell this specialist part of the Egger business and focus on our harvesting operation which is a key supplier of roundwood to our production sites at Hexham and Auchinleck.

“We are delighted that RTS has agreed to buy the forestry management business which includes the management of over 8,000 ha of privately owned woodlands. RTS is a firm which has a similar ethos and philosophy regarding forest management, providing the same bespoke professional services to which our clients have been accustomed. These highly valued and skilled employees will move over to work for RTS and will continue to provide an uninterrupted, quality management service to their existing clients.” 

Norman O’Neill, managing director of RTS, said: “This is an important strategic purchase for RTS and allows us to further extend our forest management service. We already have a strong presence across Scotland, with well-advanced plans for a further office in Inverness.

“This purchase gives us a stronger foothold in south Scotland and the north of England, from which we will seek further expansion of the business. We are especially pleased to welcome this highly experienced team of professional managers to RTS. They will continue to provide the same high standard of management service to forest-owning clients.”

Simon Hart, business development manager of Egger Forestry, set up the forest management arm when he joined the company six years ago, and moves across to RTS as part of the deal. He added: “I’m looking forward to joining RTS at this very exciting time for the forestry industry across the UK. With senior politicians now embracing the need to plant more trees, I can only see fantastic growth opportunities.”