A deal which will see Berwick-on-Tweed based Simpsons Malt acquire the entire grain merchanting business of WN Lindsay will create a giant in the malting barley sector.
Simpsons Malt, a fifth-generation family malting and merchanting business produces 303,000 tonnes of malt with 235,000 tonnes produced at its Berwick maltings and 68,000 tonnes at the company’s site at Tivestshall St Margaret in Norfolk. This implies a raw barley requirement of 390,000 tonnes.
WN Lindsay, also a fifth generation business, has grain storage for 200,000 tonnes spread across sites at Gladsmuir in East Lothian, Stracathro in Angus and Keith in Morayshire.
The total market for malting barley is Scotland is normally considered as being about 900,000 tonnes out of total barley crop of 1.3m tonnes.
There is seasonal variation but even allowing for a degree of overlap where WN Lindsay barley may have been malted at Berwick the acquisition will create a buyer with considerable influence on the market.
The deal, which is subject to ongoing due diligence, is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will see Simpsons Malt operate all four of W.N. Lindsay’s stores in Scotland within a new subsidiary company which will retain the name of W.N. Lindsay.
The acquisition comes just two months after Simpsons Malt announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire 40 acres of land at Rothes, Speyside, subject to planning and due diligence, where it intends to build a state-of-the-art maltings with malting barley storage facilities.
Andrew Lindsay, W.N. Lindsay managing director, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to agree the purchase of our family business by Simpsons Malt.
“The combination of two fifth-generation family businesses with more than 300 years of history will enhance the supply chain across Scotland and I believe Simpsons Malt’s vision for the future aligns closely to that of our colleagues, suppliers and customers.”
Tim McCreath, managing director of Simpsons Malt, added: “W.N. Lindsay is an established, well-known family business with an excellent reputation in “Scottish and UK agriculture and we are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire its grain merchanting business.
“W.N. Lindsay Ltd’s people and infrastructure will complement our own and, together with our ongoing investment in business systems and processes, this acquisition will be a positive step for the entire cereal and malt supply chain.”
Willie Thomson, chairman of NFU Scotland’s combinable crops committee said: “We could really do with more buyers rather than fewer but on the positive side Simpsons Malt is a company that has proved it is willing to invest. What the deal will means for growers is hard to tell at this stage.”