This Leeds group operates out of 30 builders’ merchants and employs 1,000 people. It says it has grown to become the largest privately owned supplier of timber and building materials in the UK. It also provides timber engineering services and makes softwood windows and doors. The business dates back to 1840 and is now owned and led by descendants of the founder: managing director Nick Howarth, 59, and his brother Andrew, 61, who is chairman. A recovery in new-build housing helped profits reach £9.3m in 2016.
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