By Scott Wright

MACFARLANE Group has completed its second acquisition within the space of a month with a deal to buy Carters Packaging of Cornwall, boosting its presence in England’s South West.

The Glasgow-based company will pay up to £4.5 million in cash for the protective packaging business, which serves customers in Cornwall and Devon from its 25,000 square foot facility in Redruth.

The deal, which has an earn-out of £1.5m over two years built in, quickly Macfarlane’s £15.1m acquisition of Wiltshire’s GWP Group, a protective packaging manufacturer and distributor on March 1.That was Macfarlane’s first deal since the pandemic took hold.

Carters made a pre-tax profit of £500,000 on sales of £4.2m in the year ended March 31, 2020. The company has 25 employees, including two directors, who will all remain with the business after the transaction.

Mr Atkinson said: “Carters is a well-run, successful protective packaging distributor that meets our strict acquisition criteria and its acquisition will be earnings-enhancing in its first full year in the group.

“I am confident that the business will prove to be an excellent acquisition improving our geographic penetration and extending our customer reach in the South West of England.”

Macfarlane has now made 15 acquisitions since chief executive Peter Atkinson joined the group in 2003.

The company’s strategy since focused on expanding through organic and acquisitive growth, and in February posted a near-10 per cent rise in profits to £13m in 2020 as it benefited from the rapid growth in e-commerce during the pandemic. Turnover increased by 2.1% to £230m.

Speaking at the time, Mr Atkinson said the company continues to have aspirations to grow on the European mainland. “Europe is part of the agenda going forward,” he said.

Shares in Macfarlane Group closed down 4.4%, or 4.5p, at 98p last night.