Two of Australia’s biggest timber companies have recently begun major new chapters.

Hyne Group (Hyne Timber and XLam) has announced a partnership with UK-based James Jones & Sons Limited (JJSL), “bringing together a combined 320 years of family-owned sawmilling heritage to pursue growth opportunities”.

Under the terms of the new partnership, JJSL will hold the majority interest of just under 60%, with the remainder staying with the Hyne Group’s existing shareholders, including the Hyne Family.

Like Hyne, JJSL is a five-generation family company, with 180 years on the board (Hyne being a comparative youngster at 140). The diversified timber processor has annual sales in excess of £330 million and operates seven sawmills across Scotland and North England. Their Timber Systems Division is Europe’s largest I-Joist producer with a capacity of 20 million lineal metres per annum and the company’s other operations include a pallet and packaging division, forest management and a 24MW windfarm.

In 1994, JJSL created a similar joint venture with an Italian family-owned business, Stella SpA, with the specific aim of purchasing wood treatment assets in Canada. The new company now operates from 40 plants in Canada and the US.

Director James Hyne said this is yet another significant milestone for Hyne: “With this exciting partnership, we are bringing together two multi-generational family-owned and operated companies with a shared commitment to world-class product quality, service, safety, innovation and sustainability.

“The partnership will concentrate on identifying and developing growth opportunities in our region and beyond.

“The JJSL Chair, Tom Bruce-Jones, is also now the Chair of our Hyne Group Board, who we welcome with his extensive experience in our industry at a global level.”

Bruce-Jones said this partnership provides a strong platform for further consolidation and growth in Australia and New Zealand: “We choose our partners very carefully and in the Hyne Group we have found a culture of integrity and excellence that mirrors our own.

“In an increasingly corporate and private equity dominated industry, we believe that family culture and values not only provide differentiation but are a key competitive advantage. Together, we believe there are enormous opportunities to use our combined know-how, experience and financial strength to grow the business by delivering even better products and services.”

Hyne Group CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt confirmed there were no plans for any changes to the Hyne Timber and XLam brands, saying, “It’s business as usual for the Hyne Group operations with no changes to the company’s team members, customers, suppliers and our ongoing commitment to supporting the communities in which we operate.

“This is an exciting new chapter in our 140-year journey, and I look forward to working with the new Board and shareholders as we focus on new growth opportunities moving forward.”

The partnership has secured Foreign Investment Review Board approval and all other regulatory approvals.

Digging in

Meanwhile, in South Australia, the first sods were turned at Timberlink’s new NeXTimber facility in Tarpeena. The $63 million state-of-the-art manufacturing plant will occupy a massive 15,000m2 on completion and deliver CLT and glulam products to a market that’s already eager and growing quickly.

The sub ground civils had been completed by local contractor GT Bobcats over the 2021/22 summer and building is now underway with completion expected late this year. Production of the NeXTimber range is scheduled to begin in 2023 with the locally based technical support team already working with customers in the planning and design stages of their future projects.

A total of 27 full-time permanent jobs will be created when the facility opens, rising to 50 at full output. A significant number of additional jobs are also being created during the construction phase.

Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson said, “Timberlink has recently completed a major multi dimensioned investment at the Tarpeena mill which largely has completed our timber manufacturing modernisation, creating a world class timber manufacturing facility.

“The co-location of a CLT and GLT plant on the same site makes this facility unique in Australia. NeXTimber products provide carbon negative mass timber solutions for building components, that enable a reduction in the embodied carbon in a range of building types. So using NeXTimber, you won’t just be building a building. You’ll be creating a better future.”

SA Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said, “The combined manufacturing plant will boost local timber production and provide an alternative for steel and concrete in mid and high-rise construction.

“Timberlink’s new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Tarpeena will be a game-changer for South Australia’s timber industry and it’s very exciting to see construction now underway.”

Councillor Shirley Little, who has represented Tarpeena for 27 years on the District Council of Grant, said, “It is wonderful to see this investment of $63 million in our town of Tarpeena with a population of 414 people. Timberlink has created great confidence in the community and supporting ongoing employment.”

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Image: From left, Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson, David Basham MP and Tarpeena Councillor Shirley Little turn the first sods at the NeXTimber site.