Cornwall Group acquires Forward Glass
Cornwall Group has acquired Birmingham-based Forward Glass in a transaction that completed on 1 December in the Group’s most substantial deal to date.
Cornwall Group purchased 100% of the share capital of Forward Glass, the Midlands’ largest independent toughened glass manufacturer and stock distributor. The company will continue to trade under its own name.
“Forward Glass is a great fit for us,” said Cornwall Group’s chairman, Mark Mitchell. “The business is very similar to our Bristol based company Mackenzie Glass, which we bought from Pilkington Glass in 2017. They are an independent, family-owned business, selling single toughened, processed glass and stock to the trade. Cornwall Group has also acquired the 100,000ft2 site.
“Forward Glass has a turnover in excess of £10m a year, employing over 100 people and, looking ahead, we have plans to broaden the offering. The Birmingham based company has three toughening plants, which brings the total at Cornwall Group to eight. Forward’s typical customers are sealed unit manufacturers, traditional glass merchants and shop fitters. They are a successful business with a loyal customer base, and to them I would say it will be very much ‘business as usual’.”
The current joint managing directors of Mackenzie Glass – Matt Prowse and Mark Herbert – will handle the day-to-day running of the business.
Forward Glass’s former owner and managing director, Mark Weston Smith, who plans to retire, is the fifth generation of his family to operate in the glass industry, and was careful to find the right home for the employees and customers.
“For me and my family, Forward Glass represents more than a century of tradition and experience,” he said. “I was keen to ensure the business was acquired by someone who shared our values. I believe Cornwall Group has a similar culture and the expertise and experience to manage the business and take it forward.”
“Our plans for the future include investment in plant and machinery and the introduction of an apprenticeship programme,” Mark Mitchell said. “But, ultimately, the acquisition of Forward Glass will allow the Cornwall Group to step out from its traditional base in the South West and expand into new markets.”
Cornwall Glass’s advisors were Coodes (legal) and Lang Bennetts (financial), and Forward Glass was represented by Higgs (legal) and Springboard Corporate Finance (financial).