Brickworks sold as part 
of £900m American deal

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins (centre) in front of the kiln at Claughton Manor Brick Works with MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Eric Ollerenshaw and works manager Graham Longhorn (right).
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins (centre) in front of the kiln at Claughton Manor Brick Works with MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Eric Ollerenshaw and works manager Graham Longhorn (right).
0
Have your say

The parent company of Claughton Brickworks has been acquired by an American private equity business for a total of £900m.

Germany based HeidelbergCement, owner of UK based Hanson Building Products, which runs the brickworks, has announced that it is to sell the business to Lone Star Funds.

A spokesman for Hanson Building Products said it would be “business as usual” for the 38 staff at Claughton.

The brickworks re-opened last January after it was mothballed at the height of the recession in December 2009 as house building reached an all-time low.

The kiln was shut down and 35 workers lost their jobs with a crew of just three remaining on site to sell off remaining stock. But a recent surge in housebuilding led to strong demand in 2014, and further growth forecast for 2015/16.

The spokesman said: “The sale of Hanson Building Products is consistent with HeidelbergCement’s strategy of focusing on processing and refining raw materials for its core products of cement and aggregates and further downstream activities.

“We’ve got nine brickworks in the UK, as well as block paving and aggregate block, with 1,500 employees, and a similar business in the US, which is twice the size. Hanson’s core business is cement, sand, gravel and concrete, and the brickworks businesses are described as ‘non-core’. It’s a good time to sell and get a decent price.

“Our message to staff is that it will be business as usual, with the likelihood that Lonestar Funds will invest and expand the business.

“The prospects for the next few years are looking very positive.”

The spokesman said that the staffing and management structure will stay the same.

“A year ago we were just getting going having taken the decision based on what we predicted to be a pretty strong demand in 2014, and still positive through 2015-16,” he said.

“Last year exceeded all our expectations, our markets were strong, and all our prediction forecasts were met.”

The company re-opened Accrington Brickworks in January, and took on 34 staff, meaning it was back to its full capacity of nine brickworks across the UK.

“House building has slowed a little bit,” the spokesman said, “but it’s still running at 5 - 8 per cent growth in 2015.

“We used to look on growth as 2 - 3 per cent, so we’re still seeing very healthy growth.

“House building sites are cropping up all over the place, applications are going in, and we’re at the front end in terms of supply chain. At Claughton, we’re just about sold out of bricks. The Claughton Classics product is very popular, and you frequently see orders from across the border in Scotland and all over northern England. We’re having to talk to our customers about pre-planning.

“If we get a big house builder coming in saying we want the whole lot, we have to balance this against our smaller customers. But there’s still years worth of clay left on the moor top at Claughton.”