WOOD PANEL manufacturer EGGER UK has sold its forest management arm to Scotland's RTS Ltd.

RTS, with an annual turnover of £12 million, employs 40 people and is headquartered in Crieff, Perthshire. EGGER said that, while it remains 'fully committed' to its harvesting operation, the sale marks the withdrawal of the company from direct forest management operations, which have been developed over the last six years.

EGGER's panelboard business employs 640 people at its particle board factory in Hexham, Northumberland and another 130 people at its Barony plant in Auchinleck, Ayrshire. The remaining employees work for EGGER’s Timberpak subsidiary.

Forestry director John Paterson said: “We have taken a strategic decision to sell this specialist part of the EGGER business and focus on our harvesting operation which is a key supplier of roundwood to our production sites at Hexham and Auchinleck.

“We are delighted that RTS Ltd has agreed to buy the forestry management business which includes the management of over 8000 hectares of privately-owned woodlands. RTS is a firm which has a similar ethos and philosophy regarding forest management, providing the same bespoke professional services to which our clients have been accustomed. These highly-valued and skilled employees will move over to work for RTS Ltd and will continue to provide an uninterrupted, quality management service to their existing clients.”

RTS MD Norman O'Neill said: “This is an important strategic purchase for RTS and allows us to further extend our forest management service. We already have a strong presence across Scotland, with well-advanced plans for a further office in Inverness.

“This purchase gives us a stronger foothold in South Scotland and the North of England, from which we will seek further expansion of the business. We are especially pleased to welcome this highly experienced team of professional managers to RTS Ltd. They will continue to provide the same high standard of management service to forest-owning clients.”