WT Burden has sold 22 of its branches to Wolseley for £30 million and will transfer about 600 of its employees.
The 22 branches will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of Wolseley UK and retain the Burdens brand name, the firms said today.
The deal comes after Burdens filed a ‘notice of intent to appoint an adminstrator’ to the courts, which it said was to give it more time to see through a sale.
Burdens posted turnover of £342m in 2011 and had around 50 depots employing 1,200 people before the deal.
WT Burden chief executive Jeremy Burden said today: “The move will enable the Burdens business to be taken to the next stage of its development and will provide it with the level of focus required to continue to realise its full potential in the UK market.
“We are confident that the transaction will represent an opportunity to enhance service levels to both customers and suppliers and is positive for the employees involved. ”
Wolseley UK managing director Steve Ashmore said the deal marks “another exciting milestone in Wolseley UK’s development”.
He added: “We believe the utilities market, particularly the water industry, offers many growth opportunities and this purchase would put us in a great position in that market.
“The deal is also in line with Wolseley UK’s strategy to hold leading market positions in all of its businesses.”
Burdens was established in Birmingham in 1929 and supplies goods including civil engineering materials, geotechnical products and pressure pipeline products.
It is still owned by Burden family and charitable trusts, along with an employees-ownership structure.
Burdens has a complex structure comprising 40 separate limited companies within the group.
The company underwent an £80m re-financing earlier this year, with backing from both GE Capital and Lloyds Banking Group.
Burdens corporate development director Kevin Hancock said the notice to the court was to “give the company the time it needs to finalise matters”.
He added: “We have filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator with the court, but the intention to file does not mean that the company is in administration.
“It is to allow us time to finalise our plans to secure the long-term sustainability and growth of the Burdens business.”