Growth spurt for Scottish forestry firm

A specialist forestry business that is majority owned by its employees has posted an increase in profits following another year of strong growth in the sector.

Ralland Browne, MD of Scottish Woodlands, at a harvesting site near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. Picture: Contributed

Scottish Woodlands, which is headquartered at Riccarton, Edinburgh and has a string of offices across the country, has increased its profitability from £2.29 million in 2016-17 to £3.26m in the firm’s past financial year.

Annual turnover increased from £76.8m to £92.3m, predominantly attributable to wood user demand for timber.

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Managing director Ralland Browne said the increased earnings reflected a “greater focus on core operations” within the business and a robust forestry market.

He added: “We have excellent and committed staff and have put a real emphasis in recent years on graduate recruitment and technical training for them and our existing staff.

“All of our operational areas, plus our investment division and our utilities division, are performing well – to the benefit of our clients and staff shareholders.”

The firm has 17 offices. Its northern-most operation recently relocated from Strathpeffer to Dingwall, while it has also moved to a larger office in Fort William.

The company is a strong supporter of the wider forestry sector. Browne is a board member of trade body Confor, while Scottish Woodlands has sponsored a new award for farm forestry in this year’s Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

“We work hard in the business, but we want to put something back and support the success of the wider industry,” added Browne.

“Our support of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards is specifically targeted at younger members of the farming community who have incorporated tree planting into the farm business – the kind of integrated land use we expect to see much more of in future.”