Yorkshire-based Brenntag on the hunt for acquisitions after securing investment

(Left) Russel Argo President of Brenntag UK & Ireland and Uwe Sch�ltke, COO of Brenntag, at the company's new  HQ in Leeds
(Left) Russel Argo President of Brenntag UK & Ireland and Uwe Sch�ltke, COO of Brenntag, at the company's new HQ in Leeds
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A Yorkshire-based chemical ingredients distributor expects to buy more businesses and create jobs after securing a £50m investment from its German owners.

Brenntag UK & Ireland announced the growth plans as it officially opened its new head office in Leeds. Russell Argo, the company’s president for UK and Ireland, said Brenntag was also considering acquisitions because it needed to broaden its portfolio and areas of expertise.

He said: “Organic growth is always our focus, but over the next few years, we will give it a helping hand with sector specific acquisitions to enhance our added value offer across the markets.”

The company, which distributes chemical ingredients used in sectors including food and nutrition, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, household and industrial cleaning, has received more than £50m of funding from Brenntag Group, which is headquartered in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.

The investment will be spread across Brenntag’s business in the UK and Ireland. It’s a significant vote of confidence in the firm’s Yorkshire operations as the UK prepares for negotiations over Brexit.

Workers at Brenntag’s UK headquarters have moved to Lawnswood Business Park in Leeds, after the company outgrew its original base in Rawdon, near Leeds. Mr Argo said the company plans to invest around £3.3m on the Lawnswood site over the next 15 years, with further investment also planned at its sales and distribution site at Gomersal, West Yorkshire.

The number of people employed at the Leeds headquarters has risen by 18 per cent to 125 over the last three years, and a similar rate of jobs growth is expected between now and 2020.

Mr Argo added: “Following the relocation to our new UK and Ireland HQ, we are even better placed to reaffirm our market leading position.

“This is the perfect start to the year for the business. Across the UK and Ireland, numerous initiatives, innovations and targets have been consistently delivering impressive performance results for the group.

“So to receive significant financial backing from Europe is a major boost .”

Steven Holland, the chief executive of Brenntag AG, who was born in Bradford, said: “The UK represents a significant market for our products and services and it remains an integral part of our European and global growth strategy.”

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, attended the official opening, alongside the company’s key suppliers and customers and representatives from the Department for International Trade and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

Mr Mulholland said: “It’s encouraging to see a thriving, market leading business with its roots planted firmly in Leeds continuing to go from strength to strength.

“To receive such significant financial backing from Europe in the current climate is testament to the success and ongoing vision of the UK operation.

The £50m investment confirms Brenntag Group’s long-term commitment to its UK and Irish operations, a company spokesman said.

Brenntag aims to offer a one-stop service to more than 170,000 customers. Headquartered in Germany, the company operates a network with more than 13,500 employees across 490 locations in 72 countries. In 2014 the company achieved global sales of 10.0bn euros.

Brenntag UK & Ireland is also working towards the Brenntag Group’s ‘2020’ vision. It’s part of the company’s strategy to become a major distributor for both speciality and industrial chemicals, while retaining high standards of safety and sustainability. ”

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