Cornwall Group has acquired 100% of the share capital of £10million-sales Forward Glass, the Midlands’ largest independent toughened glass manufacturer and stock distributor, as well as its 100,000sqft site in Birmingham. 

Cornwall chairman Mark Mitchell says Forward is a good fit for the group, being similar to Mackenzie Glass, which it bought from Pilkington in 2017.

“They are an independent, family-owned business, selling single toughened, processed glass and stock to the trade,” he added, “Forward Glass has a turnover in excess of £10m a year, employing over 100 people and, looking ahead, we have plans to broaden the offering. The Birmingham based company has three toughening plants, which brings the total at Cornwall Group to eight. Forward’s typical customers are sealed unit manufacturers, traditional glass merchants and shop fitters. They are a successful business with a loyal customer base, and to them I would say it will be very much ‘business as usual.”

The new owner says the company will continue to trade under its own name, with current Mackenzie Glass joint MDs Matt Prowse and Mark Herbert handling the day-to-day running of the business.

Forward Glass’s former owner and Managing Director, Mark Weston Smith, who plans to retire, is the fifth generation of his family to operate in the glass industry.

He said: “For me and my family, Forward Glass represents more than a century of tradition and experience.

“I was keen to ensure the business was acquired by someone who shared our values. I believe Cornwall Group has a similar culture and the expertise and experience to manage the business and take it forward.”

Mark Mitchell concluded: “Our plans for the future include investment in plant and machinery and the introduction of an apprenticeship programme. But ultimately the acquisition of Forward Glass will allow the Cornwall Group to step out from its traditional base in the South West and expand into new markets.”

Cornwall Glass’s advisors were Coodes (legal) and Lang Bennetts (financial), and Forward Glass was represented by Higgs (legal) and Springboard Corporate Finance (financial).

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