Marshalls' sale of aggregates, sand and gravel quarries will be used to cut debt

Hard landscaping firm Marshalls says it is in "advanced discussions" to sell aggregate quarries to Breedon Aggregates England for up to £19m.

The quarries supply aggregates, sand and gravel, and the group insisted it would retain all of its dimensional stone quarries, some of which produce aggregate as an ancillary product.

The group’s freehold and leasehold quarries at Clearwell, Gloucestershire, which produces primarily limestone aggregates, and sand and gravel quarries at Dunsville, South Yorkshire, Astley Moss in Greater Manchester and Mold in North Wales are for sale.

For the year ended 31 December 2012, the operating profit generated from the operations at these quarries was £1.1m based on an annual turnover of £10m. Value of the gross assets are just under £15m.

"The discussions also envisage commercial arrangements for the continued supply of materials to Marshalls’ manufacturing sites following the transfer to be put in place," said a spokesman, adding there was no certainty a sale would go ahead.

Chief executive Graham Holden said: "Marshalls has been a niche player in the UK aggregates market for a number of years and, while the business is profitable, it remains ancillary to the core operations where our growth focus lies.

"If completed, the consideration received by Marshalls from the sale of these quarrying operations would initially be used to reduce net debt and we consider that such a transaction would be in the best interest of shareholder."

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