3i makes JP Corry exit

3i has sold its stake in JP Corry Group, UK builders’ merchants, to Saint-Gobain Building Distribution, the French supplier of building materials, generating an IRR of 43% for the private equity firm.

3i has held an interest in the Belfast-based business since 1996, and supported the company’s acquisition of Coens, an Irish rival.

JP Corry is the largest builders’ merchant in Northern Ireland with 14 branches, with a further five across the Republic of Ireland and three operational sites in England. It is this geographical spread which appealed to Saint-Gobain. “This acquisition will give Saint-Gobain a significant presence throughout Ireland and a strong trading base in the roof truss sector in England.”

3i has a strong connection with the builders’ merchants sector having recently invested £21m in UK company MKM, and selling both Encon and William Wilson last year to Wolseley.