Two recent acquisitions have helped the brick industry take a further step toward operational rationalisation. Hanson plc has acquired the clay brick business of Marshalls plc for £65m.

Based around four facilities in the North, Marshalls Clay Products has an output of approximately 160 million bricks per year and employs 350 people. The move, which caught many industry pundits by surprise, makes Hanson Building Products one of the largest UK manufacturers of clay bricks with about one-third of the UK market.

Commenting on the acquisition, David Szymanski, Hanson Building Products managing director, said: “We are very pleased to be acquiring Marshalls Clay Products. It brings good long term clay reserves, fits well with our product range and will strengthen our customer offering in extruded bricks and clay pavers.”

This follows on from an earlier acquisition of thebrickbusiness by Austrian-based Wienerberger AG. Formalised on 4 January, the move will see Wieneberger’s Terca brand increase to around 15% of the UK clay brick market. Its wire-cut, soft-mud and hand-made products will be made in ten factories across the UK. Hailed as the world’s largest brick manufacturing group, Wienerberger AG has 223 plants in 23 countries.