Hanson, the building materials company, has bought brick manufacturer Marshalls Clay Products for £65m.

The FTSE-100 company has acquired the clay firm, which was part of the quoted Marshalls group, in order to boost its share in the clay bricks and paving sector. The acquisition will increase Hanson’s market share and improve earnings through operational and administrative savings.

Marshalls Clay Products is a UK manufacturer with four plants in the north of England, three in Yorkshire and one in Lancashire. It employs 350 people. Hanson expects the business to generate earnings of about £7m in the year to 31 December. The business will be integrated within Hanson Building Products.

Alan Murray, chief executive of Hanson, said that the deal was consistent with its strategy to grow through bolt-on acquisitions.

“Marshalls will enhance our position in one of our core markets,” he said. “We will continue to pursue further value-adding opportunities.”

Marshalls said that it had sold the business to reduce group debt and to return cash to shareholders.

Graham Holden, the chief executive of Marshalls, said: “The business is still only the fifth largest brick company in the UK with little prospect of improving this position. Having received a good offer, we consider it is in the best interests of our shareholders to sell the business.” In a trading statement on Monday, Marshalls said it expected pre-tax profit to be in line with expectations before costs of £1.5m for reorganisation were taken into account.

  • Hanson chairman Christopher Collins is to retire from the board in April. He will be replaced by Michael Welton.