A sawmilling business with a large Cumbrian operation has been acquired by a private equity firm.

BSW Group, which has a base in Cargo, near Carlisle, has been acquired by Endless LLP.

The company, which employs more than 1,200 people in total and turns over £350 million annually, has previously expanded by acquiring firms Tilhill Forestry, Alvic Plastics and Maelor Forest Nurseries.

It said its purchase by Endless would provide funds to support future growth of BSW.

BSW chief executive, Tony Hackney, and chief financial officer, Alan Milne, will remain at the business.

The firm has been owned by the Brownlie family since the mid 19th century.

Mr Hackney said: “This is fantastic news for BSW. Whilst it is business as usual, we are excited by the opportunities new ownership will bring us and we look forward to entering a new era of rapid growth and development under Endless’ ownership.

"We would also like to thank the Brownlie family for creating such a strong legacy and supporting the growth of the company and its employees.”

Aidan Robson, partner at Endless, added: “We are delighted to have been selected to support the acquisition of BSW, a business with fantastic prospects and one that we believe has a very exciting future.

"As the country’s largest timber producer, BSW plays a critical role in supporting the UK’s commitment to using more local and sustainable raw materials and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

"We look forward to working closely with Tony, Alan and the rest of the BSW team to deliver continued organic growth and further diversification through investment and acquisition.”

Leeds-based Endless also owns a number of other large UK-based businesses including cake manufacturer Bright Blue Foods, golf retailer American Golf and national distribution firm Menzies Distribution.

Founded in 1848 in Berwickshire, BSW is the largest sawmilling group in the UK and within the top 20 timber producers in Europe.

The Carlisle sawmill was opened in 1991. The firm also has sawmills in Newbridge-on-Wye, Southampton, Dalbeattie, Petersmuir, Fort William and Boat of Garten – as well as Riga, Latvia.