NuGen Properties

GRS dives into Ocean

GRS Maen Karne managing director Doug Galbraith (left) with Ocean Blocks & Aggregates director Leigh Genge (right) at their Lee Moor site near Plymouth

The deal strengthens GRS’s ability to serve the construction industry in the southwest and boosts the firm’s capacity to supply secondary aggregates in the southeast, it said.

The partnership with Ocean represents the first significant investment for GRS since it completed a £60m refinancing deal with Wells Fargo Capital Finance in April 2023. 

The transaction also opens up new local markets for Ocean, which has access to millions of tonnes of granite arising as a by-product of Imerys’ china clay mining operation at Lee Moor near Plymouth. Ocean has a new on-site processing plant that washes and grades the material to produce bagged aggregates for the building trade as well as using the product to make concrete blocks for local house-builders.

Ocean’s directors Andrew Lakeman, son Edward Lakeman and Leigh Genge will remain on the board along with directors from GRS, including managing director of GRS’s southwest subsidiary Maen Karne, Doug Galbraith. Under the new partnership Ocean will work with GRS and Maen Karne to supply the material locally and nationally.

GRS chief executive Jon Fisher said: “Our new partnership with Ocean is a great addition to our portfolio. It gives us a complementary presence in Devon and Cornwall and opens up opportunities to supply premium secondary aggregates to housing and infrastructure projects across the country, easing the pressure on primary aggregates. Better still, GRS shares the same ethos as Ocean and we are looking forward to working with the founders and the whole team to support their growth as an independent business, both locally and nationally.”

Ocean director Leigh Genge said: “We have worked alongside GRS for a number of years and they are a great fit for our business. GRS already has established supply chain networks to efficiently transport our secondary aggregates from Lee Moor to major construction markets. Coming together also means we can continue to grow our business with the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of an independent operator.”

Through Maen Karne, GRS already makes use of secondary aggregates from the china clay industry to supply the region’s construction industry. And last year GRS became the first to move material by sea into Tilbury Docks for processing and onward distribution to meet the demand for materials London.  [See our previous report here.]

Britain’s construction industry uses approximately 250 million tonnes of aggregates each year but less than 5% of that currently comes from secondary sources, so GRS sees growth potential for the material.

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