PE-backed Sentry Doors swoops for historic manufacturer

Doncaster-based Sentry Doors has acquired Birmingham door manufacturer E&SW Knowles & Company.

Sentry Doors said that its acquisition of £10m-a-year Knowles created the UK’s largest producer of specialist fire safety doorsets.

Established in 1923, E. & S. W. Knowles manufactures specialist timber internal doorsets with fire rated, acoustic and PAS 24 security certification.

It operates nationally from a 50,000 sq ft facility in Birmingham and employs around 100 people.

Sentry Doors is private equity owned, having been acquired by Cairngorm Capital in 2019

The enlarged business continues to be headquartered in Doncaster. Steve Horner, Knowles’ managing director, will join Sentry’s senior management team, working with Ty Aziz, Sentry’s chief executive.

Aziz said: “I am delighted to welcome Knowles to Sentry Doors – they have a fantastic manufacturing heritage, an exceptional team and a superb product range so we can learn a lot from one another. This partnership will help us to respond to the surge in demand for our products, as well as providing our customers with a fully comprehensive range of fire safety and security solutions, and a greater choice of features and finishes. It marks a key milestone in the growth strategy for our businesses and advances our collective ambition to be UK leaders in this sector.”

Martin Wright, majority owner of Knowles, added: “Next year Knowles celebrates its centenary and while I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved in the last 99 years, I know that the company has the capability to achieve much more in the future. I believe that this is the natural point for me to pass the company to new, trusted custodians who can deliver on its future potential. Knowles has a perfect partner in Sentry and together, the companies should achieve great things.”

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