Five years on, the final chapter of the collapse of Polestar is written as PUPL Realisation Ltd, (Polestar UK Print) is dissolved

Five years on, the final chapter of the collapse of Polestar is written as PUPL Realisation Ltd, (Polestar UK Print) is dissolved

There are a lot of people in the printing and allied industries will raise their eyebrows over the news that the last part of the once mighty Polestar empire has been confined to history.

Polestar UK Print which became PUPL Realisation Limited has been wound up as reported by Jo Francis in Print Week, the industry’s main trade publication.

The journalist reported: “Five years’ ago this week, Polestar’s once flagship Sheffield supersite ceased web offset operations, with the entire factory shuttered by 31 May 2016. The web offset and gravure printing group’s messy failure caused huge repercussions for its clients and sent a shockwave across the industry as publishers scrambled to find alternative printing arrangements – with some work heading to the continent as a result, although the vast majority of it has now been repatriated to the UK.

“The various Polestar companies involved in the group’s multi-site structure, which was further complicated by the pre-pack sale to Proventus in March 2016, are all now dissolved. Polestar had sales of £535m at its peak, although this had fallen to £216.4m in 2014. The group’s 2015 accounts were never filed.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM has bitter memories of the collapse as it left creditors with a £235m headache in unpaid invoices ahead of the pre-pack with Proventus in 2016. He said: “A large number of companies lost a lot of money when Polestar went down causing untold heart ache for suppliers. It was pretty much one of the biggest players in the business and to collapse in the way it did was devastating. There were question marks at the time over the pre-pack and the subsequent fate of the rump of the company.”

He also said it was a sign of the times as the print industry was under attack from the internet and decline in newspaper and magazine circulations. Since then more players in the business have struggled and gone to the wall as the market shifted from long print runs to shorter digital printing and any firm with major debts will always struggle in a contracting market.

In 2016 PwC attempted to find buyers for the various sections of the group which at the time included the flagship gravure and web offset site at Sheffield, web offset sites in Bicester and Chantry, the sheetfed magazine printer Stones in Banbury, and book and journals printer Wheatons in Exeter.

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