Latimer Trend hits the dust after 130 years of business


Print Week reports on another big player going bust

One of the printing industry’s most famous names has gone into administration after creditors rejected a planned CVA for Latimer Trend last week.

The 130-year-old Plymouth printing company failed to convince creditors of its survival plans following mounting speculation over its financial viability.

ICSM Credit understands from its own sources that the firm had experienced long-term problems with paying suppliers caused by debt issues, cash flow problems and ‘a hole’ in the accounts rather than the concerns over Brexit – the reason given by the firm along with poor trading figures this summer.

Writing in Print Week Jo Francis said: “The 130-year-old Plymouth printing company was established in 1889. Its product range included high-pagination books, brochures, magazines, directories and calendars. It worked for publishers, education providers, high-end design agencies and well-known brands and employed 85 staff.”

She quoted an email sent by managing director Paul Opie to Latimer Trend customers on customers October 10, with the subject line 'The Last Post'.

The message said: “I would like to thank the incredible support of our customers, staff and the industry who with a little exception allowed this great millennial company to find a solution to the eventual insurmountable damage caused by the effects of Brexit and the sudden unexpected significant short term drop in sales during May, June and July 2019.

“It is with tremendous sadness that the company faces administration and will no longer be able to continue to provide for its loyal employees or meet its obligations to its customers or suppliers. 
“The future of this great industry will, in my opinion, be supported by the focus on automation but it will only be delivered by the quality and skill of its people. Thank-you.”

Few in the industry feel the Brexit excuse holds credence - as reflected in a string of comments on Print Week’s website from readers who dismiss the idea. They point to a mixture of failings in management, the attempted switch to digital book printing and another printer not moving with the times. ICSM members who supply Latimer Trend concur with the mounting concerns over recent weeks of the company’s health especially after a digital book press was installed and then removed by a supplier as payment was not settled.

Jo Francis confirmed this news. She wrote: “The company had even installed a brand new Screen Truepress Jet520HD inkjet web book printing line and Hunkeler book finishing system for on-demand digital book printing earlier this year, having stated in its most recent accounts that it planned to invest in short run and ultra-short-run book production ‘as this has great potential to deliver improvements in margin and cash generation to the business’”.

She said she understood the line was never used and “was removed before it was even commissioned, after Latimer Trend became unable to meet the payment schedule.”

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