ICSM Printing and Allied Trades Business News: More print firms hit the rocks as Covid support loans come due and the icy winds of recession blow through the industry

By Harry Mottram: January has brought more bad news for the printing sector and its allied trades as firms struggle to repay their Covid support loans and attempt to remain profitable as energy bills double.

Print Week’s Jo Francis has reported on Bermondsey-based Screaming Colour who have made an intention to call in administrators in a filing on 9 January, at the High Court. She wrote: “The notice states that Paul Williams and Benjamin Wiles of Kroll Advisory are the administrators to be appointed. Screaming Colour was established in 1994. The multi-award-winning firm specialises in digital printing and creative production and offers a 24-hour service from its 2,800sqm site in Bermondsey.”

She explained that Printweek understands that Screaming Colour’s core business was ‘badly impacted by the pandemic restrictions.’ And in its abbreviated accounts for the year ending 31 August 2021,’ total equity fell from £1,089,176 to £387,665.’

Alarmingly if appears that the future of the 77 workers is in doubt and that suppliers haven’t had any news about their invoices. Printweek understands the firm is up for sale with two potential buyers – leaving creditors in limbo. 

Meanwhile further up the River Thames at Hampton TSM Copiers Limited are the subject of a petition to wind up by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in the London Courts of Justice on January 24. The taxman is clearly after a sizeable sum to have taken such action and according to Companies House there are three outstanding charges related to rent to TSM Copiers and their accounts are overdue.

TSM’s website shows a photograph of central London looking down the River Thames but are in an industrial unit in Hampton – and their social media has not been updated in years – but three engineers are linked to the firm via their LinkedIn pages.

Ian Carrotte of the business intelligence group ICSM who warn its members of potential bad debts said: “The print industry is particularly vulnerable to inflation and the rise in energy costs as they are big consumers of electricity. A printing company factory unit using around 50,000 KWH a year face a bill of near £200,000 and rising – it’s not sustainable if cashflow is poor. Landlords are hiking rents, inflation has sent paper prices soaring and then you have a perfect storm – to survive like on a ship in a storm you must batten down the hatches and head for calmer waters with clients that pay on time and perhaps a smaller ship.”


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ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel - while at the moment there's a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach - ask for details from Paul.

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