Asset strippers ready to move in on struggling firms

Long list of print companies in administration

According to the trade journal Print Monthly there are a long list of printers currently in administration some of which are trading whilst others have shut up shop completely.

The publication reported this month that the firms in administration were up for sale with hefty price tags running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

With expensive kit and stocks of paper and ink along with fleets of vehicles and even premises owned outright the firms are “an asset stripper’s heaven with kit and property exceeding millions of greenbacks in some cases” said the magazine and website.

The publication notes that Kingsdown Printers in Bristol have gone into administration closing their factory at Eastpark Trading Estate in the city after 30 years in business and meaning 60 people have lost their jobs. It is also a blow for many of their suppliers as most will be left high and dry without any of their invoices paid once the secured creditors and the administrators FRP Advisory have been paid.

Many in the industry can’t recall a time when so many printing firms went to the wall outside of a recession although in some ways the economy is struggling this year with inflation and the value of the pound.

It’s not just printers who are being hit but also suppliers and the newspaper and magazine sectors. For instance in Kent 300 jobs have been lost at Aylesford Newsprint after the firm applied to go into administration ending the company’s work at recycling paper for use in the newspaper industry in February. That crash is a direct result of the decline in newspaper and magazine sales as the public switch to online publications.

ICSM Credit’s Ian Carrott of the print industry’s credit intelligence group says one of the issues facing the industry is the decline of the High Street as consumers change their shopping habits. He said: “The high street is going through a revolution with the public switching to buying online forcing the likes of Toys R Us, Maplins and East to close their doors. Mothercare and Next are closing stores and the list of those in trouble are growing. And with a long term squeeze on wages through the policy of austerity the public’s spending power has been curtailed with restaurant chains such as Prezzo and Jamie Oliver’s Italian hit in what has become an over-crowded market anyway. For every business casualty another printing firm is hit in the cash flow department and I haven’t even mentioned Carillion.”

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