Wyndeham Pre-Press and Masterpiece merge to form Rhapsody
By Matt Whipp Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Wyndeham Pre-Press and sister company Masterpiece have been merged to form Rhapsody, a new pre-media company based around Wyndeham's Emagine workflow.
Wyndeham Group business development director Les Pipe has been appointed managing director of the new 40-staff business, which will operate as a sister company to Wyndeham under holding company Walstead Investments.
"From a financial perspective we see a lot of growth potential," said Wyndeham Group chief executive Paul Utting. "I think the size of Walstead gives us an opportunity to put pre-press slightly outside the core business but give it the support that it needs to grow."
The plan to merge Wyndeham Pre-Press with creative services business Masterpiece has been in place for the best part of two years, although the companies' heritage goes back much further to Graphic Facilities, the repro house that was acquired by Wyndeham for £6m in 2004.
The centrepiece of the business and its strategy is its Emagine publishing and pre-press workflow software, developed in-house but partnering with third party products where applicable.
Pipe said: "To give you an example, it's linked into the Maxim ad booking system at IPC, so when you book in it populates an ad. And at the other end with non-print media we've integrated YUDU as far as the user of Emagine is concerned to be able to publish an online edition way before it gets to the presses. It will be published before the plates are made.
"The simple strategy is to deliver print and online, not online instead of print, facilitating creative content and to grow that certainly over the next two or three years at least."
That strategy has already borne fruit. Pipe claimed the software had won over nine new clients and 43 magazines in the last 18 months, turning around a loss-making business. And with Wyndeham's vast print empire, and new services being developed for Emagine, including text translation and live tracking of the production process Pipe was confident the business will continue to grow.
"Through no fault of its own, through circumstances around what happened with the Iceland bank, Wyndeham Pre-Press and Masterpiece were losing close to £1m a year three or four years ago," said Pipe. "Last year we made 4.5% to 5% profit, this year we'll make 10%-14% profit, pre-tax and next year we're looking at substantial growth again. We're looking at increasing our profit by 20%-30% again next year."
Pipe said in earlier years revenues were in the region of £3.1m, but this year were expected to come in at £3.6m "and we're projecting a 12% pre-tax profit".
As the business grows Pipe added that the business may look at potential acquisition targets as it seeks to flesh out its services and the capabilities of the core Emagine platform.
"There may come a time where the sense of a partnership may not be quite as strong. And in some case we'll be giving a reasonable amount of revenue away," said Pipe. "So we might choose to internalise that revenue. We might either recruit people to do it, or look for strategic acquisitions. And the footing for that is the financial platform we've been able to create over the past couple of years."
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