Gemini Group in multi-million pound press overhaul
By Simon Nias Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Gemini Group has invested in a raft of new litho and digital kit, including two new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL presses, as part of a "long overdue" £3.4m capital equipment upgrade.
The firm, which embarked on an £800,000 finishing spend in January, has now spent a further £2.2m on an XL 106-5 and an XL 75-5 plus coater, as well as £400,000 on two digital presses from Kodak.
According to managing director Steve Cropper the investment in new litho technology was long overdue at the group's Shoreham headquarters, where its current fleet of presses was between seven and 14 years old.
Cropper explained that the group had been due an upgrade in 2008, but that once the recession had kicked in the decision was made to focus on preserving jobs, leaving Gemini short of funds for investment.
"In the years leading up to the recession we had grown into quite a big group and when 2008 hit the focus was on trying to keep people in jobs rather than investing," said Cropper.
"We had two to three operations that were not profitable and [we] took the decision to try to continue to fund those in the hope of turning them around, which meant we were left with very little money to invest elsewhere.
"Before our finishing upgrade in January, we were sending out 1m sheets a month for folding and now we're doing all of that in-house, which has given a big financial boost to the business."
Gemini's 2012 capital investment programme has coincided with former Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year, John Boyle OBE, increasing his stake in the company to 100%, following the death of company founder Nigel Holmes last year.
Cropper said: "The group was in a pretty bad place 18 months ago, with the losses we were making at some of the sites; John saw the need for investment and he was the driving factor in facilitating the funding and turning Gemini into a force again.
"He has taken a more proactive role and with all the experience he's had outside of print it's quite refreshing to have someone that successful come in and be excited about the industry."
Boyle, who has been an investor in Gemini for more than 25 years, has business interests spanning sports, print, leisure, technology and property through his investment company Hamilton Portfolio.
He said: "I’m delighted to be increasing my involvement in the Gemini Group as I believe it has a great future. In a highly competitive industry facing challenges from many directions, Gemini has bucked the trend and achieved solid growth, which will be further boosted by the arrival of the new presses."
Gemini's XL 75 will be installed next month and replaces an old SM 74-5, while the 106, which replaces a CD 102-5, will be installed in January 2013. Both new presses feature Heidelberg's Prinect Inpress Control inline color measuring system.
Meanwhile, Gemini has increased its stake in Brighton-based Beard Digital to 100% and merged it with its design and branding business Visual Identity to form Gemini Digital. This has been backed by a £400,000 investment in new Kodak equipment, including a Digimaster HD125 and a Nexpress SX3300, both installed in the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, as part of the restructure of the group, Gemini has also merged its two Bristol sites, Ambassador and Managed Marketing, allowing it to offer a complete service, from design to print and mailing, all under one roof.Tweet
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