Smith & Ouzman looks to future following £2.2m fine

By Sarah Cosgrove, Tuesday 19 January 2016

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Smith & Ouzman is concentrating on diversifying into non-print offerings and winning new business, after being fined £2.2m following its conviction on corruption charges.

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Smith & Ouzman saw profits drop from £4m to £400,000. Picture: Google Maps

The company, which was sentenced on 8 January at Southwark Crown Court, will be able to pay the fine in installments over five years.

The Eastbourne-based security and financial printer saw profits drop from £4m to £400,000 and sales decline by 37% to £14.96m in the financial year to 31 December 2014.

Now chairman Phil Ouzman wants to draw a line under the affair and focus on delivering good services, boosting profits and looking forward to the future.

New non-print products available include bespoke branded websites, data management, electronic payroll, digital personalization, SMS and automatic email response services. The company invested in a new digital press in December although Ouzman is secretive about which one.

The company’s digital services work together with its print products, for example to produce secure ticketing and for web-to-print products with the added security Smith & Ouzman is used to providing.

Ouzman said: “We’ve been concentrating on digital offerings away from print in conjunction with leading print brands. We just started approaching the market with these new products but we can quite easily see us reaching 15% of our turnover with them.

“We would be foolish not to address the changes in the market.”

He said the last five years had been difficult for the company but added: “What happened, it’s historic. We are a completely different company now.”

The 170-year-old family company was thrown into turmoil in 2010 when it became the subject of a landmark fraud case conducted by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Following a trial, the security printer become the first company to be convicted for offences involving bribery of foreign public officials, alongside sales and marketing director Nicholas Charles Smith - known as Nick Smith - and his father, former company chairman Christopher John Smith. 

Subsequently in February 2015 Nicholas Charles Smith was sentenced to three years in jail and Christopher John Smith was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also handed 250 hours of unpaid work and was subject to a three-month curfew. 

Both men resigned as company directors on 31 December 2014 and are disqualified from being a company director for six years.

See next week’s issue of PrintWeek for our exclusive interview with Phil Ouzman. 

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