Print management firm Hague buys competitor

By Sarah Cosgrove, Wednesday 27 January 2016

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Growing print management and IT solutions company Hague has acquired a smaller print management firm to increase its customer base and geographical reach.

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From left: Hague directors Simon Hayward and Nathan Wain and Steve Rushton

Normanton, West Yorkshire-based Hague bought SR Print Management (SRPM), based in Hednesford, Staffordshire, for an undisclosed sum after owner Steve Rushton decided he wanted to spend less time on administration and more on selling.

This is Hague’s first acquisition, but is not expected to be its last.

The £2m-turnover SRPM has seven staff and buys litho, digital, screen and promotional print as well as selling storage, pick, pack and distribution services worldwide. It will continue to trade from Hednesford under the SRPM Limited name with Rushton, who established the business in 2000, as managing director.

Hague director Nathan Wain said its location was very attractive to his firm, a specialist in in security print, labels and IT, which already has other UK centres in Manchester, Reading and Cardiff. As well as office space it has a 2,415sqm warehouse in Normanton.

“It’s a very similar business to ourselves in a location we were not in just north of Birmingham. It fits in nicely with our other sites,” he told PrintWeek.

“We met Steve and thought we could get on with him. The company has a similar offering and clients. It just seemed to tick all the boxes. Steve is staying on as managing director and we’re taking on some of the admin headache from him so he can focus on selling. The company has got a bit large for him and he wants to concentrate on the bit he enjoyed doing rather than spending all his time ticking boxes in Excel.”

Rushton said: “SR’s success over the years is down to the loyalty of its client base, which is a testimony to the 'can-do' attitude and professionalism of its staff and the good relationships it has with its suppliers.

“We are excited to join the Hague Group. It will give our customers access to new sources of supply and products not previously offered, potential savings and an extended industry knowledge.”

The move follows on from Hague’s expansion into Australia. It opened a new office in Sydney in the first week of January to serve existing clients, mainly in education. The company has accounts with 20 Australian universities, a model that mirrors its UK expertise, where around 55 universities are on the books.

It reported a turnover of £12m in the financial year to 31 December 2014 and Wain said this had grown to £16m by the end of 2015. He expects turnover to grow to £20m by the end of 2016.

Wain said: “We’ve been doing quite a lot of work in Sydney over the past five or six years and it’s been expanding. We fulfil the products they can’t buy locally at a cost-effective price.” 

It also opened an office in Tanzania in east Africa from where it also services clients in neighbouring Uganda and Milawi with security print.

Hague is on the lookout for more acquisitions. “We’re looking for another one or two UK print management companies around the size of SR. We’re also looking at Canada,” Wain said. He said he expected the company would recruit a further four or five sales people this year.

Hague was established in 1980 and now exports to more than 50 countries. Clients include universities, banks, government agencies, retailers and event and leisure organisations. It is a member of the IHMA (International Hologram Manufacturers Association).

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