Local printer moves into Hudson and Pearson

By Sarah Cosgrove, Wednesday 10 February 2016

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A Burnley trade printer has bought Hudson and Pearson’s property and plant from its administrator BDO UK in a seven-figure deal.


Birbeck (left) with Sharpe and new press

The acquisition includes a 2,323sqm building in Burnley, Lancashire, an eight-colour B1 Manroland 708, a six colour B1 Manroland 606 and a six-colour B2 Manroland 306 alongside a raft of finishing kit, fixtures, fittings and IT equipment.

The buyer is local £7.5m-turnover trade printer Calderprint, which intends to move its headquarters from its three-floor town centre factory to the new site. It also took on some of the former Hudson and Pearson staff.

Managing director and co-owner Peter Birbeck said the deal allowed the company to add B1 capability to its five B2 presses.

“It puts us into a different league. It makes us by far the largest printers in the North West, as far as kit’s concerned. It will put us in a position where we can compete with anybody,” he said.

15 staff started in the former Hudson and Pearson building on Monday to run its presses, of which 12 were former Hudson and Pearson staff made redundant in the administration, following 110 years in business. Birbeck expects to fill a further 12 roles over the next year, bringing the total staff to more than 100. 30 staff will also move from Calderprint’s old site over the next few months.

Calderprint’s historic town-centre building was recorded in the 1821 census as a saw mill and has been a printer since the 1930s but has become increasingly unfit for purpose in recent years.

The company has already moved several of its presses to a second location in Nelson, Lancashire, which now has four Form-All Form Print web presses, a Shinohara 75VH, a four-colour SanXin and six Heidelberg sheetfed machines.

A Konica Minolta bizhub C6000, Ricoh Pro 1357, Ricoh Pro 1106, two one-colour Heidelberg GTO 52s and the last remining Form-All Junior Print remains in central Burnley.

Birbeck said of his new site: “The building was built back in 1991 but it hasn’t been touched since. The computer equipment was 10 years old. We repainted, put in new carpets and IT.

“The administrators were trying to sell the existing business as a going concern but we were only interested in the kit and the building. We’ve been looking for another building over the past few years but there was nothing suitable in the Burnley area." 

Calderprint’s old site is now in a regeneration area which has seen £50m of development over the past few years and focus on the area’s history. Birbeck said it may be turned into housing.

While local to each other the two companies were not competitors, since 110-year-old Hudson and Pearson aimed its services at the general commercial market, which administrator Kerry Bailey said had suffered from "the challenging economic climate and a decline in turnover".

Birbeck and his minority shareholding partner Chris Woodall agreed the purchase in December and the deal completed on 29 January, with £745,600 finance from NatWest and a £186,400 grant from the Lancashire Business Growth Fund, through East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

They were assisted by Pierce Chartered Accountants director Mark Maden-Wilkinson on the negotiations with BDO and Pierce corporate finance director, David Sharpe, on grant application and business planning, following a long association between the two firms.

Sharpe said: "As well as enabling Calderprint to go from strength to strength, this deal will provide skilled jobs for local people. We wish Peter every success in the continued expansion of the business.” 

BDO said the sale followed a successful marketing process.

"The priority of the joint administrators remains to maximise recoveries for the benefit of all creditors, who have been, and will continue to be, kept fully updated throughout the course of the project,” it added.

Calderprint, established in 1978, is in its 38th year and Birbeck has been there for 31 of those. He has been a director for 15 years. The company reported £7.3m sales in the financial year to 31 May 2015, up from £6.9m the year before, with operating profit of just over half a million.

The Calderprintgroup, under holding company Calderprint Pinnacle Limited comprises five companies, trading as Calderprint, JL Group and Finishing Line NW. In total it has annual sales of £10m which Birbeck expects to increase to £13m in a year and £15m in three years.”

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