William Gibbons has wrestled the Haymarket consumer division’s web offset contract from Wyndeham Group, breaking a relationship that lasted half a century.
William Gibbons won the contract to print titles including Autocar, FourFourTwo, Stuff, What Car? and Management Today, following “a robust tender process” in which its response and testimonials were “outstanding”, according to Haymarket Media Group head of procurement Gary Charlton.
The Willenhall, Wolverhampton-based web offset printer will take over the work in the summer.
The decision does not impact Haymarket's arrangements with Polestar and Stephens & George, which continue to provide web-offset and sheetfed print for the west London publisher.
Wyndeham and its acquired company Hubbard have been printing Haymarket magazines for 50 years, most recently at its Southernprint, Roche and Peterborough sites. Its staff have been told about the contract loss.
Wyndeham Group chief executive Paul Utting said losing the contract would not have a material impact on Wyndeham’s business and it represented just 1% of the turnover of Wyndeham parent Walstead Investments.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose the Haymarket contract, we’ve served Haymarket for many years it’s been a very good relationship,” he said.
“However the reality is that the markets served by Haymarket are under particular pressure and volumes have declined significantly over the past two or three years making production on smaller offset presses more appropriate.”
“The small web offset sector in the UK is particularly competitive with the remaining suppliers engaged in a fight for survival. Our strategy is to compete in markets where the quality, size and service is a real competitive advantage and I’m pleased to see we’re winning significant volumes in these areas. This doesn’t change our plans.”
Utting said that the turnover value of Haymarket contract had halved due to “significant volume erosion” with readership of its automotive and gadget titles in particular more likely to move online.
“If print runs continue to decline more and more work will move to sheetfed. This is as much to do with the changing shape of Haymarket’s business as anything else,” he said.
In contrast he said there were still a number of key markets that are not seeing this volume erosion, including quality monthlies, such as Vogue and Monocle, the retail sector and catalogues.
Wyndeham won a three-year contract to bind Argos catalogues in June last year.
Charlton did not want to comment on declining print volumes.
He said: “Print remains an integral part of Haymarket's interaction with our audience, and we are satisfied that we have the right supply chain in place for now and the future.
“William Gibbons already provide print for our Network division, so we are very pleased to be able to build on this existing relationship. Their response to the tender was outstanding. They are clearly a well run, thriving business and all the references we received from their clients were outstanding.
“As a result of this process our consumer portfolio will move away from Wyndeham. While this is no doubt disappointing for Wyndeham we would like to state our gratitude for the fantastic service they have provided to us over a very long period."
Wyndeham lost IPC Media (since renamed Time Inc UK) magazines to rival Polestar in March 2014, leading to the closure of the Wyndeham Heron web offset plant.
In January it filed its first full set of results since losing the IPC contract which showed sales in the year to 31 December 2014 were down 7.4% to £111.3m, which chairman Mark Scanlon described it as “a very creditable performance in trying circumstances”. He added that Wyndeham would "not chase unprofitable business”.
Both Wyndeham and Haymarket left the option to work together again open.
William Gibbons was not available for comment.