Headley Brothers loses N&S work

By Jo Francis, Friday 10 February 2017

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Headley Brothers has been dealt a blow with the loss of its contract to print two weekly magazines for Northern & Shell, but advisers to the company remain hopeful of finding a buyer for the up-for-sale business.

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New! and Star now being printed at GD Web Offset

Northern & Shell’s New! and Star titles are now being printed by GD Web Offset in Rotherham, formerly Garnett Dickinson Print, which recently changed hands in a pre-pack deal.

Northern & Shell declined to comment on the contract switch. GD Web Offset did not comment.

New! and Star posted circulations of 206,071 and 122,630 respectively in the latest ABC report, and are understood to have made up about 25% of sales at Ashford-based Headleys.   

The web and sheetfed magazine printer had been producing the titles since last year, after it took on the work following Polestar’s collapse. But the high-volume, low-margin nature of such a large time-sensitive contract is understood to have proved problematic for the business.

A source close to the company said: “This could be a blessing in disguise, as servicing of their other customers had suffered a bit because of the N&S work. Now they can focus on servicing key customers.”

Headley Brothers is consulting on redundancies as a result of the loss. The £19.3m turnover firm employs circa 190 staff. 

PrintWeek revealed that the long-established Kent printer had been put up for sale last month. The company has now filed a second notice of intention to appoint administrators, which provides an extended moratorium against action by the firm’s creditors until next Wednesday (15 February).

The sale is being handled by business advisory firm Smith & Williamson and partner Steve Adshead said discussions were continuing and the company still had the support of key customers.

“We had a couple more interested parties come through in the past couple of days,” he said. “I’m optimistic. Our aim is to keep the business going, and by and large customers have been supportive.”

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