John Good stages £2.9m kit investment

Theatre programme specialist John Good is looking to break into new markets after investing £2.9m in three new printing presses and two finishing machines for brochures and programmes.

Machinery costing more than £750,000 was funded with a hire purchase deal from Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance. The company also agreed a £1m overdraft with the bank to provide working capital and help combat the seasonal nature of its main business.

Print sales director David Hall said the new four-colour B2 Heidelberg XL 75 and four-colour B1 Heidelberg XL 105 replaced a five-colour SM 74 and four-colour CD 102. The third printer, a 1.6m-wide Mimaki JV33 digital machine for posters and banners, replaced a Roland DG machine.

An old Heidelberg finishing machine was replaced by two new Heidelberg Stahlfolders: a pallet-fed TH 82 and a TH 66. The company recently renewed a contract with a major theatre group for three years and secured a two-year contract for the BBC worth “at the thick end of £500,000 and probably more”.

Hall said: “John Good is synonymous with the arts but it's reaching saturation point: there are only so many theatre programmes you can print. We are looking at digital markets and the commercial sector. We have taken on two sales staff and made £1m more in sales than last year.”

Currently around 70% of the firm’s revenue comes from the arts sector and it produces up to 6m publications a year for clients including Ambassador Theatre Group, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

The 130-staff firm, bought by a consortium led by chairman Michael Burt in 2011, is targeting retail, education and financial sectors in a move to diversify its revenue streams. It trades from sites in Oxford, London and Coventry.

Finance director Andrew Williamson said: “This investment will increase productivity by around 40%, improve quality and speed up turnaround. It gives us a springboard into markets such as retail, finance and education. The arts sector is very seasonal and we want a more even flow of work.”

John Good, which offers clients a full service including graphic design, editorial, printing and despatch, is forecasting turnover of £12m for 2013, up from £10.5m in 2012 thanks to new contract wins and the increased capacity of its new machinery.

Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance client manager Hugo Hanlan said: “The bank was able to work alongside John Good’s management team and put together a comprehensive package to support its ambitions. The company already has a well-earned reputation for the quality of its work.”