Macfarlane Group acquires Armagrip

Atkinson: "This acquisition gives us a breadth of additional customers to bring on stream"
Atkinson: "This acquisition gives us a breadth of additional customers to bring on stream"

Macfarlane Group has acquired industrials sector packaging provider Armagrip to further strengthen its business in the north of England.

The Glasgow-headquartered group completed the deal for the inventory and goodwill of Chilton, Durham-based Armagrip on Monday (6 January). The £1.6m-turnover firm’s eight staff will all transfer across to Macfarlane as part of the transaction.

Macfarlane Group chief executive Peter Atkinson said Armagrip is “a successful, profitable business with a loyal customer base and an experienced team of people”.

He told Printweek: “We were aware of Armagrip and met up with them around the middle of last year. So we’re happy that we’ve been through a process with them and that they wanted to complete the transaction this week.

“They operate in the same sort of market areas that we do in terms of customers, and also a similar geography.

“The product range is very similar to ours so it gives us a breadth of additional customers to bring on stream. There are some product lines that we offer our customers that Armagrip don’t, so we’d like to extend the product range within Armagrip to give their customers a greater product offering.

“The supplier base is also similar, and we’ll be working with our suppliers to see what benefits we can generate from the supplier base.”

Armagrip’s staff will for now remain based at the firm’s current site, which is on a short-term lease, and its trading name will also be retained “for the immediate future”.

Macfarlane Group reported a turnover of £107.5m in its half-year results at the end of August. The report indicated a fall in sales in packaging design and manufacture, though distribution continued to grow. Its turnover for 2018 was £217.3m.

The group now employs more than 925 people. Staff are based across 30 sites, primarily in the UK but also in Ireland and Sweden, and serve more than 20,000 customers in the UK, Europe and the US.

Last year the firm acquired Lancashire-based protective packaging specialist Leyland Packaging Company and Aylesbury protective packaging distribution business Ecopac.

“We’ve been doing two to three acquisitions per year probably for the last four or five years now and we’ve got plans in place to continue that during 2020,” said Atkinson.

“This is the first for this year and we’ve got a pipeline of other opportunities and we’re very hopeful that we’ll have at least one, if not two more acquisitions during 2020.”

Macfarlane Group’s share price rose by 1.1% to 108.7p shortly after the acquisition was announced yesterday and stood at 107.7p at the time of writing.