Manchester Printers completes third acquisition in three months

Manchester Printers Group was established in 2012
Manchester Printers Group was established in 2012

Manchester Printers Group has acquired Chester-based business Signature Printing, the third acquisition it has made since April – with more set to follow.

Based at the Lyntown Trading Estate in Eccles, Manchester Printers completed the deal this week. Signature is a B2C online direct-to-garment and gifting personalisation printer that the group said would fit well into its growing portfolio of companies. Its five staff will all remain with the group.

Manchester Printers group operations director David Whittles told Printweek: “Signature are pretty bespoke in what they do in that they cover the clothing side and one-off merchandising side – they do a lot of end-user gifting products, many of the orders are through Etsy and Amazon.

“It’s a very big market, but whereas in other parts of the group we concentrate more on the bulk orders where we’re doing bigger runs, they specialise in single units and runs of one.”

With this acquisition, the group is now aiming to move into the B2B corporate clothing wear sector to further support its growth plans.

In May the group completed the acquisition of Chelma Graphics, based in Saltney near Chester, a print and design company that serves clients across the Cheshire and North Wales region. And in April it closed the deal to purchase Accrington-based specialist finisher Jameson Print Finishers, which offers finishing options up to B1.

Signature Printing and Chelma Graphics have been brought together to operate out of the same building in Chester while Jameson Print Finishers has stayed put at its base in Accrington.

“Jameson has been a massive addition to the group due to the very niche work that they do, like specialist folding and carton gluing,” said Whittles.

All staff and management teams across all three acquisitions have been retained, although some previous owners have exited, taking the current group headcount up to 40. The brand and trading names have also all been retained, albeit the businesses also now operate under the Manchester Printers Group umbrella.

Manchester Printers Group was established in 2012, and in 2018 it completed its first acquisition – of print management firm Berkeley Business Forms (BBF).

Further buys since have included Allenco Ltd – trading as Wheatsheaf Print, Printdesigns Wilmslow, and HCM Commercial Printers, all three of which now trade out of the Allenco premises in Wilmslow.

Whittles said more M&A activity is imminent for the group, which has a medium-term turnover target “in excess of £10m”.

Manchester Printers offers litho and digital print up to B3 on Heidelberg GTOs and Versafires, with longer sheet options on the digital side, as well as wide-format print on Mimaki roll-to-roll and flatbed printers.

It is currently rolling out PrintIQ MIS across the group, which Whittles described as “such an advanced system from an automation point of view – it’s going to have a massive impact”. The group has also just invested in Enfocus Switch automated proofing software.