PFI subsidiary shuttered

McMurray: leading the improvement program being delivered by the new SLT
McMurray: leading the improvement program being delivered by the new SLT

PFI Group subsidiary Mardan Products has ceased trading as the acquisitive group restructures into three divisions.

Mardan Products specialised in acrylic display solutions and has produced work for a host of retailers and brands. A worker there told Printweek that employees at the Rochdale firm had not been paid since June.

The employee said that on 3 August insolvency practitioners from FRP Advisory were appointed at the business, and all the employees – understood to be around a dozen – were made redundant.

FRP is also handling the administration of sister company Futurama, which went into administration in May.

PFI Group CEO Darren McMurray told Printweek the group was being restructured and consolidated into its “three constituent Print, Signage and Retail divisions”.

He said: “As you may be aware, Mardan Products has always been closely linked to Futurama and has been experiencing difficulties since the Futurama administration.

“Since then, we have been working on realigning Mardan and saving as many jobs as possible but it has become clear that it is unviable as a standalone business and we have taken the regrettable decision to cease trading and close the business.”

Rymack Sign Solutions, which trades as PFI Group, posted sales of £31.9m in 2021, and made an operating profit of nearly £2.5m.

However, £4.2m in exceptional items related to Futurama propelled the business to a bottom-line loss of £1.96m compared to a profit of £1.43m in the prior period.

McMurray said he would be helming the restructuring himself.

“Following the personnel changes earlier in the year, I have now stepped back into the CEO role and will be leading the improvement program currently being delivered by the new SLT [senior leadership team],” he stated.

“Trading across the portfolio remains positive despite the head winds that the economy is currently experiencing, and we continue to monitor performance and ensure each of the group companies operates financially independent of each other while offering support and collaboration where opportunities allow.”

Printweek understands there has also been a hiatus at trade sign making and fabrication specialist Signmaster E.D., based in Kelso, Scotland.

Staff were awaiting payment of their wages and the landlord was taking action to evict the business over unpaid rent.

Signmaster was listed as one of the biggest creditors of sister business Futurama after it went into administration in May.

PFI Group companies were owed nearly £1.25m, with Signmaster accounting for £463,341 of that, according to the Statement of Affairs.

In response to a request for clarification regarding the situation at Signmaster, McMurray said: “With regards to Signmaster, the employees have been paid and the situation with the landlord is being resolved.

“The business suffered a significant bad debt from Futurama but the business has a unique offering in the market and the team there are slowly building things back up following that set back.”

Mardan Products was acquired by Rymack Sign Solutions in November 2019. In November last year another PFI business, Cestrian Imaging, replaced Rymack as the entity with significant control.

Signmaster E.D. was acquired by Rymack Sign Solutions in October 2020. In February of this year, PFI Signs 2 replaced Rymack as the entity with significant control.