Thinkprint UK becomes employee-owned

Thinkprint UK was founded in 1996 by Ian Thomson
Thinkprint UK was founded in 1996 by Ian Thomson

The ownership of Thinkprint UK has been transferred into an Employee Ownership Trust deal (EOT).

Founded in 1996 by Ian Thomson with an initial focus on POS marketing, Northwich, Cheshire-based Thinkprint UK now provides outsourced print management and marketing data procurement services.

Serving brands including Puregym, Screwfix, William Hill, The Range, and Robert Dyas, the company also offers fulfilment and logistics services, and branded environments, as well as artwork and campaign management services, through its third-party supplier relationships.

Founder Ian Thomson was looking to partially step away from the business, and specialist savings and lending bank Shawbrook provided a flexible senior debt solution incorporating a commercial loan and a commercial confidential invoice discounting line to support the transfer of Thinkprint to an EOT.

The transaction, which sees the sale of 100% of the share capital to the EOT, will allow Thomson to partially exit the business and transition to the role of chairman. Paul Robinson will retain his position as managing director of Thinkprint UK following the transaction.

The company said the move will also help to further its ambitions of expanding its competitive offering through technology “while distributing wealth into the local community, and giving employees a voice on its sustainable growth”.

Robinson commented: “As an organisation that is employee-owned, our staff now possesses a direct interest in our success, and we are confident this will motivate them to work diligently and intelligently to ensure optimal client support.

“We firmly believe that this ownership model represents a natural progression for our business and will result in a more engaged and driven workforce, leading to superior client outcomes.”

He said the Shawbrook team acted quickly and efficiently to help with the EOT process.

“We had extensive discussions with them before the transaction and were impressed with their willingness to support Thinkprint on this exciting journey. Our industry holds great potential for expansion, and we are determined to achieve growth through Shawbrook's assistance.”

Daniel Martin, senior director at Shawbrook, added: “Thinkprint is a prime example of a long-running UK business which is continuing to innovate in its respective sector.

“We have been highly impressed with the firm’s growth trajectory over the past few years, and its ambitions to diversify and expand into other areas – which is why we were eager to support Ian and Paul in this transaction. We wish the Thinkprint team all the best for the future.”

Shawbrook thanked Rick Payne at Bennett Brooks for his involvement with the financial due diligence, Aaron & Partners and Gunner Cooke for providing legal counsel, and Courtus Advisory Group.

According to documents filed at Companies House, the transaction took place in early April.

In its most recently filed accounts, for the year ended 31 December 2021, Thinkprint UK recorded a turnover of £20.5m, up from £19.1m in 2020, and had employed an average number of employees during 2021 of 66.