Details currently being finalised

TJ Books and Charlesworth Press reveal merger

Watts: automation and investment in training were key in 2021
Andy Watts becomes joint managing director of the new group

TJ Books and Charlesworth Press are to join forces and form Fortis Print Group, “a future-focused, customer-led, print business”.

Announcing the move on LinkedIn on Friday afternoon (14 June), the companies said the move “brings together the people, skills and technology behind the two firms to create a resilient business with the ambition and strength to respond to changing customer needs and deliver improved customer outcomes”.

They said conversations started when the leadership teams found they had a similar passion for personalised service and tailored print offerings.

In their statement, Andy Watts, joint managing director of the new group, said: "We’re increasingly hearing that our customers want consistently high levels of service from a print partner who cares about their work. Fortis brings together the technical capabilities to innovate in the print market along with the ethos of customer service that always puts customer needs first.”

Mark Gray, the group’s other joint managing director, added: “We know the market is moving quickly towards flexible digital print solutions. We're at the forefront of that movement, ensuring our customers get the creative approaches they want. Fortis supercharges digital print and creates a unique customer proposition for the sector.”

Benefits of the merger were said to include access to the latest technology, meaning cost efficiency for the group’s customers; increased capacity, meaning better workflow and productivity and reduced turnaround times; and combined manufacturing capabilities to give a wider product offering.

In 2022, Cornish book printer TJ Books, based just outside Padstow, increased its automation following the installation of two Canon ColorStream 8000 continuous feed inkjet printers. As of 2022, it employed just shy of 150 staff and had a turnover of nearly £16m.

The business was acquired in 2018 by co-owners Andy Watts and finance director Andy Adams. Founded in 1969, it operates from a 7,700sqm site.

Wakefield, West Yorkshire-based litho and digital printer Charlesworth, which was established in 1973, had sales of around £6m and employed just over 50 staff as of 2022.

According to filings at Companies House, Fortis Print Group Ltd was incorporated on 31 May 2024. TJ’s Watts and Adams, along with Charlesworth’s Gray, are the three joint biggest shareholders, with 2,972 shares each. Lee Hewitt and Lee Jones, both from Charlesworth, hold 500 and 250 shares, respectively.

The two companies said details of the merger were currently being finalised, with completion planned for the end of this year.