Directors Martin and Paul Bramwell, the seventh generation of the same family to run a print business, chose to put their firm into administration after trying and failing to sell it following a sales decline and the loss of key customers.
Joint administrators Paul Stanley and Jason Dean Greenhalgh of Begbies Traynor’s Manchester branch were appointed on 19 April and continued to run the company in administration for a further 11 days while they looked for a buyer.
All the staff were made redundant and company ceased trading on 30 April.
Stanley said staff had been paid until the end of the month so the administrators had a short window to find a buyer and ensure orders were finished and sent.
He said the company’s move into digital in 2014, in which it invested in an HP Indigo WS6600 and an AB Graphic Digicon Series 2 digital finishing line in a bid to, as Peter Bramwell put it, “get back business” had been a big investment that had not paid off.
“They thought that was going to be the future but they never got the levels of orders that they needed," said Stanley. "The directors put in quite a bit of money to make it work but there was a large liability with the press lease. They took advice from us and put the company into administration."
Stanley said there had been some interest in buying the firm but the “significant employee liability” had put off buyers, who are unable to pick and choose the staff they want under current employment law.
“It was too much to take on. If you pick up 30 employees, most of whom have been there for 30 or so years, when people look at the cost it’s not something you can just have a punt on. It’s an expensive punt if it goes wrong.”
The company closed without any pension liabilities, total trade creditors of around £500,000, and a total creditor bill of around £1m, including the debt to the directors, who are the biggest individual creditors.
Now Stanley and Greenhalgh have passed the company’s assets to the Stockport branch of auctioneer Eddisons but do not expect the value recouped will cover the company’s debt.
Eddisons is holding an online auction in 71 lots to sell a 2002 eight-colour Man Roland R708 P four-back-four sheetfed perfector with 174m impressions and the same model from 1998 with 251m impressions, plate processing machinery and finishing kit including a Wohlenberg 132 programmable guillotine.
Other items include everything from a Ford Transit van and spare Roland 700 rollers to scales and Furnival press of unknown age with bids starting at £50. The digital kit is not for sale.
Interested parties can view the machines at the Bramwell's site, 33 Longwood Road, Trafford Park, Manchester on 24 May between 10am and 3.30pm but must wear suitable PPE clothing.
Bidding will end at 10am on 26 May.
Bramwell Label Company was most recently run by Martin and Paul Bramwell, following 188 years of family printing businesses. Their great, great, great, great uncle David Taylor started D Taylor & Co in 1828 to supply printed textile tickets to the Lancashire cotton industry.
He passed the company to his nephew Benjamin Taylor and his son Benjamin Alfred Taylor took over in 1893. The company then passed to his nephew John Benjamin Taylor Bramwell in 1925.
Following the Second World War, trade turned to labelling for the food industry. In its most recent iteration The Bramwell Label Company was started in 1995 by Paul and Martin Bramwell and produced 80 million wet-glue labels a month.