Wepos ceases trading
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Leeds-based envelope and packaging overprinter Wepos, which traded as Print On, has closed down after HMRC issued a winding-up petition against the business in March.
The company’s database and stock have been bought by Watford-based Ebury, trading as Peak Envelopes.
Wepos, headed by directors Stephen Allott, Robert Binfield and until his resignation last June Chris Iredale, arose as a phoenix of the trio’s former company Print On Solutions, which went into administration in April 2016 owing creditors £1.4m. Wepos was incorporated a month earlier and bought the business and assets of Print On Solutions for £132,000.
It is the latest installment in a rather chequered tale, with Print On Solutions itself having arisen in 2013 from the pre-pack of SCR Envelopes, also headed by Allott, Binfield and Iredale. Print On Solutions is not connected with Cheadle, Cheshire-based printing business Print On.
Binfield and Allott are now understood to be running a new bag and packaging printing business, Alpacka, which they registered as a limited partnership in 2015 at the same address as Wepos. Its web domain alpacka.co.uk states "website coming soon" although phones are ringing.
The most recent developments for Wepos were put in motion when HMRC issued a winding-up petition on 13 March with the business owing the government department more than £250,000 in PAYE and VAT payments.
The company’s account was then frozen and joint administrators Steven Wiseglass from insolvency firm Inquesta and Gareth Lewis from Lewis Business Recovery were formerly appointed on 28 April.
Wiseglass told PrintWeek that the business had ceased trading on 7 April and after finding no way of paying suppliers or staff a total of 18 people were officialy made redundant three weeks later on 28 April. This suggests headcount had more than halved from the 54-strong workforce it had reportedly been in May last year.
The creditors report is expected to be published around the end of June. Although all claims have not yet been quantified, current figures run to £355,625 owed to unsecured creditors, Wiseglass confirmed.
He said that the business had been marketed on 19 April as a Business Acquisition Opportunity but despite several expressions of interest, it could not be sold as a going concern.
However on 28 April Peak Envelopes, which lost £52,380 as a former creditor of Wepos’ predecessor Print On Solutions, signed an agreement to buy the stock and customer database from Wepos. It did not buy any kit from the failed business.
Peak Envelopes is currently in the process of transferring Wepos’ phone systems, which director Almanzo Doouss said would hopefully be complete by the middle of this week, although he said the business could not takeover its email domain.
Doouss said Peak Envelopes had paid "full market price" for the data and stock.
“We didn’t get any discount or anything for the fact that we were a creditor of the previous creation. The fact we had worked with them didn’t really play much part in the decision, apart from the fact that what they offered fits hand in glove with what we offer,” he said.
"I would like to stress that since Print On phonexied and went bust on us in 2016 we have had absolutely no dealings with Wepos or any of their associated companies. They went into administration and we are growing and looking at avenues for growth, and this fitted neatly into our portfolio of potential clientele. They have similar capabilities as us so it made sense.”
The business, founded in 1973, employs 25 staff and runs four four-colour printers, one digital, and 13 mono devices as well as cutting and creasing machines and converting and shrink-wrapping devices.
Doouss added: “We will be able to offer customers an improved service as well as being able to deliver the same services they’ve previously had."
The Watford-based business is currently in rented premises while its own site is demolished and completely rebuilt. The new 1,110sqm purpose-built facility will be a a huge improvement on its predecessor, according to Doouss, and on completion in January 2018 will offer a lot more production and warehouse space.