Acquisitions a Sign of the Times for Astley

Max Goldbart
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gateshead-headquartered Astley Signs has acquired fellow sign manufacturer Sign of the Times.

The deal for the signmaker completed in October for an undisclosed fee and comes as Astley looks to expand its service offering. Sign of the Times offers services such as vehicle wrapping that Astley, which also specialises in brand implementation, previously didn’t offer.

Astley sales and marketing manager Lindsay Burnham said: “The new partnership brings together a wealth of experience and knowledge and strengthens the capabilities and services provided. It also forms a robust and comprehensive offer for entry into new markets.

“Both organisations are committed to maintaining exceptional levels of service and high-quality products, whilst maintaining strong customer, supplier and partner relationships."

She added that Astley had initially identified a few companies it would have liked to purchase but Sign of the Times was the “right partner to develop the businesses further”.

30-staff Sign of the Times will continue to operate from its Kettering premises under its own name and branding. It offers a variety of services including vinyl graphics, POS and some digital print, running a large-format Arizona UV flatbed, a reel-to-reel EFI Vutek large-format printer and two Zünd flatbed cutters.

It won the Sign of the Year award at the 2015 British Signs and Graphics Association Awards.

Sign of the Times managing director Darren Roughton said the move was "fantastic news".

Established more than 90 years ago, 130-staff Astley has been under the ownership of its current directors for more than 25 years, and counts Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Frankie & Benny’s as clients.  It also has a digital print arm based in Milton Keynes. 

Its bespoke offerings include illuminated signs, to which it has recently added a solar-powered sign to its range, totems and vinyls. Last year, it turned over £13m. Combined revenues for the two businesses will total £15m.

Astley plans no more acquisitions in the near future, this being its first, and will focus on helping Sign of the Times with a recruitment drive to support the growth strategy it has for the company. 

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