Admin for two more Kouakou firms

The final two businesses in Landry Kouakou’s short-lived print empire are now in administration, with the business and assets of one operation sold to a retail marketing specialist.

The Gazette: administrations appear in official public record
The Gazette: administrations appear in official public record

St Ives – now Kin + Carta – sold its £106m turnover wide-format printing business to Kouakou’s SelmerBridge holding company in March 2018 in a £6m deal that was backed by Dublin-based finance firm Sitara.

Retail print subsidiary SP Group went into administration just four months later and then ceased production, while sister company Service Graphics went the same way in January 2019, with Paragon Group subsequently buying the Service Graphics name and two of its sites.

The remaining two businesses in the original group of companies, field marketing firms Tactical Solutions UK and its subsidiary Flare, are now in administration as well.

Tactical Solutions UK went into administration on 24 April with Allan Graham and Matthew Ingram of Duff & Phelps again handling the case.

The share capital of Tactical Solutions UK was held by SelmerBridge Print Vehicles (SPV), formerly SelmerBridge, which went into administration itself in July 2019.

Duff & Phelps reported that plans to market the Tactical Solutions business for sale at the end of last year were delayed from Q4 2019 because of contract renewals that were underway at the time.

Instead, the administrators said they would begin marketing the business in Q1 2020.

After Tactical Solutions went into administration the business and assets were sold to Staffordshire-based Dee Set on 30 April. 

Dee Set claims to be the largest retail services provider in the UK, and in normal times would complete more than 3,500 store visits each week.

Greg Phillips, CEO of the firm, said: “We are delighted to have acquired a forward-thinking business with passionate colleagues and a data-driven offer that aligns perfectly to our strategic direction.”

Tactical Solutions UK is the major shareholder in Flare, which has also just gone into administration.

A spokesman for the administrators said that Flare was a 100% owned subsidiary of Tactical Solutions with no assets, and its administration was a "corporate simplification".

Creditors, including Kin + Carta, were owed millions when the print businesses went down, with unsecured creditors of SelmerBridge’s print operations owed more than £12m.

St Ives acquired the Tactical Solutions business in February 2011 in a deal worth up to £24m. At the time it had sales of £11.5m and an EBITDA margin of more than 24%.

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