ESP Colour acquires Kingfisher Print & Design from admin

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ESP Colour has acquired Totnes, Devon-based commercial printer Kingfisher Print & Design out of administration, pushing its turnover up to around £20m.

Kingfisher was placed into administration last Tuesday (15 August) after Michelle Anne Weir of Lameys was appointed by the company’s directors. ESP bought the business out of administration on the same day in a pre-pack sale to an unconnected party.

A spokesperson for Lameys told PrintWeek it had been advising Kingfisher for a few weeks prior to the company being placed into administration.

“Suffice to say, it had debts that it didn’t have the funds or resources to deal with. The business was marketed for a short period and there were other expressions of interest, but they weren’t as good as the offer from ESP.”

In a statement, ESP Colour said Kingfisher “has a great reputation for service and quality and is a great fit for ESP, complementing our values and matching our client expectations.

“With ESPs expanded technology and product range offering this was an opportunity to move both businesses forward in the most positive manner available to us.”

ESP Colour chief executive Paul Bradley told PrintWeek: “Kingfisher are really good people with a good, loyal client base. [Kingfisher managing director] Ross [Bellotti] and the team down there are great and the Kingfisher brand is good.

“We’ve got no intentions of changing the brand or the client-facing people. Kingfisher will become a trading name of ESP Colour but will still be very much its own brand. It has a nice position with its clients and they just want to see continuity, which is exactly what they will see.”

ESP Colour operates Heidelberg Speedmasters as well as digital kit from Kodak and HP, Canon and Roland DG wide-format machinery and a comprehensive finishing portfolio.

“Kingfisher’s clients will benefit from our extended offering – we’ve got B1 but we’ve also got some really good high-end web-to-print solutions and a high-end creative and digital agency which we can offer as well. It’s just really good synergies all round,” said Bradley.

The acquisition will bolt around £3m additional turnover onto ESP, taking its annual sales up to around £20m. The business has been expanding its offering recently and launched digital subsidiary ESP Smile last September.

“With the addition that Kingfisher brings, I’d imagine the litho side is going to be around about £14m and the digital approaching £6m,” said Bradley.

ESP will continue the lease on Kingfisher’s current premises, at least for the short-term, Bradley said, but “final details are still being worked on” regarding numerous factors, including which Kingfisher kit it retains – the company operates a Speedmaster XL 75 and a Kodak NexPress SX 3300.

Bradley confirmed ESP had been considering making an acquisition for some time and “this may not be the last one we do”.

“There are so many businesses struggling out there at the moment,” he said.

“It’s a tough time for everybody and when the opportunity arose the way it arose, it was one we just had to look at.

“I’m pleased to be able to work with Kingfisher and take them forward. It’s a difficult time for people but there’s a lot of excitement as well – we’re investing in Kingfisher already and we’re only a few days in.”

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