Historic printer folds, industry firms in pre-pack and CVA

Jo Francis
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

A wave of company insolvencies has spelled the end for a historic Staffordshire print business with a history dating back almost 120 years.

Wood Mitchell operated from twin buildings on the site of the Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival
Wood Mitchell operated from twin buildings on the site of the Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival

Commercial printing business Wood Mitchell Printers went into voluntary liquidation last month with BV Corporate Recovery & Insolvency Services handling the case.

The Stoke-on-Trent firm had a massive pension deficit of nearly £7.7m which made up the bulk of its estimated total deficiency of £7.45m. Trade creditors were owed less than £60,000.

Its assets and vehicles have been sold by Eddisons in an auction that closed yesterday (8 December).

Printweek was unable to reach managing director Ross Mitchell for comment.

The long-standing family business was co-founded as a partnership in 1901 by Herbert Mitchell, whose eldest son Reginald Mitchell went on to design the Spitfire just in time for the aircraft to play a pivotal role WWII. The firm became a limited company in 1904.

Large-format printer Odessa UK, formed out of the administration of Odessa Print Group at the end of last year, has now applied for a CVA after the Biggin Hill business experienced an “unsustainable downturn in business over the past several months due to the Covid 19 pandemic”.

Director Bob Charles told Printweek: “We have applied, and had accepted, a CVA with HMRC being the major creditor. This was allowed to proceed due to the high percentage offered within the CVA with 100% of creditors that voted, voting in favour.  Being in a position to spread the debt owed, over a longer period of time will offer the opportunity to recover the business to previous trading levels and profitability over the coming years.

“Our structure for recovery is based upon the exiting of two of our four premises and we have unfortunately  had to make the sad decision like so many of our competitors, to reduce head count until trading returns to more sustainable levels. “

Another large-format printer, Leicester-based Retail Print Solutions, has also gone into voluntary liquidation. The case is being handled by Springfield Advisory.

The business has an estimated total deficiency of £2.7m, which includes £333,267 owed to trade and expense creditors, £165,067 in employee claims and £213,485 owed to HMRC.

A new company operating from the same address, RPS Leicester Ltd, was set up in October and has since been renamed Swytch Graphics.

A spokesperson at Springfield Advisory said that offers for the assets of Retail print Solutions were “under consideration” but nothing had been agreed as yet.

In the west country, Wincanton Print Company went into administration with Begbies Traynor last month.

The business was subsequently sold in a pre-pack deal to Wincanton Digital Print, a new company set up over the summer by Charlotte Taylor and Stephen Taylor, who were also the company secretary and director of Wincanton Print Company.

Begbies Traynor said the sale had secured the future of a business that has traded for over 26 years and had saved 22 jobs out of a total of 32, “providing service continuity to the company’s long-established client base”.

Joint administrator Julie Palmer commented: “This is a positive outcome for a long-established business within the Somerset community, given the current climate following the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The decision of the director to take early and decisive actions has not only resulted in the rescue of 22 jobs but has also resulted in safeguarding the long-term future of the business. It shows that, notwithstanding the challenges many business owners face, the rescue procedures available can preserve a business to be able to prosper going forwards.”



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