Industry firms make Top Track list

Five printing industry firms made it onto this year’s Sunday Times Top Track 250 ranking, with four of the companies featured being new entrants to the 2018 list.

The annual survey, produced in association with business advisory group Grant Thornton and Lloyds Banking Group, ranks Britain’s privately-owned mid-market growth firms with sales of up to £700m.

Two of print’s most acquisitive companies were the highest placed industry businesses on the list. Paragon Group was placed at number 13 with sales of £601.8m in the year to 30 June 2018, and Walstead Group was ranked at 35 with sales of £421.6m last year.

Paragon has appeared in the rankings before, but Walstead was a new entrant to the list.

Jermey Walters, CEO at Paragon Customer Communications UK commented: "Naturally we are delighted to be recognised in this way. It is our people and our customers who make it possible, and we're very grateful for the hard work being put in on all fronts to continue Paragon's growth.

"We are growing fast across all our three divisions - particularly in Customer Communications, where we recently completed a number of significant acquisitions.  We continue to bring quality of service and innovation to the communications sector, and we have recently won a lot of new business as well, so the ranking reflects a good combination of organic and acquisitive growth. We've moved up from 71st to 13th in the Top Track 250 rankings which is fantastic for all concerned."

Walstead chairman Mark Scanlon said: “Appearing in a league table such as this and having revenue larger than the likes of Waterstones, Chelsea FC and Boden, is clearly gratifying especially since Walstead will be only 10 years old this December.”

Scanlon said the group’s recent continental buys in Austria and Poland would see sales in the current calendar year around the £500m mark, with the expectation that this will grow to £650m in 2019 when the acquired businesses are included for a full-year’s trading.

“Whilst revenue growth is, indeed, impressive, our primary focus will continue to be generating decent profit margins from it and converting those into strong cash flows to sustain our long-term growth plans,” he added.

Personalised products group Photobox was also a new entrant this year, appearing at number 65 with sales of £325.4m in the year to April 2017. The business owns a number of sub-brands including greetings card and gifting business Moonpig, and plans to propel its production of greetings cards to the 25-million a year mark following the acquisition of Dutch cards and gifting business Greetz over the summer.

Marketing services group HH Global rose from number 80 to number 74 with turnover of £304.4m in the year to the end of March 2018, with sales rising on the back of strong international growth.

Industry supplier Brett Martin was also a new inclusion ranked at number 201, posting sales up 12% to £152.4m in calendar year 2016. The family-owned County Antrim company manufactures a variety of plastic products, and its range encompasses plastic sheets for the sign and display industry including Foamalux.  

Brett Martin’s 2017 figures showing sales of £155.5m were filed just as the survey went to press, and would have seen the firm ranked at 195.

Grant Thornton works with PrintWeek on the long-standing Top 500 survey, the definitive annual list of the UK’s largest printing businesses.


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