MCAARP Holdings bought Birmingham-based A1 Trade Print Services for an undisclosed sum just before Christmas. A1 has been established for more than 30 years and specialises in security printing and integrated card and label products. Its product range spans cheques, gift vouchers, parking permits and optical mark recognition forms. With sales of £6m and 60 staff, it is the biggest acquisition yet since the 2008 MBO that formed Integrity.
Integrity posted sales of £61m in its last financial year, and, along with last year’s purchase of Mooreforms, the latest deal will propel group sales towards the £70m mark.
Chief executive Mark Cornford said the acquisition ticked a number of boxes in his overall strategy: "I wanted to grow our presence in specialist niche security products and also wanted to explore export opportunities. A1 is a successful business that does a lot of export sales to Africa and beyond, and they have established channels in place. We can look at selling the group offering via these channels."
Around 25% of A1’s turnover is export sales, whereas exports at Integrity are currently just 5%.
The A1 business was acquired from majority shareholder Mark Jones, who has left the company to pursue his other business interests. Jones acquired Pindar’s confidential print business through a new company, Secure & Confidential Documents, last September.
A1 managing director Jim Richardson will continue to run the company, which retains its name and separate location. "The acquisition gives us access to a wider technical offering, enabling us to continue to develop exciting new products for our customers," he said.
The deal was funded by Investec, which backed the original £13m MBO at Integrity three-and-a-half years ago . "To borrow money in these difficult times reflects their belief in the business and that we have the right plan and the right strategy," Cornford added.
He also said that growth in online shopping had led to a boom in demand for products such as delivery notes with integrated labels. "Yes, there’s the threat of the internet and online to print, but there are also opportunities in all the collateral required for online ordering. We’re not fearing the internet, we’re embracing the opportunities that come with it."