Cannock, Staffordshire-based KJB acquired WM Print’s assets last summer after the Walsall firm was closed by its former owners and placed into liquidation.
Rebranded as WM Printing Solutions, the acquisition brought a third production site on board for KJB, which completed the purchase after securing a £150,000 working capital facility from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
KJB has spent the last six months integrating the business into its group, by way of recruitment and investment. As WM had been closed for some time prior to KJB’s acquisition, many of its staff had found alternative employment.
New staff have been taken on at the now 11-strong Walsall site along with its former sales director, who has returned to the business.
KJB group commercial director Stephen Egerton told PrintWeek: “The former owners of WM Print closed the business and several weeks later we were able to buy the equipment and get ourselves in there operating. The former owners have been supportive advisors and we’re leasing the building, which was in a pension fund.”
The group is now set to replace WM’s Agfa CTP, which it had been using for more than a decade, with a more modern system, and is also updating its own Kodak workflow system at the Cannock site to ensure colour consistency across the business.
As part of a total £100,000 kit investment, next month it will also replace an aging Muller Martini saddle-stitcher at the WM site with a more recent secondhand Muller Martini Bravo sourced from CS Bindery Solutions.
“The new Muller will double our speed – it’s driving efficiency in terms of throughput,” said Egerton.
A raft of kit including a B1 six-colour Manroland 706 litho press and a two-colour Solna coldset web press was included in the acquisition deal, which Egerton said has enabled the now 46-staff group to expand its product range and production capacity.
“The acquisition gave us the opportunity to move into the B1 arena, which is very competitive admittedly, but it just gave us that flexibility to satisfy customer demands and, equally, increase our throughput.
“The market is contracting and we’re now able to leverage scale and capability across our sites. Our answer to any request now is ‘yes we can’.
“Because we’re operating a single MIS across all three of our sites, we’re able to leverage the assets very effectively and it’s enabling us to do larger campaigns that involve B1, B2 and B3 litho work as well as digital. The beauty of the Walsall factory is that it has got a decent amount of warehousing to enable us to do pick and pack campaigns.”
The WM site is mainly being used to produce brochures, printed packaging and exercise books for schools. Egerton said the 2019 turnover forecast for the site is £1.4m, while the wider group is eyeing total turnover of around £6m for the year, notwithstanding any additional acquisitions, which are looking likely.
“We are in discussions with two other more specialist businesses around the print management and marketing side,” said Egerton.
“Strategically we’re projecting organic growth of around £900,000 across the group during 2019 and then on top of that we’re focusing on at least one, maybe two acquisitions with turnovers of between £500,000 and £1m.”
Established in 1989, KJB Print serves a customer base that comprises mainly SMEs across the UK.