Label printer goes bust in wake of UPM supply crisis

Jo Francis
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A long-established UK label printer has gone into administration with supply issues caused by the strike at UPM cited as one of the reasons for its failure.

Some of the products produced by Parkers
Some of the products produced by Parkers

Bootle-based TW Parker (Paper) Ltd, which trades as Parkers, went into administration with Leonard Curtis yesterday (26 April), just four days after the UPM strike was finally resolved.

The strike’s impact on the availability of label materials has impacted label converters across Europe, with label body FINAT warning of severe disruption in downstream industries like food and pharma extending into Q2 because of it. 

A number of label industry experts had also flagged the potential for company failures due to the situation.

Parkers had been trading for 70 years, having been established in 1952.

The firm ran a range of conventional and digital label printing kit and produced plastic and aluminium heat-seal lids for products such as cream and yoghurt, self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging.

It laid claim to being the UK’s largest printed label applicator to plastic pots.

Customers included Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda and Marks & Spencer as well as emerging food brands.

On its website, Parkers said it had sales of £7m and employed 60 staff, although it's not clear if that many employees were still with the company.

Commenting yesterday on a Printweek post about the UPM strike resolution on LinkedIn, Parkers digital manager Darryl Whyte said: “Very good news for the industry, but unfortunately too late for me and my colleagues. We finally went into administration today. A majority of staff have already been let go with the last few of us due to be finished on Friday.”

Printweek understands that the firm also had cashflow issues, but according to an insider the label material supply issues “put the cherry on top. It played a massive part.”

“The UPM situation along with France [Brexit and logistic issues] was the main reason. We just could not get material due to only being a smaller company.”

Parkers is currently completing work in progress with a few employees remaining on site. 

Directors and co-owners Phillip Hood and Eugene Roche are understood to have been let go upon administration.

In its abbreviated accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020, the most recent available, TW Parker (Paper) had total equity of £1.27m, down from nearly £1.5m in 2019.

Parent company TW Parker (Holdings) paid an interim dividend of £167,200 for the same period, up from £115,200 the prior year.

Administrator Hilary Pascoe, director at Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group, commented: “Although the company undertook an accelerated mergers and acquisitions process, unfortunately a sale of the business as a going concern was not possible. The administrators are liaising with the company’s customers with respect to a short trading period to complete and dispatch current orders.

“A total of 10 employees were made redundant shortly prior to and upon the appointment of the administrators. The administrators will continue to assess staffing requirements over the coming days.”

Label printing business leaders had already spoken out about their dismay at the damage done to the industry's supply chains by the strike.  

Important note: Parkers Packaging of Knowsley, Liverpool is a separate company, having been established in March 2003 as a spin-off venture from the original Parkers family business. It supplies wholesale food packaging and injection moulded recyclable plastic packaging.

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