Latcham Direct acquires Accent

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Latcham Direct has acquired on-demand digital print and creative specialist Accent, as a key part of its plan to continue to strengthen and expand its offering.

Headquartered at 8,360sqm premises in Bristol, with offices in Crawley, Latcham offers print production, mailing, secure document fulfilment and specialist digital communications to clients across local authorities and the health, utilities and energy, membership and financial services sectors.

Managing director Mike Hughes said Latcham’s acquisition of fellow Bristol firm Accent, which was completed at the end of October, would enable it to deepen both its digital and print presence. In particular by bringing added capacity and agility to handle the requirements of small and medium-sized businesses.

Earlier this year Latcham installed a Canon Océ VarioPrint i300 sheetfed inkjet and an imagePress C850. It also operates a Ricoh IP5000. Accent was running a fleet of colour and mono digital printers, which Hughes said are “ready for upgrade” plus a raft of finishing equipment and web-to-print software.

Hughes told Printweek: “We’ve been making a lot of investments, particularly recently, in digital print, and on that side of the business we had a need for servicing just-in-time short-run digital print customers. Accent fits in really nicely for us and will focus on delivering that type of service.

“We’re keeping Accent as a separate brand and they’re going to continue as a separate team so they can keep focused on that particular type of service activity.”

Accent’s owner and managing director Richard Binnington, who is retiring, said he was “delighted that after almost 20 years of focused customer service and innovation, the Accent brand will continue to develop and grow”.

“The combination of talents provided by Latcham and Accent will undoubtedly prove to be more than the sum of the parts and become a significant presence in the market.”

Accent’s premises were already based within Latcham’s site, albeit operating as a separate business, which Hughes said made the deal “a fairly obvious thing for us to do when Richard was ready to hang up his boots”.

The other four of Accent’s five staff have now been taken on by Latcham as part of the acquisition, taking the firm’s headcount up to just over 100, and additional staff will be recruited as the business grows.

They include Accent’s head of on-demand print solutions Juergen May, who will take up the same role within Latcham. He said: “Becoming part of Latcham will enable us to bring in new technologies, helping to ensure our customers have access to an increased range of services.

“And importantly, Latcham also has the same values as Accent, which place both employees and customers front and centre of all that we do, making this a great cultural fit.”

Accent was turning over £350,000, taking Latcham’s combined turnover up to around £12m.

Separately, in September Latcham Direct took on a new iSaddle Pro from Duplo.

“We already had one and we use it to produce really high quality personalised booklets for membership, policies and contracts for different customers; that particular type of product is growing very quickly for us. It’s a very solid machine, so we were delighted to get another one.

“As well as being a really decent quality bookletmaker, the machine has in-line barcode scanning so we can read every single page and then work with variable page books. They are data driven, highly personalised and there could be variable pagination within them, so it’s very important that we manage that.”

Hughes said the company had invested around £1m to date this year on new kit and the acquisition of Accent. It is planning further kit investment and will also look at additional acquisitions in the coming years.

“We’re rapidly growing and looking at additional capacity and technology. We’re really ambitious for the future but want to make sure we get that balance between delivering great service for our customers and making sure we’ve got the right capacity and technology in place to match the growth.”

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