Kicked off by former Gateshead FC owners Richard and Julie Bennett with the purchase of Newcastle Print Solutions (NPS) in August 2018, and boosted with the addition of Hartlepool-based Atkinson in January this year, the newly named group now looks set for further growth as the husband and wife team eye their next purchase.
“We have just identified a third acquisition target and we are in the very early stages of that. It is in a similar industry and will complement both businesses if it becomes a reality, although no offer has been made yet,” Richard Bennett explained.
“It’s a North East-based company and considerably larger than the two we have already bought, but in proportion with our plans for growth and investment,” he added.
Atkinson and NPS, which will retain their trading names for the time being, have combined revenues of around £2.5m, Bennett said, and moving forward the pair will be focusing on acquiring print and print-related businesses of around the £1m-£2m revenue mark.
“The printing industry is so vast and diverse, I want to harnass the power of digital and print and align them to provide a full service,” he explained.
Since acquiring the first two companies Bennett has invested in a Xerox Versant to replace an eight-year old Xerox 700 and a Xerox Iridesse six-colour production press, both for NPS, which were installed by Xerographic in January and February respectively. Bennett said he believes the Iridesse, which is enabled with speciality dry ink options of gold, silver, white and clear, is the first to be installed in the North East.
“We thought the Iridesse offered something a little bit different and in particular because one client has a gold logo, and although they prefer litho they were looking for more cost-effective options and the Iridesse has given them that. We also thought this would help us to open up new markets,” he explained.
Bennett said he had looked at other manufacturers such as Ricoh but had gone for Xerox “to give us an edge”. He said supplier Zerographic has played a major part in the process.
“Zerographic put in a huge amount of work to help us secure the deals on the equipment, they worked so well with us to ensure our needs were met. I can’t praise them enough as a supplier,” he said.
Moving forward Bennett intends to maintain the group’s current customer-base whilst expanding into a number of new, related areas such as care homes and local authorities, “to name just a couple”.
“It’s an exciting time. I’m learning fast and I’m really enjoying it, it’s a fascinating industry,” Bennett added.