NPS owners acquire healthcare business in strategic move

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, July 8, 2021

The owners of print and design firm Newcastle Print Solutions Group (NPS) have added a healthcare business to its growing group after its print clients called on the pair to help them source PPE items.

(L-R) RMT’s Cantwell and Swinburne Maddison’s Wilby with Richard and Julie Bennett
(L-R) RMT’s Cantwell and Swinburne Maddison’s Wilby with Richard and Julie Bennett

Richard and Julie Bennett, who were also the founders of Derwentside Environmental Testing and the former owners of Gateshead FC, had been asked by their clients during the coronavirus pandemic to use their knowledge of, and contacts in the scientific sector to source PPE items that were proving difficult to find.

The pair completed their acquisition of Teesside equipment supplier Caremore Services from its retiring directors Peter Moore and David Caley on 1 June.

Caremore provides medical and janitorial products to regional clients in the healthcare and care home sector, as well as a range of other items, including electric profiling beds, shower chairs, medical hoists, lifting slings, pressure reducing and relieving products, and furniture.

Michael Cantwell, head of corporate finance at RMT Accountants and Business Advisors, lead on the acquisition on behalf of the Bennetts, with Alex Wilby, partner at Swinburne Maddison, providing them with legal advice. Craig Malarkey, partner at Tilly Bailey & Irvine, provided legal advice to the vendors.

Richard Bennett described Caremore as “a perfect strategic fit for our business [that] allowed us to formalise our entry into the healthcare sector”.

He told Printweek: “We lost about 70% of our business overnight in the first couple of months of the pandemic. That started to recover from the early summer of last year but to help us through we used some of our previous contacts to source things like PPE to help some of our customers.

“Having some care home customers was massive for us at the time because they also wanted some assistance and asked whether we could fulfil for them at the time, so in helping them it helped us get through.

“But we enjoyed what we did and we didn’t want to change, so this acquisition was really to complement not only the print business but to make it more circular as well – we’ll be looking for our care home customers to not only fall in with the care home supplies but also with the print side.”

Bennett also praised the “excellent support” from the RMT and Swinburne Maddison teams, which he said helped the transaction to progress smoothly.

“And we’re looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunities that we know are ahead of us,” he added.

Caremore’s eight staff will remain based at their current premises, and while the company has become a division within the wider NPS group, its name and branding will be retained for the foreseeable future.

RMT’s Cantwell said: “Richard and Julie know what it takes to build successful businesses, and this latest acquisition will allow them to ally their commercial and scientific knowledge and expertise to great effect.”

Swinburne Maddison’s Wilby added: “Having worked with Richard and Julie for a number of years and on a number of projects, it’s fantastic to have been able to successfully work through a number of tricky issues and to assist in concluding their latest acquisition.”

The now £3.5m-turnover NPS group employs 28 staff in total and also comprises Newcastle Print Solutions and Hartlepool-based Atkinson Print, which were acquired by Richard and Julie Bennett in August 2018 and January 2019 respectively.

In November last year NPS also installed two new Mimaki UV printers – a roll-to-roll machine and a flatbed – that were supplied by Granthams. Local development agency RTC helped the business to secure a Covid grant to cover 50% of the funding for this investment.

Bennett said the new kit had helped the business to increase its control by bringing wide-format jobs such as promotional print in-house.

Also running litho and digital kit in its print divisions, across its three locations the company’s space now totals around 1,500sqm.

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