Papico acquires Peggs and HH Pegg

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, February 19, 2021

Castleford-based paper agent Papico has acquired Southampton agent Peggs and its wholly owned subsidiary HH Pegg.

Johnston-Knight: "This is effectively a stabilising and sustainability move"
Johnston-Knight: "This is effectively a stabilising and sustainability move"

Papico managing director Paul Johnston-Knight bought one-man operation Peggs from its former shareholders, including former managing director Keith Spiers, in a deal that was completed last Monday (8 February).

Spiers has joined Papico’s board as a director, taking the company’s headcount to eight. He will remain based in Southampton and the Peggs and HH Pegg names and branding will be retained.

“This concludes a journey over the last couple of years where we have been working more closely with fellow paper agent, Keith Spiers, to take advantage of our complementary locations, supply base and product portfolios,” said Johnston-Knight.

“We began working actively together a year ago, just before the coronavirus pandemic struck the UK. This timing seemed challenging at first but has actually proved what a beneficial partnership this will be.

“I am delighted to welcome Keith onto the Papico board as a director – I look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship following this announcement.”

He said that since initiating their collaboration, Papico and Peggs have been able to further grow sales for both sets of existing mills they serve – largely central European – and have widened the scope of their respective offering to customers.

As it was such a lean operation, Papico said it soon became clear that bringing the Peggs brand and mills within the Papico parent company would be “the most sensible course of action”.

The two companies have been able to reduce costs and increase sales by coming together, while also attracting two new papermill partnerships to widen the portfolio during 2020.

Papico said the deal strengthens and expands its already significant reach across the UK and Ireland and deepens contact with customers – both distributors and convertors – as well as widening the offering which it can make to papermills looking to access these markets – especially post-Brexit.

“I think this is effectively a stabilising and sustainability move,” Johnston-Knight told Printweek.

“These are agency sales, so we’re not making the significant margins that distributors make, and what we’re doing here is ensuring these businesses can survive into the future.”

Papico can now offer a wide range of high-quality products from sustainable international suppliers to merchants and direct customers throughout the UK and Irish markets.

Representing more than a dozen independent papermills, it is heavily involved in the paper packaging sector, particularly for food and FMCG, as well as more traditional graphical and speciality print substrates.

The company turns over between £3m and £5m annually, depending on trade, and Johnston-Knight said it is hoping to expand during 2021, possibly taking on one or two new people by the end of the year.

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