Paragon sales to top €700m following latest buy

Paragon Group has swooped to make its second major acquisition within the space of a fortnight with the takeover of the £14m turnover Imprimus business.

The buy follows hot on the heels of last month’s purchase of the St Ives Management Services operation and propels Paragon’s overall group turnover to more than €700m (£620m).

Imprimus, formerly Stralfors UK, had been owned by private equity firm Aurelius since the latter part of 2016. The firm specialises in direct mail, regulatory communications and transactional print, along with related services including digital document management, for clients including Southern Water, Avis Budget EMEA, and Hargreaves Lansdown.

In its most recent accounts, for the year to 31 December 2016, the firm posted sales down 9% to £14.9m, but pushed up gross profits by 7% to just over £5m through targeting higher-margin business.

The company will become part of the Paragon Customer Communications business headed by chief executive Jeremy Walters, and will result in sales at that part of the business topping £250m.

The deal was co-ordinated by John Rogers, vice president of corporate development at Paragon Group, who praised the “talented and experienced” team at Imprimus, and the firm’s strong relationships with its customers.

“We are delighted to have acquired a talented, experienced team from Imprimus, along with an excellent client base and a diverse portfolio of products and services, which will further enhance the wide range of solutions we offer our customers,” he said.

Imprimus employs 90 staff and operates from two sites: Dartford which houses its development team and customer services operation, and its main production site in Redruth.

The firm runs a raft of equipment and software from Canon, Ricoh, Riso, Kern, Neopost and Quadient.

“Imprimus has been on Paragon’s radar for a number of years, since the Stralfors days, as a well-regarded business with a long heritage and a great attitude towards customers,” Walters told PrintWeek.

“They are a really good fit with our business and there is not much crossover in customers. They’ve been doing a great job building their own sales and we can accelerate that with the success we’re currently seeing in the market.”

The business will be rebranded as Paragon Customer Communications. Managing director Tony Plummer remains with the business. 

“We are experienced in integrating businesses swiftly and efficiently, and that starts today. It’s good for our people, and it’s good for customers,” Walters added.

Paragon Customer Communications now has 16 sites across the UK. Walters described the firm's infrastructure as "unrivalled, in an increasingly regulated world" for the production of fast-turnaround transactional and regulatory communications.

The terms of the deal were undisclosed. Paragon raised €89m in a bond issue earlier this year to fund the ambitious expansion plans of chief executive Paddy Crean, whose appetite for M&A shows no sign of slowing as he propels Paragon towards becoming a €1bn business.

The Imprimus deal is the group’s fourth buy this year.


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