Precision Printing acquires majority stake in First2Print

Simon Nias
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Precision Printing has acquired a controlling stake in North East-based trade printer First2Print and launched a digital wallcovering joint venture as it looks to expand into wide-format and trade web-to-print.

Peeling
Peeling

First2Print has a turnover of £1.7m and employs 20 staff at its Sunderland facility, which houses a Presstek 52DI-AC press, Durst, HP and Kongsberg wide-format equipment and Konica Minolta digital printers.

Following completion of the deal yesterday (17 November) Precision has announced a major capex programme designed to expand First2Print's wide-format and digital capacity and to branch out into digital wallcoverings.

This includes taking on a neighbouring unit to double the factory size to 1,300sqm, installation of a new HP Indigo 7500 digital press; and an as yet unconfirmed investment in new wide-format print equipment.

The two print businesses will also launch a new joint venture, yourwalls.com, alongside First2Print's existing trade print portal, wherethetradebuys.com, which will be re-launched with an expanded product range to reflect Precision's digital print capability, including its B2 HP Indigo 10000.

Gary Peeling, chief executive of Precision Printing, said: "First2Print have been very successful and are operating in two key strategic markets we have been looking to move into for some time: wide-format printing and online (upload and print) as well as the new disruptive wall art offering."

This will be powered by the HP WallArt cloud-based digital wallcovering design and production tool, which will be integrated with First2Print's workflow.

First2Print managing director Martyn Young said: "We'll be the first company in the UK to fully integrate the HP WallArt design tool, which will output JDFs direct to our Caldera workflow."

Young added: "Yourwalls.com is the first of a number of disruptive launches planned; it will allow consumers, interior designers and brands to create and print wallcoverings on-demand."

First2Print will also switch over to Precision Printing's Oneflow workflow for its on-demand digital print but retain Caldera for its wide-format work (as this is not supported by Oneflow).

Peeling said: "First2Print's expertise will allow us to provide a market leading wide-format and display solution to our existing clients from day one with no learning curve. Our automated print-on-demand capability will be used to support the growth of wherethetradebuys.com.

"Development of this business will allow better utilisation of our facilities all year round without any conflict with our existing integrated B2B2C customers."

Commenting on the capital investment plan, Young said: "We're currently looking to invest in new roll-to-roll and flatbed wide-format print equipment in the 3m-plus range - we're looking at a wide range of machines including the new 3.2m HP Latex. We've already got a Durst Omega 2 and a 2.6m–wide HP Latex 610 as well as a Kongsberg XP 3.2m cutting table.

"We'll be moving into the neighbouring unit and start adding the additional kit, including the new HP Indigo 7500, in Q1. That will allow us to provide a wider range of products and to a higher quality – things like short-run perfect bound books and bespoke work. It will also allow us to alleviate some of the work - any run lengths up to 500 - off of the Presstek."

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