Precision Proco acquires fine art specialist WKG

Richard Stuart-Turner
Monday, November 30, 2020

Precision Proco Group has acquired WKG Print, formerly Witherbys, as it continues its plans for growth.

Greene: "I am excited to share all the new possibilities with our clients"
Greene: "I am excited to share all the new possibilities with our clients"

The acquisition, which was completed earlier this month, brings a high quality fine art specialist into the group which was formed in August following a merger between Sunderland and Dagenham operation Precision Printing, Sheffield-based ProCo and Nottingham’s Prime Group.

Set up in 1740, WKG has been based at Fountayne Road, North London and serves many of the capital’s prestigious and iconic brands including financial companies, museums, galleries and auction houses.

Precision Proco Group chief operating officer Jon Bailey told Printweek: “You have to look at every opportunity, and while this may appear to be a bit different than what you’d expect from us, actually they have some fantastic brands and clients and a fantastic reputation – all the things you need to build a foundation on.

“I think they have a lot of opportunity to overlay Precision Proco Group’s technology play to really modernise and revolutionise some of the things that they’re doing with their customers.

“And I think moving forward we have to explore everything, so whether that’s acquisitions, partnerships or strategic growth, they all have to play a part.”

As part of the deal, Precision Proco Group has taken on 10 members of the WKG team and the key assets of the £3m-turnover business, including a Heidelberg Speedmaster litho press and various finishing kit.

WKG had employed 35 staff in 2018, but it had been making redundancies before Precision Proco Group had entered the frame, while other staff had retired.

“[WKG] had a lot of change due to Covid, as lots of businesses did, and lots of different people having different requirements of where they were in their careers,” said Bailey.

“The 10 that have come across are the 10 key members that WKG felt were part of the business to move forward with.”

WKG Print will continue to trade under the same name, albeit Bailey explained that Precision Proco Group will be “bringing them into the family properly so that they can benefit from all of the other value-added services across the group”.

WKG’s London site was not part of the deal and the 10 retained staff will move across to Precision Proco Group’s Dagenham facility, including managing director James Greene who will remain in charge of the business.

“We’ve known the business for some time, they’re well respected and well known within the London market and the market they are in,” said Bailey.

“They’ve always had our respect and through conversations with James we saw the opportunity and it worked out that it was going to be a good opportunity for both parties.

“So we explored it, it fit well, the cultures really fit, and they have a really good bunch of people who know their stuff – the knowledge is fantastic and in this day and age any knowledge that you can keep and attain is really key.”

Greene added: “Our vision has always been to combine experience and tradition with the latest technology to provide our clients with not only the highest quality print, but also to enable them to access new markets and a changing customer base.

“Precision Proco Group is led by a highly experienced and passionate team of individuals who have brought together award-winning businesses at the forefront of print technology and innovation. I am excited to share all the new possibilities with our clients.”

Precision Proco Group also includes online print business Where The Trade Buys and digital marketing and e-commerce platform developer Climb.

The addition of WKG has boosted the group’s turnover close to the £50m mark – in September the now circa-370 staff operation had spoken about its ambitions to nudge £100m sales in three years.

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