Premier expands with specialist packaging buy

Jo Francis
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Premier Paper Group has acquired a specialist packaging and retail display supplier that began life with a £5,000 loan from the Prince’s Trust and now has sales of nearly £20m.

WBC's range includes a wide range of products for the festive season
WBC's range includes a wide range of products for the festive season

WBC (formerly the Wine Box Company) began life in 1989 and has grown into an £18m turnover business with 55 employees. 

The founders used the Prince’s Trust loan to buy a van and design some wine packaging, and started trading.

WBC now lays claim to being the leading trade supplier of packaging, display and fabric bags to the specialist drink and food market in the UK and Ireland. It has a warehouse in Crawley with its head office and showroom located in Herne Hill, south London. 

WBC chairman Andrew Wilson said that being part of Premier would open up many opportunities for WBC’s customers and employees. 

“Our core values have always guided how WBC operates and interacts with all of its customers, suppliers and employees; it was vital for me that the legacy, of a business driven by its values, continues with any new owners. I strongly believe that both companies share similar values and the WBC legacy will flourish under Premier’s stewardship.”

Premier Paper Group CEO Michael Beever said he was delighted at the latest buy, which follows Premier’s purchase of lamination films specialist Zulu Packaging over the summer. 

“The acquisition of WBC is an important next step for Premier as we continue to complement our traditional paper merchant business with expansion into added value sectors,” he said. 

“Although the businesses sell to very different market sectors, many of the same values are common to both organisations. Having WBC as part of our group will open up many opportunities for all parts of the company to develop product and service offerings through the sharing of knowledge and expertise.”

WBC’s product range spans drinks packaging such as bottle bags, carriers and boxes; gift packaging including hampers; fabric bags; and retail display items and furniture. 

It will continue to trade under its established brand and all employees and the management team will be retained. 

Premier Paper Group had sales of £187m last year. The business is part of the OVOL Japan Pulp & Paper Group, which acquired Premier in the summer of 2019.

The terms of the buy were not disclosed. Wilson and WBC managing director Tim Wilkinson had been the majority shareholders. 

Wilkinson commented: “The additional resources, logistics support and expertise provided by Premier will allow us to expand and improve our service and product choice to customers. Being part of a global company also gives both our customers and suppliers confidence and reassurance in these unpredictable times.”

 

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