Reflex expands further with Kingsway buy


Reflex Group has signalled its intentions of a busy M&A year ahead with the purchase of Grimsby-based Kingsway Printers.

Comprising 40 staff and with sales of over £4.6m in 2017, label printer Kingsway has become the latest addition to acquisitive Reflex’s portfolio of UK label and packaging businesses and will expand its presence in the Grimsby and Hull areas.

Family run Kingsway was started by Jim and Mary Pullan in 1972, more recently the business was run by their son, managing director Richard Pullan.

Pullan and his fellow directors have stepped aside as part of the deal, which completed on 19 January, and the company will be rebranded Reflex Kingsway.

“We have cultivated over the years a reputation as the buyer of first choice for family companies,” said Reflex chief executive Ian Kendall.

“We looked at Kingsway to see what we could do and saw a real opportunity to help this business and our group grow. It has an excellent geographic location, two extra digital presses for us to work off and, importantly, an excellent team of people.

“As quickly as possible, we will be looking to double Kingsway’s turnover while also investing to improve facilities for staff onsite, such as the layout of the factory floor and the canteen areas. We will also be reviewing equipment to see if there’s anything to be added.”

Kingsway currently runs two HP Indigo WS 6800 digital presses.

York and Leeds-based accountants Garbutt & Elliott served as advisors to Kingsway’s shareholders on the deal, and described the move as an “exciting new chapter” for the firm.

Richard Pullan added that over the past 45 years the family had built a "strong and unique business", but that the directors felt that the time was right to "pass this on to a group that can retain the character of Kingsway while taking it to the next stage in its growth".

“I have been in the printing industry for my entire working life and I think now is the right time to move on and try something different," said Pullan.

This latest acquisition follows Reflex's deal to buy in-mould specialist West Yorkshire Printing Company (WyPrint) in August last year. In 2017 Reflex also invested upwards of £9m on kit upgrades across its label division.

Reflex has grown, since its inception in 2002, to an entity covering 16 sites in the UK employing more than 600 staff, with its remit including labels and flexible packaging. Its 2018 sales are forecast to exceed £100m. 

According to Kendall, the group will continue apace with its acquisition initiative, with an aim to acquire two more companies before the first quarter of 2018 ends.

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