Review of 2019: Paragon – to €1bn turnover and beyond

This was a pivotal year for Paragon Group and its CEO Paddy Crean, with a series of deals that would propel sales beyond his €1bn turnover goal.

A pivotal year for Paragon
A pivotal year for Paragon

January With the ink barely dry on the deal sealed in December 2018 to buy Magenta Print & Display, Debenhams’ in-plant retail graphics business, Paragon swoops on the struggling Service Graphics business and buys the trade and assets of two sites: Skelmersdale and Glasgow, as well as the name. Service Graphics had been subject to an accelerated sale process less than a year after St Ives sold its large-format businesses to investment firm SelmerBridge.

May Another stricken print company, another buy for Paragon. It snaps up the order book and customer base of direct mail specialist Howard Hunt (City), along with three other parts of the group: data business Celerity Information Services, digital strategy firm ORM and print management operation Graft Services. Together the three businesses had sales of around £30m. The total consideration is more than £9m.

October Paragon’s biggest deal yet and the one that sends sales soaring past €1bn. Buys RR Donnelley’s £210m-turnover European Global Document Solutions business for $42.3m, or just under £30m. The acquired operation has become part of Paragon Customer Communications. Paragon and RRD have also entered into a strategic alliance.

November Just a week after the RRD deal, comes expansion for specialist wing Paragon ID. It buys Essex-based payment and loyalty card specialist Thames Technology, which has sales of around £20m.

December No acquisition deals (at least at the time of writing…) but Paddy Crean tops Printweek’s Power 100 poll for the second year running.

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