Scottish trade finishers sign joint venture

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Two Scottish trade finishers have signed a joint venture that will involve passing certain jobs to the other with the aim of enhancing business for both.

ACA offers around 70 different finishing processes
ACA offers around 70 different finishing processes

Following an agreement that has been informally in place for over a month already, but was officially signed last Thursday (8 July), 72-staff Glasgow-based ACA will now pass saddle-stitching, binding, and pharmaceutical folding work to Edinburgh business Taskforce, which employs 28 staff.

In return, Taskforce will place work with ACA that needs enhancing services including UV varnishing and foiling.

Describing the venture as “an arm’s length commercial arrangement”, ACA director Anton Kaszubowski told Printweek: “We’ve been in discussions with Alex [Porteous, managing director] at Taskforce for several weeks about this.

“A strategic partnership made sense for both companies considering the focus that ACA has going forwards, which is slightly changed from its historic focus, really to take advantage of and meet customer and market demand.

“That suited Alex well for the way that his business was set up, and it was kind of a no-brainer for both parties, we felt there was a lot of common ground and there was a desire to move forward.”

ACA director Dara Changiz added: “We are now going to concentrate more on the packaging side and are investing in more equipment to facilitate that. So we will help Alex out with the packaging and he will help us out with the bindery side of it.

“We still have a strong base of commercial printers working with us and we will continue to offer many specialist finishes, not least laminating, coating and varnishing, embossing and debossing and wire-o binding.

“However, it makes sense for us to use Taskforce for the stitching and binding work. We are just 60 miles apart and, with our own fleet of vehicles, we can collect or deliver quickly and speedily.”

Porteous told Printweek: “Our future investment was probably going to err towards packaging also, but after discussions with Dara and Anton at ACA we decided to reinvest in finishing.

“The idea is that we can fortify ourselves and spread some business between each other, and hopefully we’ll both grow with it.”

Taskforce installed a 12-station Muller Martini Pantera binder around six weeks ago. It had previously been running two hand-fed Amigo binders from Muller Martini, one of which has been part-exchanged while the other, newer model has been retained for short-run digital work.

“This brings us back to inline binding; it gathers, binds, and trims in one pass. It also enables us to do A4 landscape, which we couldn’t do previously, and PUR as well,” said Porteous.

Both companies will remain entirely financially independent and there is no transfer of equipment or expectation of a future buyout or merger.

They have also agreed that both will ultimately be responsible to their customers to ensure the quality and delivery is right. Customers are expected to gain from a wider portfolio of services, but with no change in established communications and service levels.

ACA, which was founded in the 1980s, has recently purchased its first Heidelberg B1 die-cutter with stripping. This followed the February install of a Serviform LineA die-making bender machine, the first of its kind in the UK. The company offers around 70 different finishing processes.

Taskforce was set up in 1990 and offers machine and hand finishing services as well as mailing and distribution. It serves predominantly customers in Scotland but with some clients in England and Northern Ireland.

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