The company is acquiring €225m (£182m) turnover Austrian-headquartered group Leykam Let’s Print.
Let’s Print has its HQ in Neudorfl, where it also has a production facility. Its three other factories are located at Mullendorf, also in Austria, Leykam Tiskarna at Hoce in Slovenia and Moraviapress at Breclav in the Czech Republic. It also has a fledgling digital media business, Amano Media.
The group runs 18 web offset presses ranging from 16pp to 80pp format. It also has a coldset newspaper press and sheetfed kit, as well as significant bindery facilities. It says it "plays in the Champions League" as one of the top three printers in Europe.
Walstead has formed a new company, Walstead CE, to make the acquisition. Chairman Mark Scanlon said the group intended to create a new group holding company encompassing its print interests in the UK, Spain, Austria, and elsewhere on the continent, and had ambitions to add more.
“We want to create the largest European printing platform for the high volume production of flyers, magazines and catalogues. The combination of Walstead and Leykam Let’s Print has moved us much closer to this objective,” he stated.
Scanlon said Leykam Let’s Print would act as a “hub” for further expansion in central and Eastern Europe.
“We're being seen as the go-to-guys for European consolidation,” he added, and said Benelux and Germany were also on the group’s radar.
Leykam Let's Print locations (in yellow)
The core business of Leykam Let’s Print is the production of brochures and flyers for blue-chip clients including retailers.
“That was one of the reasons we were attracted to it. It’s a good market to be in and a true European-wide market,” Scanlon said.
Let's Print also prints magazines, catalogues and newspapers.
Walstead is acquiring 100% of the business, but the deal requires approval from anti-trust authorities that is expected to take around four weeks. Until then the firms will continue to operate as normal until completion.
Leykam Let’s Print is owned by Leykam Medien, Erste Bank Group, and private shareholders. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. In 2014 the print group made EBITDA of €16m on sales of just under €232m.
Leykam Medien’s office supplies business Leykam Alpina, is not part of the deal.
Anton Schubaschitz, chairman of the Let’s Print supervisory board, said he believed consolidation of the European printing market would continue. “This requires larger entities that can provide high volume and quality printing across multiple territories. With Leykam Let's Print being part of a larger European group will ensure it will continue to grow.”
When the deal is completed the Let’s Print executive management will report to Wyndeham Group chief executive Paul Utting, who is also chief executive of Walstead.
The deal follows last year’s purchase of Bertelsmann’s Spanish web and gravure businesses and will result in Walstead owning a group of businesses with turnover of around €490m, with 11 print sites in five countries and employing circa 2,030 staff.
Scanlon said he believed it would make the business the biggest British-owned printing group, with production firepower encompassing 37 heatset web presses, four gravure presses, and 38 binding and stitching lines.