Does Wyndeham's pain hint at a possible sale?

Darryl Danielli
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Well, it looks like another bad news week for Wyndeham.

The £146m-turnover group is still in the midst of some very painful restructuring, the latest salvo of which is the proposed closure of both of its twinned sheetfed operations based in Luton; Blacketts and Westway (see p3).

All of this, a little over a year after it merged the two operations and some 20 months after it paid £5m for large-format specialist Blacketts.

By my reckoning, this latest closure will bring the number of jobs that the firm has shed in the past 12 months to around 350 or 20% of its workforce.

There’s no doubt that, although clearly this is awful news for the affected staff, Wyndeham will be a leaner and fitter operation post-restucture. But what does the future hold for the firm?

Around the time that 365 (the media group born out of Dagsbrún) sold a 64% stake in the UK print group to Icelandic-based investment house FL Group and Landsbanki, a few City insiders speculated that the new owners wouldn’t necessarily be in for the long haul. Instead, they wondered if the new owners would be looking for a relatively fast turnaround and sale of their investment? Of course, this is all just conjecture and I guess only time will tell if the restructure is being driven by a larger plan. Wyndeham isn’t the only large UK print group grabbing the headlines this week.

St Ives has released its first-half results, which showed that pre-tax profits dipped even though turnover rose.

However, one of the most interesting statistics was buried in the report’s notes: namely that its defence of the Tangent bid last year cost the firm £750,000.

Little wonder that St Ives’ board seemed to treat the audacious bid with such disdain.

Darryl Danielli is editor of PrintWeek.


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