Paperlinx fall-out will hit printers too

Darryl Danielli
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Throughout this magazine’s almost 60-year history, its hard to imagine that many stories could have had as broad an impact on the UK industry as the demise of Paperlinx.

In many respects it was like watching a car crash in slow motion, but it was no less shocking because of its inevitability.

With industry talk of trucks being repossessed on delivery runs, paper being all but given away to keep cash flowing into the business, an eye-watering pension deficit and the Australian board effectively cutting Europe adrift, with the benefit of hindsight it was clear that the administrators taking charge was the most likely outcome.

However, perhaps because of its scale, right up to the keys being handed over, there was still a sense that the worst-case scenario would be a new buyer stepping in as part of a pre-pack deal that would save at least some of the business.

The loss of almost 700 jobs, and likely a lot more, is terrible news for the affected staff. It’s also bad news for an industry that in recent months had been benefiting from an upsurge in that most fragile of commodities: confidence.

The presses won’t stop rolling though and the industry will, of course, bounce back as the remaining merchants, over time, step up their volumes to ensure that concerns over paper supply will be short lived.

However, as a result of the straitened credit lines caused by Paperlinx’s collapse, it’s likely that the same could be said of a significant number of struggling print businesses.

And the impact on the industry of the loss of those printers over the coming months could end up being the lasting legacy of the collapse of the UK’s largest merchanting group. 

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