Royal Mail set to hand massive PM deal to St Ives, say sources

By Josh Brooks, Wednesday 19 September 2007

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St Ives is understood to be on the verge of signing its first big-ticket print management contract after it emerged as the front-runner in Royal Mails huge print tender.

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It is understood that Royal Mail has begun due diligence at St Ives in preparation for handing it the contract, which has been out to tender since last December, when its value was estimated at £400m .

The exact value of the deal is not yet known, although the contract, initially planned to last for four years, is believed to be worth several tens of millions less than the original estimated figure.

Speculation over the appointment of St Ives comes as a surprise given the firm’s relative lack of experience in the print management sector, despite its extensive manufacturing capabilities.

However, Royal Mail is thought to have been drawn to St Ives by its Group Sales initiative, which was launch­ed in 2006 by managing director of UK sales Simon Ward. Ward declined to comment on the tender when contacted by PrintWeek.

A spokesman for Royal Mail also declined to comment until contractual arrangements had been finalised.

Competitors for the deal are understood to have included most of the top names in print management, including RR Donnelley Global Document Services and Xerox Global Services, which had been seen as likely winners, as well as Com­munisis, HH Associates and TPF Group.

Williams Lea is understood not to have entered the tender due to a potential conflict of interest due to it being owned by German postal operation Deutsche Post.

One print management expert warned, though, that no firm decision had been taken, saying: “It’s an extremely complex process and there is a way to go. There could be changes yet.”

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