Walstead expands with Spanish buy

By Jo Francis, Monday 04 May 2015

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Wyndeham Group owner Walstead has expanded onto the continent – and into gravure printing – with the acquisition of Be Printers' £100m turnover Spanish operations from Bertelsmann.

mark-scanlon

Scanlon: expecting further consolidation opportunities

Walstead Investments has bought the operations of gravure printer Eurohueco, based in Barcelona, and Madrid web offset printer Rotocobrhi, through affiliate company Walstead Capital.  

Together, the two companies employ 567 staff and had sales last year of €137m (£101.4m). The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Walstead Capital is owned by the same four directors as Walstead Investments: Mark Scanlon, Richard Fookes, Stephen Hargrave and Paul Utting.

Scanlon, who is chairman of both companies, told PrintWeek the acquired companies were well invested, profitable and cash-generative.

“This, undoubtedly, boosts our profile in the European market. Many competitors in the Spanish market are weak, so we expect there will be consolidation opportunities,” he said.

“Spain is a recovering economy - its print market is experiencing the same issues and challenges that we’ve had to tackle since 2008. So, we’re going in to this with our eyes wide open and under no illusions what to expect and how to remain successful.”

Be Printers chief executive Bertram Stausberg said it had been “a key requisite” that the buyer would support and invest in the operations. Be Printers, which also owns Prinovis, sold off its Italian print division last October as part of the same strategic review and has now exited the Italian and Spanish print markets.

“This concludes our portfolio sale process,” Stausberg said. “We will now concentrate fully on developing our Prinovis printing businesses in Germany and the UK as well as our book and packaging printing businesses in the US.”

Rotocobrhi employs 314 staff at its 29,000sqm Madrid facility. It runs two 80pp web offset presses, three 48pp, and three 16pp webs.

Eurohueco is located in a purpose-built 22,000sqm factory near Barcelona. It employs 235 and runs two KBA TR7 and two Cerutti RS35 gravure presses.

The plants produce magazines, flyers, catalogues and supplements.

On the move into gravure, Scanlon said: “Eurohueco manufactures mainly press finished or stitched products for the retail and catalogue markets where volumes are more stable than for publications. Over 50% of its output is exported, most of it to France.

“Geographically and strategically it's in a great spot. We’re not buying into gravure as a technology. Instead, we’ve seen this as an opportunity to acquire a large, blue-chip client base that requires long-run printed products and with few competitors in the region. If, in the future, our clients’ needs can be satisfied with an alternative, more cost-effective manufacturing process, then we will adapt our offering by investing in it.”

Mauro Cosani, the chief executive of the Spanish division, remains in his role.

Scanlon added: “Despite being overseas, we have sufficient management resources here [in the UK] to manage this group. We have an experienced team with excellent skill sets and there is a very well-established executive team in Spain.”

Wyndeham Group chief executive Utting will address the workforce at both plants today, in Spanish.

The deal was supported by Royal Bank of Scotland and almost doubles the size of Walstead’s printing interests. Wyndeham Group had sales of £120m in 2013, prior to the loss of the IPC Media (now Time Inc UK) magazine printing contract.

 

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