Pollard Boxes acquires Clarke Rubicon after 24-year wait

By Max Goldbart, Monday 04 July 2016

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Leicester-based rigid box specialist Pollard Boxes has bought local rival Clarke Rubicon.


Pollard had been MD for just a year when the company first tried to acquire Clarke Rubicon

The deal went through on 13 June, after approximately 15 months of negotiation. However, Pollard Boxes managing director Mark Pollard said his company had been looking to acquire Clarke Rubicon for a number of years, having first tried in 1992.

Pollard said: “The owners were looking at potential ways of either selling the business or doing something with it. They’ve known for many years that we were very keen on buying them.

“It’s been very smooth. We’ve known the owners for many years and even though we’ve been competing for the same the work in the same marketplace, we’ve always been quite friendly. There were no issues to overcome at all other than trying to find a price that worked for us both.”

The deal takes Pollard's combined turnover to approximately £20m, with its current turnover being £15m and Clarke’s being £5m. It is aiming for £25m turnover within the next three years. 

When Pollard first tried to buy Clarke in 1992, its turnover was £1m compared to Clarke’s £2m.

Pollard stressed that the purchase is a strategic bolt-on acquisition, Clarke Rubicon will continue trading under its name and will retain its premises in Coalville, Leicestershire and there are no plans to change staffing levels.

He said: “Clarke is an old company so the name is known around the trade. There is little point in trying to rebrand it, it’s got a good name and it’s one we want to keep.

“We have one or two more capabilities over and above what Clarke has, but that will help them. One of the great things about the deal is that we only share two clients so it’s a completely new set of clients.”

Some of Pollard’s main clients include GHD Hair, William Grant & Sons and Warner Bros. Clarke’s clients include Williams Lea and Games Workshop.

According to Pollard, who has been managing director of the family-run firm for 25 years, combining the two businesses makes it the largest rigid box specialist in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

Pollard last acquired a business in 2009, when it bought local finishing specialist Crusader. It made a number of small acquisitions in the 2000s, but this is the largest since Pollard became managing director.

Combined total of staff for the businesses is now 305, Pollard has 220 and Clarke has 85.

Its 9,300sqm premises house 13 Emmeci boxmaking machines. Clarke's premises are 3,300sqm in size.

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