Adare boosts multi-site offering with Applied Solutions buy

By Jo Francis, Friday 22 July 2016

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Adare has made its second acquisition in the space of 10 weeks and is now the new owner of Polestar Applied Solutions (PAS).

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Whiteside: plans to make further investment at latest buy

Nottinghamshire-based PAS was not one of the Polestar businesses that went into administration in April, but had been up-for-sale since. Adare had been tipped as a potential buyer for the business.

The deal completed yesterday (21 July) and was supported by Endless, the private equity firm that backed last year's MBO at Adare, and by the group's banker HSBC. 

“We’d admired Polestar Applied Solutions from afar, and events at Polestar made it all possible,” said Adare chief executive Robert Whiteside.

“It’s a fantastic plant with great technology and capabilities that is well-managed, well-run, and well-invested, with great people and customers. And whereas Applied Solutions wasn’t core to the larger Polestar group, it is very much strategically core for Adare.”

Adare has bought the entire trade and assets of £15m turnover PAS from Polestar owner Proventus Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. However, a £3.6m inter-company loan made by Polestar UK Print to PAS was repayable upon the sale of the business. PAS was described as “profitable”.

“This was not a distressed asset. We have paid full market value,” Whiteside added.

The buy comes hot on the heels of Adare’s acquisition of £60m turnover Banner Managed Communication in May, and propels Adare’s total sales to almost £250m.

Endless co-founder and partner Darren Forshaw said the private equity house would continue to back Adare's ambitious growth plans. "It's a measure of the focus and energy of Robert and his team that they're already eyeing further targets," he said.

PAS becomes part of Adare’s Secure & Essential Communications division, which is now a circa £90m operation running across four sites: Huddersfield, Redditch, Guildford and the PAS site in Annesley, Nottinghamshire.

Whiteside said that PAS brought complementary products and services to the Adare offering, and also enhanced the group’s disaster recovery options.

“We truly believe we have a market-leading offering to take to the marketplace with a lot of firepower and scale. It’s not just what PAS is today, but what the combined Adare entity will be," he said.

PAS currently employs circa 100 staff at its 5,100sqm facility and will continue to be run by managing director Geoff Mordt, reporting to Adare SEC divisional managing director Barry Crich.

Whiteside said Adare planned to invest in people and technology for the site, which currently runs eight high-speed Canon Océ digital printing lines including a JetStream and a ColorStream, as well as a Xerox J75 and Riso ComColor. It also has an array of associated post-press facilities including Pitney Bowes, CMC, Tecnau and Hunkeler kit.

The business produces a range of multi-channel solutions including highly personalised direct mail, regulatory mailings, and transactional print for a blue-chip customer base.

“There will be no redundancies, in fact the opposite. We will be investing in people and looking at more volume, more contracts and organic growth,” Whiteside stated.  

PAS will be renamed Adare SEC (Nottingham).

Whiteside also said that the group remains on the look-out for additional strategic, bolt-on acquisitions including potential international deals, but ruled out a bid for up-for-sale DST UK.

“That particular business is not aligned with our strategy and we are not looking at it,” he said.

The Adare Group now employs around 1,100 staff across all its operations, with 525 (plus a further 125 temporary workers) at SEC and the remaining 575 at Adare International.

The sale of PAS means that customer publisher River Group is the last business to remain up-for-sale following Proventus Capital Partners’ ill-fated foray into UK printing and publishing.

 

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