Hague continues acquisition strategy with third buy in 2016

By Max Goldbart, Friday 14 October 2016

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Print management firm Hague Print has added to its run of acquisitions this year by purchasing accountancy forms supplier Custom Forms.

hague-and-custom-forms

Wain (front right) with McGoldrick (middle), Hague managing director Graham Wain (front left) and the rest of Custom Forms' staff (back)

The purchase of the Hinckley, Leicestershire-based outfit comes just three months after it acquired Australian security print specialist Foremost, now called Hague Foremost, and around 10 months after buying Staffordshire-based SR Print Management (SRPM) for an undisclosed fee.  

Custom Forms will retain its name and its nine staff but its two silent European Investment Fund (EIF) partners, who invested in 2011, have sold their stakes in the company. Managing director Fergus McGoldrick will stay on but is no longer a part-owner.

Hague director Nathan Wain said that the two firms had been in talks since May. He did not disclose the cost of the acquisition.

He also suggested a fourth acquisition could be on the cards before the end of 2016. 

Wain said: “We were looking to grow the business and want to continue doing that both organically and through acquisitions. A mutual supplier mentioned Custom Forms would be interested and we took it from there.

“We’ve known of Custom Forms for a while but it isn’t really a competitor, which is one of the things we liked; it’s a different sector. It also has an e-commerce platform, which is something we don’t do and we will look at putting some of our stock items onto its site."

Custom Forms currently turns over £1.5m and specialises in supplying original and compatible forms for use with accounting and payroll software packages, such as Iris and Sage.

McGoldrick said: “We think this is a great opportunity to be part of a larger, ambitious group. We had a few parties interested but felt that Hague was the best fit.

“We’ve been in business 22 years and very successfully too but strategically this helps us to target larger customers and gives us a wider customer base.”

Wain said it was currently “early days” in terms of seeing the benefits of the Australian acquisition but that the acquisition of SRPM had gone “really well” and its sales are up 10% on last year.

Hague’s 2015 group turnover was £16m but it expects this to grow to more than £20m by the end of this year.

Last year, it recruited three new staff in order to strengthen its international business. It operates from 2,400sqm headquarters in Normanton, West Yorkshire, and also has a warehouse in Manchester and an office in Cardiff.

It was established in 1980 and now exports to more than 50 countries. Clients include universities, banks, government agencies, retailers and event and leisure organisations. 

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