Garnett Dickinson sold out of administration

By Jo Francis, Wednesday 25 January 2017

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Nick Alexander has thrown in the towel at Garnett Dickinson and the web offset printer has been sold in a pre-pack deal.

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Garnett Dickinson's Rotherham site. Image: Google Maps

Garnett Dickinson Holdings, Garnett Dickinson Print and GD Direct Solutions were placed into administration with KPMG yesterday (24 January) by the management team.

The pre-pack sale went through the same afternoon and the new owners of Garnett Dickinson Print and GD Direct Solutions (the mailing operation) are Paul Mursell of EWO Media and Jeremy Spring of Aspenlink, who have acquired the operations via a new company, GD Web Offset, which was incorporated on 18 January.

In a statement, joint administrators Jonny Marston and Howard Smith said the deal had secured 125 of 130 jobs at the business.

“The group had experienced cash flow difficulties as a result of operational issues. On appointment to the group, the joint administrators sold substantially all of the trading business and assets to GD Web Offset Limited. There were 130 employees in the group. Five roles were not part of the transaction and have been made redundant,” KPMG said.

Staff at the Rotherham web printer are expecting to hear from Mursell, who is a director at Southend-on-Sea web and sheetfed trade printer EWO Media, today.

Spring, his business partner in the venture, is chief executive at paper merchant and converter Aspenlink, which has facilities in Brentwood, St Albans and Antwerp.

One employee told PrintWeek: “Things are a bit upside down at the moment, we don’t really know what the situation is but we’ve been told that Paul is going to speak to us individually.”

PrintWeek was unable to reach Alexander, Mursell or Spring for comment at the time of writing.

Alexander acquired the Garnett Dickinson group of companies in the spring of 2015, through his vehicle Wagner Investments

At the end of last year the firm parted company with managing director Mark Bennett, and Alexander admitted that the installation of a secondhand 48pp web from the defunct Artisan Press site had proved problematic for the business.

Garnett Dickinson Print runs two 48pp webs and one 16pp model, as well as associated stitching, binding and mailing kit. It produces magazines, catalogues and retail flyers and had sales of £17.2m in 2015. Alexander had attempted to refocus the operation on higher quality work.

Garnett Dickinson Holdings encompassed the Garnett Dickinson Print business as well as its regional newspaper publishing interests, although these were sold to related company Regional Media in 2015.

Garnett Dickinson Holdings had a £10m deficit in its defined benefit pension scheme at the last actuarial valuation in 2013, and showed a £6.2m deficit in its latest accounts, for 2015.

KPMG described the scheme as being “in significant deficit” and said current members of the pension scheme should contact the scheme’s administrator, Conduent, on 0161 827 8846.

Trade creditors have yet to react to the news. 

Alexander also has a stake in Normanton web printer Acorn Web Offset, which is not connected to the Garnett Dickinson companies.  

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