Grafenia updates market, appoints new chairman

By Jo Francis, Monday 10 April 2017

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Grafenia has reported strong print sales in March in a trading update ahead of its year-end, although it described business as “mixed”.


Marqetspace: record-breaking month in March

The Aim-listed PLC has also appointed existing non-executive director Jan Mohr as its permanent chairman, and is further shrinking the size of its board. Non-executive director Pavel Begun will retire from his position in July, and will not be replaced.

Since the group’s previous chairman Les Wheatley stepped down last summer, the role had rotated between Grafenia’s three non-executive directors. Mohr said the firm would now continue with two non-executives, himself and Conrad Bona, and their remuneration would be reduced by 25%.

Chief executive Peter Gunning thanked Begun for his contribution to the company. He said Mohr’s “challenging insights” had been very valuable to the business in the year since Mohr joined the board. “We look forward to working with him more deeply in his new role as chairman.”

In the update, Grafenia said that transactional print revenues were down year-on-year, but had bounced back in March, “significantly ahead” of the prior year.

"It was strong across the board. I think there were more events and expos in general in March, with the way Easter falls. So it’s possible that there was just more ‘general business activity’," he said.

Online trade printing service Marqetspace “set new records for total revenue, total gross margin, average client order value and spend, and the number of new clients placing their first order” in March. Sales of its ink-on-fabric range jumped by 40% last month. Grafenia has also more than doubled the number of Nettl studios, to 108.

Its new Nettl Now same day print and delivery service began operating last month.

The group had already warned on profits at the end of February. It said EBITDA would be in line with the revised expectations, but a £150,000 increase in amortisation charges would impact the expected EBIT. The firm has decided to revise the useful economic life of software and capitalised development to three years, rather than five.

Mohr said: “A lot of things are in flux at Grafenia, but change is leading towards a simpler, more focused business model centred on our brand partners.  Every transformation comes with risks and uncertainty, however my belief in the future of Grafenia is founded on the embedded quality of the team, their hard work and relentless drive to exceed our customers' expectations.”

The group will announce its year-end results in June. 

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