Bradley Group returns to M&A trail

By Max Goldbart, Monday 03 July 2017

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Rapidly expanding Bradley Group has made its second acquisition in six months, with a deal for Northern Irish commercial printer Nicholson Bass.

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Bradley (back right with some of the Quinns team) said Nicholson Bass had been printing "longer than McDonald's have been making burgers"

The purchase of the circa-80-year-old Newtownabbey, County Antrim printer completed around two weeks ago. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bradley Group managing director Peter Bradley said the two firms had been in talks since last December.

The purchase of Nicholson Bass follows Bradley Group's January purchase of Isle of Man-based commercial printer Mannin Group.   

Bradley said: “They’re [Nicholson Bass] in that higher-end market, lots of fine art books, they’ve won lots of awards and have some really good stuff in there, plus big contacts within the printing world in terms of good blue-chip clients and some government work here in Northern Ireland.”

Nicholson Bass mainly produces catalogues, fine art work and booklets. Established in 1938, it runs two B1 litho machines, a four-colour KBA and a 10-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster, along with a range of finishing equipment, and also provides mailing and fulfilment services. 

It will maintain its branding and all 22 staff at the £3.5m-turnover outfit will be staying on, including former managing director Johnny Megarry, who is now sales director. 

Bradley is looking to take advantage of Nicholson’s local client base but it will also be helping it expand into the London fine art market by printing some of its jobs at its newly opened 2,460sqm Liverpool facility, which is equipped with a Drupa-purchased Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106-8-P LE-UV press

“Being part of a group rather than being on their own they will be able to compete,” added Bradley.

“They were being left behind a bit and we want to push them to get them back to being the force they were. The brand is still there, it’s very well respected and they’ve been printing longer than McDonald’s have been making burgers.”

Bradley Group, which since the acquisition has around 125 staff, was formed late last year and is now comprised of Quinnstheprinters, Mannin Group, Nicholson Bass and software development arm Quinnsdevelopment. The acquisition will aid £13m-turnover Bradley’s attempt to reach £15m sales by the end of this year, and its ambitious target to hit £20m by the end of next year.

Bradley didn’t rule out the possibility of more acquisitions before the year is out.

He added: “We’re looking at lots of different brands, we like people with good locations and may be looking at the South East next, some good stuff there, but also the main thing is for us not to interfere with each other.

“It’s important for us to make sure that the likes of Nicholson Bass are not selling in a market that our resellers are selling in. The main brand in the group is still Quinnstheprinters.com and we want to make sure we don’t cross-sell.”

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