Grafenia relocates large-format ops

By Max Goldbart, Monday 06 November 2017

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Grafenia has relocated its large-format operation from its Manchester litho hub to the Manchester sign hub it acquired earlier this year.

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Gunning: "Margins on traditional print continue to tighten"

Delivering the announcement at the publication of its half-year interim results, Grafenia chief executive Peter Gunning also revealed to PrintWeek that the group had invested £170,000 in a second D-Gen Teleios Grande G5 textile printer, which went into the litho hub last week.

Two staff along with a number of HP Latex machines and wide-format finishing kit have been relocated to the 41-staff 5,600sqm premises of Image Everything, which it acquired earlier this year for around £3m, its second 2017 signage acquisition after Liverpool-based ADD Signs in January. The kit joins two EFI Vuteks, two Zünd cutters and a number of other Latex machines.

“We are pleased with the response and the acquisition was a good fit in terms of culture,” said Gunning.

“With the timeline we have seven steps to full integration and the nirvana is that one of our partners can sell a custom expo system and get some margin. 

“We now want to focus on rigid substrates and vinyl graphics, productising them and making them automated, facilitate online booking of window graphic installation and we are testing a vehicle graphic online booking and pricing system.” 

When questioned on the possibility of more acquisitions in the sector, Gunning said that he was “looking at different businesses all the time”.

The 3.3m-wide eight-colour Teleios Grande, Grafenia’s second, comes in as the group highlighted 75% revenue growth in fabric display printing. Printing at up to 300sqm/hr in 600dpi mode it can reach 2,400dpi resolution and uses Ricoh Gen5 industrial printheads.

Gunning added: “This is still a fast growing part of the market for us, we’re getting a lot of uptake on exhibition booths and stands, better than what was previously available. We expect continued growth and a part of the other reason for regional and local shows is that this stuff needs to be seen in person.” 

In its interim results for the six months to 30 September 2017, Grafenia posted a like-for-like sales increase of 31.1% over last year’s figure, from £5.14m to £6.74m, in part due to the acquisitions, with an operating loss of £470,000, down 12%, and a pre-tax loss of 19.5% to £490,000. EBITDA also fell slightly to £430,000 and at 30 September 2017 it had net debt of £2.54m and bank borrowings of £230,000. Grafenia posted a £1m loss for its full-year results in March.

Gunning said: “Life is not easy and you can see from the segmentation that we have been moving away from a reliance on trade print, and for the first time revenues have been growing in print to our brand partners. Margins on traditional print continue to tighten but also costs have been going the wrong way in terms of paper and aluminium, all of that has got more expensive.

“We are really trying to position our transactional print away from being at the end of the supply chain and putting us at the front where we can help clients make the selection of products and meet their needs.”

Grafenia also revised its sales forecast down by £100,000 to reflect the costs of establishing its Nettl network in the Netherlands, which took place earlier this year and now comprises 16 partners, with potential to expand into Belgium, Germany and the US in the coming year. It now has a Nettl network in the UK of more than 130 locations.

“We are seeing the future will be in having more meta locations where we can just take care of everything a client needs for brandification, whether that be online, digital, offline or expo,” added Gunning. 

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