MBO at TJ International

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Friday 05 January 2018

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Book manufacturer TJ International has completed a management buyout led by Andy Watts.

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TJ International was founded in 1969

Watts has 30 years’ experience in the print industry, which includes senior positions at St Ives Roche, CPI Books and The Sherwood Group, which he was appointed managing director of in September 2017.

135-staff Padstow, Cornwall-based TJ International was founded in 1969 and has reportedly grown its turnover to more than £13.5m during 2017 from £12.1m the year before.

The company said the move ensures ownership remains in management’s hands, providing continuity for its customers, employees and suppliers.

The MBO team consists of Watts, who is the majority shareholder, alongside Andy Vosper and Angus Clark. Watts has become managing director, with Vosper remaining as sales director and Clark moving to the role of executive chairman and providing support for the transition of ownership.

The new management structure has been in place effective from the start of this week.

Watts said: “We are keen to build on the solid foundation that’s been laid and are very excited about the future plans to build on the tremendous success achieved so far. It is very much business as usual for TJ International and we will continue focusing on providing a quality service for our customers.”

Clark added: “We look forward to the next chapter of the company’s development with the right team in place to deliver the company’s long-term aspirations.”

Isca Ventures acted as the lead corporate finance advisors on the transaction, with funding provided by Lloyds Bank and legal support from Michelmores, Tozers and Nash&Co.

TJ International, which works with publishers across the UK and internationally, specialises in on-demand, short- and medium-run mono and two-colour paperback and hardback book manufacturing.

In its most recently published financial results, for the year ended 30 November 2016, the directors at the time said in their strategic report that the firm’s turnover had fallen slightly in 2016, down to £12.1m from £12.7m in 2015.

It attributed this fall to the impact of the Brexit vote on core commodity prices as well as a slower start in the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 due to lower production volumes from key customers undergoing reorganisation at the time.

However, the firm’s pre-tax losses decreased from £51,000 in 2015 to £20,000 in 2016, which it said was partly due to a number of initiatives carried out during that year.

These included the development of its print-on-demand offering, investment in information technology and specialist staff, and heavy investment in the development of its management.

The company had invested in a Xerox iGen 150 and Versant 2100 and an Autobond laminator in 2015 to follow 2014 investments in a Canon Océ ColorStream 3900 inkjet printera range of Kolbus bindery kit and a Polar N 137 Plus guillotine.

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