SP Group gains new kit, loses night shift

By Jo Francis, Thursday 29 March 2018

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The new owner of SP Group and Service Graphics is fulfilling its pledge to invest in new kit for the operations, but restructuring at SP after the loss of two big contracts under its former owner St Ives means the night shift at the plant in Redditch is being cut, with more than 100 jobs to go as a result.

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SP Group: more than 20% of workforce set to go. Image: CPF

SelmerBridge acquired Service Graphics, SP Group and field marketing sister companies Tactical Solutions and Flare at the beginning of March for £6m, and clearly stated that changes would be necessary following the buy.

The St Ives Marketing Activation division, as was, had lost its Sainsbury’s point-of-sale contract as well as a large chunk of its work for Marks & Spencer.

Declan Salter, who heads the new business on behalf of investor Landry Kouakou, said he sympathised with all the staff affected, and said the business was committed to minimising the impact on employees.

“The job losses are a result of not renewing those contracts. We are going to have to lose the night shift and we are starting consultation with the workforce now,” he said.

“It is the economic reality of losing that volume of work. No other customer is that sort of size, so the business is less volatile now than it was in the past.”

More than 100 roles out of 450 workers at the site are at risk, with jobs set to go across the board.

Salter said SelmerBridge had budgeted for the restructuring as part of the scenario planning around its bid, and said that SP would actually be in a stronger position subsequently as a result.

“We will be able to offer a better, flexible service in busy periods as we will be able to offer extra hours on the machines at those times,” he stated. “With the right people in the right numbers, and the right customers we can have a good business.”

Fresh investment for the companies includes a £2.5m spend on new digital printing and finishing kit.

This includes two B2 HP Indigo presses for Redditch, which will replace existing older digital printing kit. The site will also get new finishing equipment including collating and folding to speed production and improve workflow.

“It means we will be able to produce smaller quantities and smaller-run work more efficiently with quicker turnaround, and with improved quality and reliability than on our older kit,” Salter added.

In addition, a five-metre wide EFI Vutek 5r roll-to-roll superwide printer will be installed at the Service Graphics site in Skelmersdale in April, which will provide “enhanced quality and output”.

Salter said he had now visited every site, meeting with employees that he praised for being “enthusiastic people who want to provide a good service to clients”.

He has also met with customers and suppliers.

“We are serious about investing and about getting the business in the right shape,” Salter added.

Under St Ives the operations made a £4.4m loss on sales of £106.3m in the year to 28 July 2017.

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