MBO team targets growth as XIC founder steps aside

By Rhys Handley, Wednesday 11 April 2018

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XIC managing director Bill Fawcett has sold the business he founded 32 years ago to an MBO team led by director of operations Murray Alexander.


From left: Murray Alexander, Fawcett and Jason Moir shake on the agreed MBO of XIC

The MBO at the Aberdeen-based creative printer was completed in January.

Following the deal, Alexander became managing director and Jason Moir, his partner in the MBO, became business development director. Fawcett retains a minority shareholding.

Known as Xpress Print until a rebrand in 2006, the company has grown from being a copy shop when established in 1986 by Fawcett to a fully fledged commercial print business offering design, print and digital services to clients across Scotland.

Alexander, now the majority shareholder, has worked for the company since leaving school in 1991 and Moir joined as a studio manager in 1999 before moving into a sales-driven business development role. He is now also a shareholder.

“This has been a year in the making, with discussions between Murray and Bill taking place before I got involved,” said Moir. “With my background as a designer and Murray’s as a printer, we have worked closely for around 20 years. He took me aside and asked if I was keen to help with the MBO as my role is about external sales and growing the business.

“Bill is never one to jump into decisions and could have simply sold his company to a competitor but instead chose to support his loyal staff by passing on his business that he built from nothing 32 years ago.”

XIC, which employs 19 members of staff, was one of the first printers in Scotland to install Apple Mac workstations in 1987. Its 929sqm premises were purpose-built, with an output including exhibition and display materials, tender bid enhancement, specialist print safety products and copying and scanning.

Over the past 18 months, XIC has engaged in a period of investment seeing £200,000 sunk into developing the business’ output and bringing processes in house. This included taking on a Graphtec F-Mark automatic sheetfed die-cutter last month, and an extensive Ricoh haul.

In the second quarter of 2016, XIC took on two Ricoh Pro digital printers – a C9100 and C7100, followed by a Ricoh Latex Pro L4160 in early 2017 to enhance its large-format offering, including the ability to provide outdoor signage.

The majority of XIC’s kit installations are undertaken to accommodate new work and, according to Moir, the business is locked in ahead of the firm adding the required capabilities, so the team is not “installing machines then waiting and hoping for work”.

Moir said: “We have had large-format capabilities for some time, but creative digital print is where we see growth. Ricoh has leapfrogged other developers with this technology.

“The Latex can take anything we put through our Heidelberg B3 litho press, so I would say we are migrating to digital, having already phased other litho machines with digital ones that fulfil the same jobs. I imagine we might be entirely digital in four to five years.”

Moir identified vehicle livery as one provision XIC would look to move into, with work set to start shortly on changing the firm’s premises so a vehicle can be driven in through the back.

SME of the Year nominee at 2010's PrintWeek Awards, XIC turns over £1.2m and, according to Moir, discussion will shortly begin on the company’s targets for the next financial year.

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