WPAPS bought in pre-pack administration

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Wednesday 18 April 2018

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Promotional products printer Worldwide Production And Procurement Services (WPAPS) has been bought out of administration by a rival firm.

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WPAPS core business centres on personalised, one-off products

Alexander Kinninmonth of RSM and Richard Brewer of RSM Restructuring Advisory were appointed as administrators of Andover-based WPAPS by the company’s directors on 23 March.

On the same day, King's Lynn-based promotional merchandise supplier AT Promotions, which trades as Listawood Promotional Products, bought the stricken business.

A spokesperson for the administrators told PrintWeek: “The company was sold in a pre-pack to an independent third party.

“[The failure of the company was a result of] cashflow difficulties resulting from bad debts in the post-Christmas period. The business has been sold as a going concern and the result is that all 32 jobs have been secured.”

A company called WPAPS 2018 was registered on Companies House on 21 March. AT Promotions owns the share capital of WPAPS 2018 and Alexander Turner and Michael Franks – both also directors of AT Promotions – are listed as its directors.

AT Promotions acquired both WPAPS’ business and all of its assets in the deal, with all 32 of WPAPS' staff TUPE'd across.

WPAPS’ core business centres on personalised, one-off product production including fulfilment direct to the end-user on behalf of its worldwide customer base. The firm ships anywhere between 2,000 and 6,000 items each day.

The £4m-turnover company installed the UK’s first Epson SureColor SC-F9300 at the end of last year to help with the significant increased demand for fabric printing it fulfils around Christmas.

The device joined a raft of other Epson machines, including two SC-F9200s, four SC-F6200s and 18 Stylus Pro 7890s, as well as a number of printers from Mutoh.

In February, WPAPS’ chief executive Tom Withers told PrintWeek the business was due to move from its existing 1,200sqm premises to a new 4,460sqm site this month. It is unclear whether the move had gone ahead before it fell into administration.

In a statement, AT Promotions managing director Turner said: “The acquisition complements our existing product lines whilst also enabling us to offer an entirely new range of digitally branded technology products to our trade customers.”

In its most recently filed accounts, for the year ended 31 March 2017, AT Promotions recorded a turnover of £10.5m, up from £10.1m in 2016. Its pre-tax profit in the period was £167,000, up from £28,000 in 2016.

Listawood had itself previously been sold in a pre-pack deal in 2006 to a group of 12 managers and members of staff – headed up by Turner – to then newly-formed AT Promotions, according to an article written at the time in local newspaper Lynn News.

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