Rethink CMYK in administration

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 24 May 2018

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Print and marketing company Rethink CMYK has gone into administration.


Amanda and Joel Dickinson pictured in 2015, after they bought Rethink CMYK via an MBO

Kelly Burton and Lisa Hogg from insolvency practitioner Wilson Field were appointed by the Barnsley-based company’s directors as joint administrators on 10 May, after the business – Garnett Dickinson’s former digital operation GD Digital – closed its doors on 30 April, with the immediate loss of all nine jobs.

Burton said: “[The business] ran into financial difficulties as a result of difficult trading conditions within the print industry. Despite attempts to negotiate terms with an essential supplier, the company had insufficient cash to continue trading and sought specialist advice. We are now seeking purchasers by way of public auction for plant and equipment.”

The sale of the firm’s assets is being dealt with by John Pye & Sons and includes a 2006 Horizon collator/stitcher, a Polar 115 EMC Monitor guillotine and a Morgana AutoCreaser.

The £1.3m-turnover firm, which specialised in data capture, digital marketing, creative design and variable digital printing, operated an HP Indigo 7800, which it used to produce the majority of its work, and a five-year-old Xerox iGen 4.

HP was the “essential supplier” that the company experienced trouble with, after it fell behind on its payments to the manufacturer.

“Rethink CMYK was doing well up until around October/November last year. We lost a significant client around that time which did give us quite a bit of groundwork to make up,” said joint managing director Joel Dickinson – former chief executive of Garnett Dickinson – who bought the business via an MBO in 2015 with his wife Amanda.

“That took us into the Christmas period and we had a really hideous December and January.

“At that point we fell behind specifically on our payments to HP – we had a debt to them which really came to a head in around March.

“But we then had the best month [March] we’d had in 12 months and we had two record weeks in April as well as a couple of new platforms that were going to really assist the business.”

He added that, while the business looked set to be back on track by around September, terms with HP could not be renegotiated and the company was not in a position to borrow the money it needed to pay its debt, with the risk that consumables supply might not resume in time.

The business was kept running for as long as possible, and all work in progress was satisfied but, running out of consumables, it was ultimately forced to close.

“When you’re in the digital game, you are at the mercy of a specific supplier and when you’re behind, you’re behind,” said Dickinson.

“And in the world of digital you can’t play the market, as you can’t get supplies from elsewhere, so you don’t have the flexibility.”

While information regarding creditor claims was unavailable at the time of writing, Dickinson said the assets that are up for sale “will hopefully satisfy the majority, if not all of the creditors, because we’ve got fantastic paid-for kit.”

He added the company’s iGen was only two months away from its final payment.

“The business was about to not only increase from improvements in sales and revenue, but it was about to become financially that much better off because in June it was going to owe that much less money on its assets.

“Myself and Amanda gave blood, sweat and tears and a massive amount of personal risk to that business and we were pretty appalled by the way it all changed paths.

“But we were very confident in the staff’s ability to gain quick employment, which they all have, apart from one lady who was on the cusp of retirement.

“We had such a strong team that we had suppliers and competitors contacting us directly and we engineered every single opportunity for them to be re-employed within 48 hours. They were also all paid in full and they all got redundancy.”

Rethink Media, a branding and marketing agency also headed up by Dickinson and his wife Amanda, is unaffected and earlier this month the eight-staff company moved out of the premises it shared with Rethink CMYK and into the Barnsley Digital Media Centre.

“We love the general industry and we recognise the hardships in print but we’re advocates of it and we will continue to champion the use of print through our media channels,” said Dickinson.

He added that where its customers at Rethink Media require print, this will now be outsourced.

“We have a number of corporate online portals that we developed internally and I think one of these is going to be an absolute leader in terms of general B2B web-to-print platforms and we will affiliate with existing suppliers.”

Rethink CMYK was initially called Print Your following the MBO and remained based at Garnett Dickinson’s premises for around six months, before being renamed in October 2015 and moving into 929sqm leased premises near Hoyland in Barnsley.

The company held ISO certifications in quality, environmental and security management and its clients included the NHS, Unilever, John Lewis and Carillion.

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