New owner for Four Way Print and sister firm

By Rhys Handley, Thursday 21 June 2018

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Four Way Print and its subsidiary Blue Sky Design & Print have been bought by an industry newcomer.

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Four Way will still be run day-to-day by two of its former directors

Cornwall-based B1 printer Four Way was sold to business consultant John Freeman on 17 May, after director Stephen Shaw decided to retire. Shaw's fellow directors, sales director Stephen Lewis and production director Jeremey Copping, will remain with the company but have resigned as company directors.

Freeman, who had previously been working as a business development consultant for New Zealand-based South East Asia Consulting, began talking to the directors around two months ago and following those discussions has taken total ownership of Four Way and its Devon-based B2 subsidiary Blue Sky.

“I do not have a background in print, but I saw a good opportunity to invest in a company that will reap rewards through new equipment and business,” Freeman told PrintWeek.

“Stephen [Lewis] and Jeremey will continue to use their expertise to manage the company day-to-day, and make sure the company moves forward. This is a good, solid company and the focus at first is on making sure it is stable before looking at the opportunities that arise.

“You see reports of people buying companies and promising to triple turnover within a year, but my aim is simply to make sure the quality of Four Way and Blue Sky is retained, then we can look at opportunities to invest and expand in the future.”

Freeman will take a back seat in the day-to-day running of the business, entrusting those duties to its former directors Lewis and Copping, who have each worked with Four Way for around 15 years.

No staffing changes will be made at either firm, with 24 people employed at Four Way’s 1,543sqm premises and a further 11 at Blue Sky.

Four Way currently runs a single five-colour B1 press from Komori alongside a full portfolio of in-house finishing capabilities. Blue Sky’s printing capabilities are supported by a five-colour B2 Heidelberg Speedmaster.

The combined operation currently has sales of around £4m.

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