GD Web Offset boss speaks out

By Jo Francis, Friday 19 October 2018

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The former co-owners of GD Web Offset have split, but director Paul Mursell has insisted the business is in good shape and will benefit from a new joint-venture involving waste paper recycling at its Rotherham site.

gd-web-offset-48pp-lithoman

The 48pp Lithoman at GD Web Offset

Mursell and Aspenlink chief executive Jeremy Spring acquired the Garnett Dickinson print and mailing operations in a pre-pack deal in January 2017, via their then 50:50 owned company GD Web Offset. Investor International Assets & Resources subsequently acquired a 25% stake in the business in March.  

Spring resigned as a director of the business on 10 October. He and his son Jayden, who described himself as the firm’s chief operations officer, are no longer with the company.

“Jeremy Spring has resigned due to a conflict of interest and we thought it best for all parties if he left the business,” Mursell told PrintWeek.

GD Web Offset has also written to customers regarding future invoicing, because some clients had previously been invoiced by paper trading and converting firm Aspenlink for work produced at GD Web Offset.

The firm said all invoicing would now go through GD Web Offset.

Following the departures of the Springs, works manager Andrew Holt has been promoted to operations director of both GD Web Offset and sister company EWO Media in Essex. Mursell said the two businesses would have combined sales of £36m this year.

EWO runs a 16pp Polyman web and an eight-colour B1 KBA Rapida with reel sheeter. GD has a 16pp Rotoman and 48pp Lithoman web press.

Mursell also said that insurers had written off the 48pp M4000 press damaged by a fire in March, and it would not be replaced.

“It’s not the right time to invest in another press with the current state of the market,” he said.

To make use of the resulting spare space at the site he has separated a 5,570sqm area of the 15,800sqm factory, which will be used for a new joint venture paper recycling business with established recycler Accoil.

International Assets & Resources is also an investor in the Accoil business.

A baler has already been put in as part of a £2.5m investment, and an automated MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) is in the process of being installed.

“There is a good opportunity because of the changes in China, which won’t accept mixed waste anymore. The price of paper is rocketing, and this system can sort 80,000 tonnes of mixed paper a year,” Mursell said.

The Accoil operation will take waste paper from GD Web Offset, local councils, and potentially from other printers. It is set to be fully operational by the beginning of the new year and will initially employ 10 people running on day shifts.

Mursell also responded to rumours circulating in the trade that GD had recently lost a significant amount of work.

“These rumours are unwarranted. We had to hand one job back to the customer as we had far too much work on. We’re one of only three printers in the country with 48pp presses and clients want to continue to have that choice,” he stated.

“We’ve got a full order book and no bank borrowings.”

Mursell said that GD Web Offset’s maiden accounts, which were due at Companies’ House this week, would be filed next month.

“We will show a profit and some good reports,” he added.

Spring had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

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