Colchester-based commercial printer Alphaprint has been bought out of liquidation by the nearby Bravo Print group of companies.
Directors of the business, which was registered as Alphaprint (Colchester) Ltd, had first approached Ipswich-based Bravo shortly before it went into liquidation last month.
Mark Brown, a consultant for Bravo Print, told PrintWeek: “They came to us when they were in distress and asked if there was any chance that we could rescue them.
“We had a look at it and we were trying to put together a rescue package, but with the time that was going to be involved they would have ended up putting creditors at greater risk if they’d continued trading, so they decided to cease trading.”
Mark Reynolds of Valentine & Co was appointed as liquidator of the business on 20 December, shortly after it ceased trading.
Aware of its prior interest in purchasing Alphaprint, the liquidator contacted Bravo and subsequently sold to it the company’s goodwill, with seven of the company’s 20 staff also moving across.
“With the jobs that we have rescued, from a purely commercial point of view we hope to maintain as much business as we possibly can,” said Brown.
Of the firm's remaining 13 staff, Brown added several were retiring while others wanted to take redundancy rather than carry on in the print industry.
“Mainly those people that did want to continue have been able to do so,” he said.
“We’re already a very profitable company and this will only add to how we’re doing. Alphaprint just had too many overheads and were carrying too much inherent debt.”
While Alphaprint will be rolled into the existing Bravo group of companies, which also includes several other print companies including litho specialist The Five Castles Press, its near 40-year-old brand name will be retained.
Alphaprint’s previous owners and directors Gregory and Nicola Pye are among those that have retired while their son Darren, who was also a director but not a shareholder, has been taken on by Bravo to run the Alphaprint operation.
The majority of Alphaprint’s print and finishing kit was not included in the transaction and will be sold via the liquidation process to raise funds for creditors.
Bravo will move all of Alphaprint’s production work to its existing facilities in Ipswich. The sales and design teams will continue to work from one of Alphaprint’s five existing buildings in Colchester, which Bravo will lease.
Bravo currently operates three Heidelberg Speedmasters in Ipswich – two B2 presses and a B3 machine – and has a digital operation that includes Xerox kit.
“The equipment that Alphaprint had was too old to seamlessly slot into our factory in Ipswich, where the equipment that we’ve got is new and state-of-the-art,” said Brown.
He added Bravo Print currently turns over £2.6m and hopes to boost sales by around £1.3m following the acquisition.