Buyer sought for Service Graphics

By Jo Francis, Tuesday 15 January 2019

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Service Graphics has been put up for sale again, less than a year after St Ives sold the large-format graphics specialist to an investment company.


Service Graphics employs 300 staff across four sites

Advisory firm Duff & Phelps circulated a business opportunity memorandum last week, with the deadline for receipt of offers set as close of business yesterday (14 January).

The memo stated: “The purchaser will need to be in a position to complete the transaction immediately” and said the sale could be carried out via a share sale, or “by way of a sale of the business and assets following the appointment of administrators”.

In its most recent accounts, for the year to 31 July 2017, Service Graphics had sales of £40.5m and made an operating profit of £963,000, but PrintWeek understands the current level of turnover is likely to be lower. It employs around 300 staff. 

The firm extended its current accounting period to the end of December 2018 after it was acquired in a £6m deal last March by holding company SelmerBridge, alongside sister companies SP Group and field marketing firm Tactical Solutions.

It has sites in Chessington, Nottingham, Skelmersdale and Glasgow, producing large-format graphics and branding for a raft of blue-chip clients. The firm, which bills itself as the UK's premier provider of large-format graphics, also holds a royal warrant as a supplier of graphics and signs to the Queen.

A month ago Alex Penner, a restructuring expert bought in to run the business following a number of high-level departures, said that fresh investment was planned along with relocation of its Skelmersdale operation. He said the business was poised to “realise its full potential”.

At the time SelmerBridge owner Landry Kouakou said Penner’s brief at the firm was “to complete the turnaround”.

“Landry and I are clear that we have a great business with great people. The strategy and funding are now in place to help realise the full potential of Service Graphics,” Penner stated last month.

PrintWeek understands that Penner addressed the workforce at Chessington yesterday in order to alleviate concerns about the situation at the company. He told staff that potential buyers were “good companies” and that all parties were working together for a positive outcome, which would be known soon.

A number of established industry players are said to be interested in parts of the company. However, it’s not clear whether any potential buyers would want to take on the entire business.

The highly acquisitive Paragon Group was known to be a potential buyer at the time of the original St Ives sale, but has since taken over a number of other businesses, most recently in December when it bought the Magenta Print & Display wide-format operation from Debenhams.

Kouakou had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. He put SP Group into administration last summer, four months after buying it.

Service Graphics’ product range includes building graphics and hoardings, signage and wayfinding, exhibition and live events graphics, along with a host of other wide-format printing applications.


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