Marstan in administration: IP and director go to Elle Media

By Rhys Handley, Wednesday 06 February 2019

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Marstan Press has gone into administration with the loss of all 54 jobs and some of its assets snapped up by Elle Media Group.

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Marstan: all staff made reddundant. Image: Google

Damian Webb, Matt Haw and Duncan Beat of RSM Restructuring Advisory were appointed joint administrators on 28 January, after a notice of intention to appoint administrators was filed at the High Court in mid January following a winding-up petition from Toyo Ink UK earlier in the month.

Just prior to RSM's appointment, the Bexleyheath operation made 49 of its 54 staff redundant. Upon appointment, RSM made a further five staff on the remaining skeleton crew redundant before the company ceased trading.

Following RSM's appointment and Marstan's subsequent closure, Basildon-based Elle Media Group acquired the right to use the Marstan name, alongside various other elements of intellectual property.

“It is regrettable that a business that has traded for more than 60 years ceases trading with the consequent impact on the company’s employees and suppliers,” said Webb.

“This failure reflects the ongoing challenges facing the printing sector as content increasingly moves online.”

A letter seen by PrintWeek that was sent to Marstan clients by sales and marketing director Martin Lett Jr notified recipients of Marstan’s transfer to Basildon, Essex-based Elle Media.

Lett had previously resigned from his director role on 7 January.

He wrote: “This brings great long-term benefit to our valued clients. Elle Media Group are well regarded as one of the highest-quality and most efficient printers in Europe.

“They exceeded our hopes for a company we could combine with and continue the tradition we have for excellent service, outstanding expertise and an environment our clients want to be a part of.

“More importantly, Elle Media Group share the same values we do, both companies are long-established, family-owned companies.”

Elle executive chairman Bruce Cuthbert confirmed that Lett will be working at Elle, having transferred on Friday (1 February).

Though his new role was not defined, Cuthbert said Lett was “there to achieve smooth transition”.

With Marstan’s staff made redundant, Cuthbert said that 10 vacancies across Elle's finishing, estimating, customer services and sales could potentially be filled by former Marstan employees.

Cuthbert said: “There is a great synergy between what Marstan produced and what we produce – clients who transfer will benefit from a high quality of print and our ISO 12647 accreditation which shows we have more economical equipment.”

Marstan Press’ parent company Marstan Press Holdings filed an operating profit of £419k on sales of £5.2m in its latest accounts, for the year to 31 December 2017.

Commercial printer Elle Media Group runs out of a single base in Basildon, Essex, with a current headcount of 65 members of staff and a turnover of £10m as of December 2018.

The Marstan deal mirrors Elle's acquisiton of MPC Print Solutions, which it bought in similar circumstances in 2017.

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