Possible rescue deal at Latimer Trend

By Jo Francis, Wednesday 16 October 2019

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Latimer Trend is in “advanced talks” with another book printer on a possible deal to rescue the 130-year-old business.

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Latimer Trend has received "an avalanche of support"

Last week the Plymouth print firm announced it would be going into administration after creditors rejected plans for a CVA.

Managing director Paul Opie told Printweek that news of Latimer Trend’s predicament had resulted in an outpouring of support for the firm, which prints books, magazines and journals for a host of blue-chip clients including the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and Cambridge University Press (CUP).

He said the firm had received an “avalanche of amazing and touching messages of support that has been an incredible comfort”. 

“We have received some totally unexpected and generous offers of support during this unimaginable time,” Opie stated.

“As a result we are in advanced talks with an interested group who are working on a rescue plan. If successful this would help ensure a significant number of the company’s employees are able to secure new employment as part of one of the leading, most successful and highly invested UK book and journal printing groups.”

Scotland’s Bell & Bain has been tipped as a possible ‘white knight’ rescuer, with industry sources saying that Bell & Bain chairman Stephen Docherty has been spotted in Plymouth. If successful it would see the acquisitive firm expand outside its Scottish heartland.

Docherty was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Latimer Trend continues to trade and is still printing, although Opie said it had stopped taking new orders.

Administrators are expected to be appointed this week.

In its most recent accounts to 20 April 2018 sales at the 85-employee company increased from £9.73m to £10.1m, but operating profits more than halved, falling by nearly 70% from £775,363 to £239,595.

In February 2016 Latimer Trend won a big five-year print and fulfilment contract with UKHO that had an overall estimated value of nearly £16.8m. Three other companies tendered for the work. The contract involved the production of around 1m publications a year, with 21,500 volumes being despatched every week.

A UKHO spokesman told Printweek that the organisation was unable to comment on the Latimer Trend situation at the present time.

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