The deal, which was first announced in June, was completed on Friday (1 November) with 91 UK Xerox staff transferring to Antalis UK under TUPE as a result. As well as the UK, the European-wide deal encompasses Xerox’s office businesses in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The new division, Antalis Document Supplies, will be headed up in the UK and Ireland by general manager Doug Bishop, a Xerox veteran of 38 years who has led the company’s UK office paper business for the past six years. He will report to Hunter.
The Xerox brand name will continue to be used on the 1,000-strong product portfolio inherited by Antalis, which, as well as paper, includes wide-format and non-paper substrates.
While Hunter declined to reveal the precise scale of the UK Xerox office operation, he said that a “good proportion” of the €300m sales it would add to Antalis’ European operations would be generated in the UK.
Prior to the completion of the deal, Antalis UK had sales of around £476m and 980 staff. It operates two central distribution centres and 14 regional branches across the UK and Ireland.
Antalis currently markets 14,000 products. However, following the completion of the Xerox deal this will increase to 15,000.
Hunter hinted that over time there may be some consolidation of the product range, but this would be in consultation with customers. He also signalled that Antalis would work closely on new product development with Xerox.
However, he stressed that the integration of the Xerox business would be carefully structured, to ensure continuity for customers.
“We’ve got two very good businesses here, so we have the luxury of time to look at a really sensible way of moving forward, to make sure we get it right,” he said.
Following the completion of the sale, Hunter said that there are no immediate plans to reduce headcount, although he added that, as with all companies, the cost base of the business is under constant review.
“The important thing for customers is that it is business as usual. The people they spoke to at Xerox last week will be the same people they speak to at Antalis UK this week,” said Hunter.
He said the initial focus would be in supply chain synergies, including purchasing, with the integration of the rest of the back office functions following shortly afterwards.
According to Bishop while the two companies have a number of shared customers “when we looked at the alignment, we’ve not had that much of overlap”, which according to Hoyne represents a significant opportunity for Antalis.
“Because we have such varied components to our business, cross-selling has always been a fillip for us and with Xerox coming in we now have a huge opportunity to sell packaging to them, for example,” he said.
However, Hunter said that the next six to 12 months would be focused on effectively integrating the two businesses to ensure a seamless transition.
“One thing we won’t do, and we’ve made absolutely certain we won’t do, is say ‘we’re Antalis we’ll show you how to sell paper’. Clearly there are huge skills on both sides and things that are done differently, so I think there will be big opportunities to learn from each other and to come out of this with the best of both worlds, from how we look after customers to a whole raft of things.”