Managing director Andy Cook said: “This is absolutely ideal for us from both an R&D point of view and a manufacturing perspective. We have been looking to buy for a couple of years but couldn’t find anything suitable.”
FFEI moved into its current 6,100sqm headquarters in 2008 on a five-year lease, following a period spent at a temporary premises after its former site was destroyed by the 2005 Buncefield oil depot explosion.
The lease is due to expire in September and Cook said that he anticipated the business would move into its new home, which is on the same industrial estate as FFEI’s current premises, by the end of July.
Cook said: “When we couldn’t find a suitable site, we were going to have to invest a lot on the current one to prepare it for the manufacturing of our new inkjet products, but now we can spend that money as part of our new building and kit out.”
Cook said the new site, which at 2,972sqm is less than half the size of its predecessor, was situated next to a series of short-term lease facilities, which “we are likely to use as we expand”.
As part of the move FFEI will transfer its research and development and manufacturing divisions across as well as its CTP production facility, although Cook said this would be “a little smaller”.
“CTP is still very important to our business at the moment. I would expect there to be around four or five years of life in that range yet.”
Cook confirmed that the £10m-turnover company had undergone a restructure at the end of 2012 when it ceased development work for Fujifilm’s XMF software products.
As such, he said that the company no longer employed its “large, contracted software development team” and therefore did not require the additional space in its new facility for that area of work.
PrintWeek understands that a further restructure in recent months has resulted in a number of redundancies at the company bringing the current core headcount to 110. Cook confirmed the workforce number and said that FFEI’s refocusing on the label and packaging market had “triggered some difficult departures in our commercial print group (CTP)”. He confirmed that manufacturing capacity had been reduced by six while job losses in the CTP development team would probably be limited to three and one from the CTP sales force.
Meanwhile he said that the company had recruited three new roles to its sales and marketing group, one in its Life Sciences division and was currently recruiting for a UK direct sales person for digital print.
Going forward Cook said that he was cautiously optimistic: “Last year was very difficult for everybody in the industry including us. There has been a lot of consolidation and business was flat last year.
“But we are really focused on the label and packaging market. We are seeing growth particularly in the label market. Each month we are increasing our revenue there, as well as in packaging and software,” he said.
“The investment in our new facility gives us better long-term security and flexibility for the organisation in what is frankly a difficult market to predict,” he added.