Abstract, registered under holding company Colne VCS, only became part of Annodata in January 2012 when it merged with Annodata’s print division and handed over a 50% stake in the business.
“Abstract simply ran out of cash,” said Pureprint chief executive Mark Handford. “They had been trying to market it for several months but it went down in the end. We were one of seven looking to buy it. In the end two of us bid and fortunately we won.”
The £6m-turnover Bedfordshire-based POS and packaging printer was put into administration with Wilkins Kennedy on 2 September and sold to Pureprint on the same day. All 49 jobs have been retained with former managing director Alan Harbison becoming general manager of Abstract’s 2,787sqm facility in Houghton Regis.
Commenting on the deal, partner at Wilkins Kennedy Stephen Grant, said: “As is not unusual with printing companies the order book can be erratic. And in a business with high capital investment costs, and in the short term a fixed staff base, a decline in orders and therefore sales can have a significant negative effect on a business.
“The directors of the company sought insolvency advice, and, having reviewed the options, they believed that an administration sale would give the best return to creditors.”
He added: “The transition to Pureprint has been seamless, that is the beauty of a pre-pack in that it keeps work going and people in jobs.”
Following the acquisition the business will continue as a separate trading company under the name Abstract – a Pureprint Company.
Handford said that ultimately the company would be rebranded after an initial period of bedding in.
He added: “Usually after something like this people expect cutbacks but we want to grow this side of the business straight away. We will be investing in large format digital kit very quickly. We’re in negotiations with three parties with announcements due in around two weeks. “
New finishing equipment would also be installed to cope with the added output, he added.
The acquisition forms part of a growth strategy for Pureprint and Handford said Abstract was a perfect match. “We were looking for another Speedmaster XL105 anyway which they have, we have the same MIS and workflow and we both use Indigo presses. Also we have opened a CAD department around creative packaging and Abstract has the same, so we hope we can develop that because the growth in this area is enormous.
“It really fits with our strategy of growing into the creative packaging and POS world,” Handford said.
Completion of the deal last week has brought the Pureprint Group’s projected turnover for 2013/2014 to £36m with a workforce of 275, and Handford said more acquisitions were on the cards.
“We are looking to buy more by the end of the year. We desperately need a digital plant in London. We have come close to it a couple of times recently but for one reason or another deals have fallen flat. It’s definitely on our radar.”