Bristol printer Kingsdown Printers called in administrators on Friday. And the first action of Andrew Sheridan and Gareth Morris, partners at FRP Advisory LLP, as joint administrators was to make 60 staff redundant and turn off the lights.
The pair report that the company “has faced a number of financial and operational challenges in recent months, which caused cashflow problems and ultimately forced it to enter administration”. There was no attempt at running the business until a buyer might be found. “Unfortunately there was insufficient time to run an accelerated M&A process given the company had run out of cash,” says a spokesman for the administrators.
Kingsdown, the trading name of Colour Visuals Ltd, was well invested. In 2016 it installed an eight-colour Ryobi SRA1 press/a>, giving it an additional £4 million of print capacity, according to managing director David Spencer. It joined an SM74 and ten-colour XL75 at the factory in Whitehall district of the city.
At the time of placing the order, Spencer had said: “The SRA1 sheet size will make us significantly more competitive on larger jobs as well. This investment will provide us with an additional capacity of up to £4 million going forward.”
The company also installed a Kodak Magnus 800 platesetter to deliver the larger format plates needed as part of the £1.3 million investment spend. However, thanks to energy reductions using LED UV rather than hot air drying, the company would achieve a £17,000 a month saving.
The company, however, failed to increase its sales to the levels expected. Joint administrator Andrew Sheridan adds: “Unfortunately investing in a state of the art drying press 18 months ago didn’t result in the capacity boost the company expected and, combined with pressure on profit margins in the large print management side of the business, led to a cash shortage that meant there was no alternative but administration.”
Around one-third of turnover derived from print management work.
The company had been formed in 1997 and at the same time as installing the RMGT press had acquired Burleigh Portishead to add additional sales. As well as the litho presses, the company had a digital operation with Ricoh production machines. In July last year, Close Brothers took a charge over the four leasehold factory units the business has occupied.
Kingsdown Printers had ambitious growth plans when installing an eight unit RMGT9 LED UV press in 2016, but the company failed to achieve the growth targets it set itself, culminating in the administration of the business.