Premier Paper has become the UK’s exclusive stockist for Garda Gloss and Satin, double sided coated papers from the Lecta group.
The paper merchant already stocks papers from the same group’s Condat mill in France so extending the arrangement to the paper produced at Cartiere del Garda in Italy is a logical step.
It adds a further choice of grade to Premier’s Essential range of woodfree coated papers and fills a gap left when Sappi switched its exclusive distribution of Galerie Art to EBB at the end of last year.
“We are already the largest customer for Lecta in the UK,” says marketing director Dave Jones. “So when Garda became available to us it was too good an opportunity to miss.”
The Italian papers will be stocked as sheets, covering most sizes and weights, though not as extensively as the company does with Essential. The paper is well established in the market, offering a surface formation that holds pigment evenly on the surface and leads to faster drying. The addition of a latex to the coating helps reduce surface cracking.
“We will hold all the popular sizes and weights,” says Jones. “It will not be quite as wide a choice as with Essential. There is only so much space within four walls.” Nor is it a question of distinguishing the papers by price.
“Garda is liked by a lot of printers. This is about offering printers a choice of papers, some preferring the whiteness and press behaviour of one paper, some the whiteness and behaviour of the other,” he adds. Premier will stock weights from 90-400gsm.
The paper joins the Premier portfolio at a time of continuing market decline and reorganisation which is leading to mill and machine closures and rebuilds toward packaging grades. Demand in the UK dropped around 5% last year, says Jones. “We seem to have performed slightly better than the market, though we have seen slow downs in some areas and increases in the use of personalisation for example. There are always threats and opportunities.”
Lecta is itself part of this. It wants to cease production of woodfree coated papers on PM8 at Condat, converting the line to produce speciality papers, including self adhesive materials. This is dependent on grants to cover the additional energy costs that the mill in the Dordogne region faces. The French government offered the €35 million needed, though this needs to be ratified by the EU. The deal will safeguard the jobs of 530 employees at the mill.
By Gareth Ward