Cambrian Printers has been acquired by Pensord Press, its first acquisition and one that provides back up and a balance to its magazine portfolio with a more commercial print emphasis. Moving this work to Aberystwyth and consolidation all magazine section work at the Pensord plant in Pontilanfraith, South Wales, will bring early efficiencies.
Managing director Darren Coxon says: “Cambrian Printers is a well respected name in the industry with a portfolio of long standing customers, so when the opportunity to purchase arose we jumped at it.” These have included work for Welsh language customers, auction houses and academic publishers. The acquisition allows the Read family, which has owned the Cambrian business for almost a century, first as a newspaper printer than commercial printing, to bow out of a business that was founded in 1860.
In recent years it has suffered succession of managing directors. Doug Gray became managing director in 2011, promoted from operations director, leaving when he retired two years later to be replaced by finance director Kieran O’Connor who left the business in 2014.
Meanwhile Robert Read has been owner for more than 40 years and has described the business as “geographically challenged”, making it difficult to recruit suitably qualified executives. The business has had to run harder to stay still embracing environmental certifications and lean management techniques before these were commonplace.
Cambrian followed investment in a four-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster XL105, installed in 2006, with a ten-unit KBA Rapida 106 in 2011 as a fast makeready short run press. It also runs two Indigos in a separate digital print operation.
Pensord is an all Heidelberg house having bought three B1 perfectors since Coxon and operations director Karl Gater led a management buyout in 2010 printing more than 400 publications to generate sales of £12 million from 150 staff.
The acquisition allows Robert Read and younger brother Tim Read to step away from a business that their grandfather had acquired in 1927. Robert Read says: “When we decided to sell, it was important we found a buyer who had a real understanding of what we do, and an empathy with our staff. Pensord is a hugely respected name in the industry, building a very successful business, and winning awards and credit for their expertise and the way they treat their ‘Pensord people’, so we feel there could be no better name to take Cambrian forward from here.”
Coxon adds: “In challenging times with a number of big printing names going to the wall, this acquisition gives us the chance to expand our capacity and takes us into new commercial territories, adding to our digital work, and broadening our footprint within Wales.”
There will be no prolonged handover period. Both family members are retiring, Robert Read almost immediately and Tim Read in a few weeks, but no others. Pensord has committed to maintaining the jobs of the 50 staff at Cambrian though while the name remains for the immediate future, this may change. Cambrian has sales of around £7 million.
Coxon has agreed to become president of the BPIF, taking up the role next month. It promises to change a recent run of office holders that have shrunk their businesses rather than grown them.
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Cambrian chairman Robert Read has excused the sale of the business which has been in the hands of his family for 90 years, investing in litho and digital and in upskillins its skills in technology, looking for ways to achieve profitable growth.
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Congratulations to all concerned ;-)