Wed, 16 Aug 2023 | BUSINESS SALE
Buckingham-based printing firm BCQ Group has been acquired out of administration by Exeter counterpart William Pollard & Company (Pollards Print). The pre-pack deal sees Pollards acquire BCQ’s business and assets from administrators Teneo Financial Advisory.
Despite being operationally profitable, as measured by its EBITDA, BCQ took on significant debt during the pandemic and was ultimately unable to service this. Consequently, the company experienced creditor pressure, as well as disruption to trading.
This resulted in the company having an urgent need for funding and Paul Meadows and Matt Cowlishaw of Teneo Financial Advisory were appointed as joint administrators on August 14. Following an accelerated sale process, the joint administrators secured a pre-pack sale to Pollards Prints.
Commenting that Pollards was impressed by BCQ’s “outstanding print solutions and talented team”, Pollards' Managing Director Dave Mace said that the acquisition would “provide a strong platform for future growth”.
Teneo’s Paul Meadows, who acted as lead administrator, added: “Pollards Print has aspirations to grow its business and was quick to respond to the opportunity to purchase the business and assets of BCQ in an accelerated sale process ran by our Special Situations M&A team. I’m very pleased this has ensured continuity of the business and safeguarded the jobs of 113 employees.”
In BCQ Group’s accounts for the year to March 31 2022, the firm reported turnover of £10.1 million, up from £7.7 million a year earlier, and a gross profit of £3.5 million, up from £1.8 million. However, the company ultimately fell to a pre-tax loss of £413,233, although this was a significant improvement upon the £858,540 loss registered a year earlier.
In the directors’ report, the firm said that it had seen increased costs, but added that it had been able to realign pricing “with minimal pushback” from customers. The company also said that, as a result of operating “in an energy hungry industry” it was “susceptible to variation in supply costs” but added that it had been able to fix an energy supply deal running “well into 2024” during the pandemic.
Despite seemingly being able to navigate these headwinds, the directors conceded at the time that the COVID-19 pandemic had taken “a significant impact on the business” in the two years from April 2020 to March 2022, resulting in a £250,333 post tax loss.
The firm had also made a contractual beach of the terms of its commercial mortgage, but said it was in receipt of a waiver from HSBC stating that the bank would not require termination of the loan as a result of the breach for the year ending March 31 2022.
At the time, the firm’s fixed assets were valued at £6.6 million and current assets at £3.9 million. However, the firm owed £6.6 million to creditors within one year and £1.7 million falling due after more than one year, leaving it with net assets of £2 million.
Printing companies across the UK have been severely impacted by the pandemic and rising energy costs. Read about other recent administrations involving printing companies:
Business and assets of printing firm acquired out of administration
Administrators marketing printing company’s assets for sale
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