Boss Direct and Browns CTP have merged into a single entity on a shared location following a double acquisition by Guest Investments.


Guest (r): “I have exciting long term plans for the future to build on what we have”

Tim Guest, managing director of Guest, already owned Boss Direct separately from his investment company. In a deal completed with assistance from Cowgills chartered accountants for a total of £5.5m in October, he brought Boss Direct under Guest Investment ownership and also acquired the separate Middleton-based operation Browns CTP.

In the intervening months, Guest has worked to combine the two companies into a single enterprise that now operates solely from the 2,400sqm Browns factory. Boss Direct, which deals in both print services and office supplies, has vacated its two factories in Manchester and Bolton; the former was sold on in December and the latter is set follow in early 2019.

With the merger complete, the print operation will run under the new name Browns Print. It operates three Heidelberg presses: a five-colour B1 Speedmaster XL 105, and 10-colour B2 XL 75, both with CutStar delivery, and a new five-colour Speedmaster XL 75 that was installed in October.

Guest, who sits as chair of the new company, said: “Since founding Boss in 1993, it has steadily grown but running two factories north and south of Manchester was not cost-effective; a distribution nightmare with high costs, some jobs printed in Manchester were finished in Bolton and vice versa. As a result, the business struggled to deliver on profits.

“By merging Boss and Browns, we bring 85 employees under one roof. I am very happy to have retained so many of our team in the move and everyone is settling in nicely.

“We are now able to produce more high-end jobs and the CutStar devices make us more competitive, we have already started to sell more in recent months. We need a couple of quarters under our belt to build our reserves, but we have exciting long-term plans for the future to build on what we have.”

Boss Direct has brought 52 members of staff over to the Browns site which, combined with Browns’ 33-strong headcount, brings the total employees to 85. Guest said no redundancies were made and a minimal number of people stepped aside in the transition.

He said the two companies’ clients could look forward to an expanded offering on print jobs varying from “a few business cards to a 50,000 print run of 240-page, full-colour, perfectly bound catalogues”.

Browns Print will be overseen by joint managing directors – Andrew Brown, who ran Browns CTP, and former Boss Direct sales director Danny Baldwin.

The factory runs a variety of print and finishing capabilities alongside its Heidelberg presses, including three digital machines – one from Heidelberg and two from Konica Minolta – and a wide-format Roland DG printer.

Early 2019 will see the roll-out of a new marketing campaign to promote the new Browns Print brand. Boss Direct’s office supplies wing will continue to trade under its original name.

Browns Print now turns over £10.8m, according to Guest. At the time of acquisition, Boss Direct had a turnover of £4.5m and Browns CTP sat at circa £5.4m.


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