Investcorp buys into UK printing sector

06 March 1998

Manama-based Investcorp has announced plans to buy two of the UK's leading printing companies in separate deals which could total $900 million.

The investment group has made a $409 million cash bid for the public company Watmoughs, against a rival bid from Canada's Quebecor valued at $308 million. Investcorp says it has already received a number of undertakings to accept its offer of £3.45 ($5.64) a share.

The company has also said that it is buying the privately owned British Printing Company (BPC) in a deal which is believed to value the company at $425 million-490 million.

The combined annual sales of the two printing companies total $916 million. Watmoughs made pre-tax profits of £21.6 million ($35.3 million) in 1997, while BPC made operating profits of £24.5 million ($40 million). Together the two companies account for about 20 per cent of the UK's colour commercial printing market and more than 90 per cent of UK gravure capacity - a process used for long runs of quality printing. Analysts say this means that the deals could be referred to the UK's Monopolies & Mergers Commission.

Investcorp says that it plans to merge the companies strategically but not legally. The deals are being handled by Investcorp subsidiary Webinvest. The London-based Lazard Freres & Compagnie is acting as adviser.

A MEED Subscription...

Subscribe or upgrade your current package to support your strategic planning with the MENA region’s best source of business information. Proceed to our online shop below to find out more about the features in each package.

Get Notifications