On 5th August 2016 at a meeting of creditors Carl Derek Faulds and Michael Robert Fortune were appointed joint liquidators of Acorn Print & Design Limited (‘Acorn’).
Acorn was a family owned printing business originally established in 1977. During the 1990’s all 3 of the director’s sons worked at the firm in various roles, from press operator, designer, web developer, production manager, estimator to client manager and salesmen. In 1990 Acorn relocated to a unit in Midhurst, West Sussex and at this time business was good within the commercial printing industry.
In 2006 the company was incorporated and relocated to a large unit in Liphook, Hampshire, with almost £1million in investment spent on 2 new Heidelberg presses, a pre-press, studio and additional digital equipment. The equipment was purchased with finance and the plan was to capitalise on the strong client base and grow the business in a sustainable way.
Between 2007 and 2009 the rise in popularity of print management companies saw the company lose a number of its contracts. The directors estimate that the company lost around 70% of its printing during this period and found it near impossible to replace this level of work.
The directors decided to begin offering design and website solutions including marketing campaign activity. This side of the business proved popular and for many years supported the struggling printing segment of the business. At certain times 70% of the turnover would be non-print work however around 70% of the overheads were printing related.
As a drastic measure to slow down losses and cut costs the staff endured two separate six month periods of 10% pay cuts, which had an impact on staff morale. The company made one staff member redundant and did not replace individuals when they left or retired.
The directors learnt that the company’s premises were likely to be demolished in the near future for redevelopment and so they were conscious that plans had to be made about the future intentions of the business. It was thought that to relocate the business would cost £500k or potentially more. In the end the decision was made to take steps to begin winding down the business of the company.
The directors began approaching print machinery buyers to obtain offers for the equipment within the premises, some of which was subject to finance. After weeks of negotiations a purchaser was found and a large proportion of the company’s equipment was sold.
At the same time the directors decided to seek independent advice. As a consequence of those discussions it confirmed to them that the business was no longer viable and the directors took the decision to cease trading on 22nd July 2016. They formally instructed Portland to assist in taking steps to place the company into voluntary liquidation and a meeting of creditors was convened for the 5th August 2016.
For further details please see the report on the meeting of creditors here