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NEWS TOP STORY
NEWS IN BRIEF
A Budget Buy Ardenton Capital acquires 51% stake In what is a thumbs-up for the greeting card sector, Canadian private equity company Ardenton Capital Corporation has bought a 51% stake in Budget Greeting Cards (BGC) for an undisclosed sum. BGC is the UK’s largest greeting card wholesaler, which also has a sizeable card publishing operation, under Budget Greetings Studios (BGS). The company has certainly come a long way since Belfast-born Paul Lavery and his brother, Martin, borrowed £7,000 from Bank of Ireland to buy a newsagent back in the 1970s. Their attentions escalated to wholesaling greeting cards and their savvy business nous has seen them expand to eight cash-and-carry wholesale operations in Britain and Ireland, with a head office in Manchester. Pivotal to Budget’s growth and continued supply in the wholesale sector was its decision to move into greeting card publishing, acquiring several greeting card brands as well as developing its own. Despite no longer having the majority share, Paul Lavery is to remain with the business under the new set-up, while his brother Martin is exiting the business but will remain involved on a consultancy basis.
Below: Canadian private equity company Ardenton Capital has bought a 51% stake in Budget Greeting Cards.
l ‘Cow’ by charcoal artist Bex Williams on a Wraptious t-shirt was recently spotted being very stylishly worn by radio DJ Sara Cox on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen programme. l With the widespread interest in using digital print methods, Henries awards’ sponsor EBB Paper has added Invercote Digital to its portfolio, a solid paperboard renowned for its high quality print and finishing performance which is suitable for greeting cards.
As Paul summed up: “The business has been trading well for more than 30 years, so it was crucial for us that we found an investor who believed in the long-term growth of the company.” Paul was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying that the deal would lead to Budget expanding into the south of England and “maybe Canada”. In the short-term BGC is to open a new cash and carry outlet in Nottingham and will commence development of an online presence. The existing Budget wholesale operations operate in Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Dublin, Dunstable (soon to relocate to a new premises nearby), Gateshead and Manchester. The company had a turnover of £36 million in its last financial year and employs 180 people.
IC&G’s high ‘hops’ for Hun Bun IC&G is ramping up its presence in the cute sector with the launch of Hun Bun, created by the character maestro David Blake, creator of Boofle for UKG. “Our experience with our Barley Bear range confirmed that there is most definitely still an appetite for strong cute characters that have that ‘ahh factor’,” said Amanda Miles, IC&G’s creative director. “We recognised the potential of having a female-orientated character to sit alongside Barley who has a more unisex appeal.” Having known David and his wife and business partner Sarah for many years, Above: One of the designs in IC&G’s Hun when Amanda was presented with the Bun range. Left: The handwriting is done by David idea for Hun Bun, she and the rest of and Sarah’s youngest daughter Rosey. the IC&G team immediately fell in love Seen here with a prototype 3D Hun Bun. with the cute bunny character. From David and Sarah’s perspective, while they are still massively enjoying developing Boofle, which is now in its 11th year, as Sarah explained: “David has such a great knack of developing characters with an engaging personality. Rosey our youngest daughter has wanted us to get a rabbit for ages, but as we already have a dog, two cats and are looking after a pony, Hun Bun is our new bunny!” To keep it in the family, just as her elder sister Ella, then aged eight, provided the handwriting for Boofle, so 11 year old Rosey Blake has provided the handwriting on Hun Bun. Hun Bun has debuted on 16 designs, but this will expand on the greeting card front as well as in other directions. “We see real potential in establishing the adorable Hun Bun as a commercial character that can be licensed onto other products and become a recognisable brand,” adds Amanda.
Worldy wise Sibling businesses, Loxleys and The Sherwood Group have worked together to tackle their environmental impact and have just published a 2019 Alliance Corporate Social Responsibility report. The report, published for the second year in succession, illustrates the print businesses’ continued commitment to reducing its environmental impact, charitable work and details improvements made throughout the past year. This year’s achievements include environmental alternatives for the greeting card industry (including eco-glitter, bagless bagging and home compostable wrapping), the application of Puracoat in the packaging industry as well as the production of The Retas 2018 eco-invite, made from postconsumer coffee cup waste. Alongside this, it details how it has been another year of 0% waste to landfill for The Sherwood Group and a 21.4% reduction in IPA solvent usage at Loxleys. Anna Fawcett, The Sherwood Group marketing manager, commented: “Loxleys and Sherwood are pleased to be working together on reducing the environmental impact of our operations and products by bringing new, sustainable solutions, particularly in the area of plastic reduction. We can’t stress enough the importance and the need for this collaboration; not only between Loxleys and Sherwood, but across the whole industry, with our suppliers and customers seeking and implementing sustainable production practices and materials.” Top: The group’s 2019 Alliance Corporate Social Responsibility report. Above: (Left) Jeremy Bacon, ceo, and sales colleague Sheldon Francis, on the company’s stand at the recent Packaging Innovations show where it was showing its Puracoat sustainable packaging concept.
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