Duncan Print Group acquires Bridger Packaging

Lucy Neave

Duncan Print Group has acquired fellow Hertfordshire business Bridger Packaging to support its strategy to grow its packaging business to £10m annual sales.

As part of the deal, which was completed on 8 June, all 26 staff and the machinery of circa £3m-turnover Letchworth-based Bridger Packaging are in the process of transferring to Duncan Print Group’s 5,574sqm premises, which are based on a 12,077sqm freehold site in Welwyn Garden City.

With a turnover of around £6.5m, Duncan Print Group had employed 50 staff; the acquisition increases the group’s headcount to 76.

Each business runs a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL litho press as well as Bobst die-cutting and gluing equipment.

Duncan Print Group managing director James Duncan said Bridger Packaging was a fantastic addition to the group that would bring “a wealth of experience and skill to our site as well as an impressive kit list that will add significant firepower to our production and excellent cover across all departments”.

He told Printweek: “Because they are a local packaging company to us, we have had conversations previously but now was just the right time. They had been a target for us for a while.

“Although they are slightly smaller than us, they have basically got the same kit, so we’re doubling the size of our capacity and production, and we hope from these we should be hitting close to £10m.”

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He added: “We’ve recently invested in some of the latest Bobst kit and they did exactly the same about a year later, so our operators can work across both machines very easily and there’s no re-training required.

“We also had some vacancies in our production team, and this has filled that perfectly for us, so there really isn’t any duplication.”

The group is currently recruiting in the areas of customer service, pre-press, and sampling/packaging design.

Duncan said Bridger Packaging managing director Lawrence Bridger “will be supporting us for a while yet”, and that the Bridger Packaging name and branding would be retained.

Bridger said: “I am delighted to have been able to conclude the deal with the Duncan Print Group. I have every hope that a similar family-owned and run company will be able to afford our customers the same, or even better, levels of innovation, quality, and service.

“Furthermore, all current employees have been able to continue their employment with Duncan Print Group. I take this opportunity to thank all customers, suppliers, and employees for their loyal support over the many years of trading with the three generations of the Bridger family.”

The acquisition is Duncan Print Group’s second in recent times – around 18 months ago it acquired folding carton specialist E J Wood – and Duncan said the business was always open to other acquisition opportunities.

Serving startups and large international businesses in the homeware, drinks, cosmetics, and medical sectors, Duncan Print Group offers in-house design, prototyping, and production of packaging and commercial print marketing products.

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