Attleborough-based Colchester Print Group has closed with the loss of 35 jobs

Colchester Print Group

Colchester Print Group - Credit: Archant

An employee-owned commercial print business which had been trading in Norfolk for 40 years has closed, leading to the loss of 35 jobs.

Workers at Attleborough-based Colchester Print Group, which also had an office in Bury St Edmunds were dismissed on Wednesday when they were told the company had ceased trading.

Chief executive and founder Philip Colchester said sales had 'plummeted' over the last month, and had been about a third of their normal level for the last two or three weeks.

The 62-year-old, whose two daughters also worked at the firm, said: 'I just felt that it was getting tougher and tougher and there seemed to be a real downturn in commercial print in the number of orders coming through in the last month.'

The company, based at Haverscroft Industrial Estate, was founded as Breckland Print in 1976. It acquired Bury St Edmunds-based Moreton Hall Press in 1999 when it became Colchester Print.

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It had moved into majority employee ownership in 2014, in a bid to secure its future, and a trust was set up. But Mr Colchester blamed an industry-wide fall in commercial print for the company's demise.

He said: 'I still maintain [employee ownership] is a very good business structure; however the marketplace conspired against us.

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'It's heartbreaking after 40 years to have to end like this.'

Projects at Colchester Print had included summer visitors' guides for Buckingham Palace, and commemorative stamps after the 2012 London Olympics.

Andrew Kelsall, insolvency partner at accountancy firm Larking Gowen, has been advising the directors. He said the company had ceased trading, and was likely to go into liquidation.

'The directors said it is a very competitive market and the lead time for work is quite short,' he said.

'Work dropped off and going forward the directors considered they would not be able to meet their obligations and decided to cease trading before they got to that point.'

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