Hopes raised for 200 Waveney jobs

Hopes of securing 200 jobs were raised last night as a European book giant bought a struggling Waveney printing firm.An unusual deal has seen the UK boss of French firm CPI buy a personal 90pc stake in the William Clowes printing business - with his company buying the other 10pc.

Czech Republic.

CPI last week announced the closure of colour book printer Bath Press, which has sites in Bath and Glasgow. But Mr Taylor said that Clowes would not suffer the same fate. He said: "Although we were unable to save the 250 jobs in Bath and Glasgow, hopefully we can save 200 jobs in Suffolk."

Ian Foyster, who will remain as managing director of Clowes, said he was not aware of any redundancy plans and was sure the purchase would improve the company. "There will be a positive effect. It will give us a far better chance to survive and prosper.

"I think the company has improved dramatically but its problem is servicing its debt. The situation over time will improve."

He said there were no redundancy plans he was aware of, adding, "We have not looked for any redundancies."

Mr Foyster added: "Both Mike and CPI, which has taken a 10pc share, have superior buying power. They have better arrangements and systems, they can generally improve efficiency."

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The company has increased its sales by 57pc over the last two years.

Mr Foyster said: "The market continues to be very competitive and it is difficult to predict what is going to happen with the order book. What we would like to see is that we will stabilise sales and improve the business."

Mr Taylor said: "I will be involved in improving the trading performance. CPI did not want to acquire the business with its net debt, but it could acquire the business at some point in the future."

Josh Brooks, deputy editor at industry magazine PrintWeek, said: "Bath Press's planned closure is a direct result of incredibly tough competition from the Far East for printing colour books; in the UK, colour book printers are just being priced out of the market.

"But for single-colour books like novels, publishers often need very quick delivery, and this can give companies like Clowes or Clays an advantage over overseas competitors.

"Printing has had a very hard time recently, as the closure of New Jarrold Printing in Norwich last year showed. Hopefully, though, this deal will mean the end of Clowes' recent difficulties and secure its long-term future."

Last year, Clowes had a turnover of £11.4m and made a pre-tax loss of £424,000.

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