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Jobs on way after buy-out is sealed; In association with RBS.

Byline: By Graeme King

ONE of the region's biggest packaging companies has been bought out by a Midlands giant in a multi-million pound deal - and is now looking to double its sales to pounds 35m.

Integrated Packaging, with 180 staff at its Team Valley base in Gateshead, has been acquired by the Benson Group from Leicestershire.

The deal comes exactly 30 years after Integrated was formed by owner Alan Hall and follows the company's first inclusion in The Journal's Top 250 listing of the North-East's biggest businesses.

The company will remain an independently run business, under the leadership of general manager Andrew Pybus, though with advice from Benson executives when required.

Sales of pounds 18m at Integrated will take Benson's total turnover to around pounds 85m and its employee numbers will soar to over 700.

At Integrated itself, Mr Pybus is aiming to take sales to pounds 35m inside five years, and invest around pounds 6m or pounds 7m in new technology to achieve that. He also says staff numbers will soar over 200 in the not too distant future.

Mr Pybus said: "These are exciting times for us. Alan Hall set up the business from his garage 30 years ago, and has now chosen to sell out.

"Investment from Benson Group will be fairly substantial as we want to double our output."

The Benson Group also owns PDG in Newcastle, which it acquired in June last year, a business called Medica in Crewe, Cheshire, and its own operations in Leicestershire.

The addition of Integrated to the Benson stable will help to improve the company's position among the top three carton manufacturers in the UK.

Benson has pledged that all the 180 jobs at Integrated are secure with the company aiming to invest further to drive expansion at the site.

Mark Kerridge, managing director of Benson Group, said: "Integrated Packaging has responded to highly competitive market conditions by investing in facilities, equipment and staff development. A partnership with Benson Group will help build on that position and escalate the achievement of ambitious targets.

"We have seen good organic growth in our business overall and the acquisitions have enabled significant growth.

"We have been pleased by the rapid integration of both Medica and PDG into the group and look forward to that pattern being repeated with Integrated. A positive investment for growth strategy is paying dividends particularly in terms of maximising capacity across all sites."

Integrated Packaging was established in 1977 and serves customers including food manufacturers Bakkavor and Northern Foods.

The company has a purpose-built facility occupying 120,000sq ft next to the A1 on the Team Valley Trading Estate.

Integrated Packaging has responded to the loss of contracts to eastern European competition by improving its efficiency, investing in technology and cutting staff costs.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2007
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