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Printers plan to double turnover.

Byline: By James Barton

PRINTING and packaging company Potts Printers plans to create 70 jobs in the next two years on the back of a pounds 4m investment programme.

The business, at Cramlington in Northumberland, works in commercial print, bespoke carton packaging and direct marketing and is planning to double turnover to pounds 15m by 2010.

The 131-year-old company has embarked on this impressive growth under the stewardship of owner, chairman and chief executive Michael Sandford-Couch, who took over from his father Stuart Couch in 1995.

It has moved from South Shields to a purpose-built 50,000sq ft plant on Nelson Park Industrial Estate to cope with the expansion, which is expected to add 70 staff to its 110-strong workforce.

The company has bought a 50,000sq ft site there to build another plant as business grows.

It is a significant change for a firm which in 1998 had a turnover of less than pounds 1m and employed fewer than 20 people.

Marketing director John Conway said: "As a business we were a highly respected commercial printers that worked with a North-East customer base.

"But a decision was made in the 1990s to not rest on our laurels but to push for growth. Since then, the business has steadily grown and we have invested heavily broadening our offering on national basis into packaging and direct marketing. We are now targeting UK-wide business, which has resulted in us winning customers such as Parker Pens, which is based in Newhaven on the south coast.

"There are about 13,000 printers in the UK, so it is a very competitive market, therefore the print industry has suffered from a reduction in marg ins.

"To counter this, our expansion has been all about building on the excellent relationships we have with our existing client base, relationships developed over 30 years in some cases, winning new national blue chip customers and investing in more packaging and printing equipment so we can offer more services in-house, adding value as a result.

"We now own machines that manufacture display cartons for the giftware, cosmetic and food and beverages sectors, and the very best commercial printing equipment enabling us to carry out a full range of printing."

Packaging capability accounts for 20 per cent of sales. "We have also invested in new computer aided design and sample making equipment which enables us to work very closely with customers on packaging design or win new business by producing an actual prototype model of our ideas for potential customers."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 28, 2006
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