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Bungay: Clays parent group St Ives reports growth in sales and margins

10:00 18 June 2014

The Clays book printing operation in Bungay.

The Clays book printing operation in Bungay.

Print and marketing services group St Ives today reported a 7.5% increase in reveue for the first four months of its new financial year.

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Group-wide sales for the 17 weeks to May 30 totalled £106.8million, with the increase attributed to organic and acquisition growth within its marketing services business of 6.4% and 37.8% respectively.

“We continue to benefit from our repositioning strategy as we build a range of added value marketing services whilst exiting the commoditised print markets,” said St Ives in a trading update.

“Group operating margin has improved versus the prior year and should continue to do so as the revenue mix changes in line with our strategy.”

St Ives said all of its marketing services businesses had deliverted a strong performance during the period, with recent acquisitions Realise Digital (a digital marketing business acquired March 2014) and Hive Health (a healthcare communications business acquired last month) both being successfully integrated into the group.

Total revenue in print where the group’s interests include Bungay-based book printer Clays, a member of the EADT/EDP Top100 was lower than the equivalent period last year, although this was due primarily to the sale of the group’s direct mail printing business last October. However, on a like-for-like basis, excluding the effect of the disposal, revenue grew by 7.9%.

“Our focus continues to be on ensuring we target new print business where service and quality are important requirements, rather than commoditised volumes which are differentiated on price alone,” St Ives said.

“We have successfully restructured our print operations and will continue to invest in the remaining businesses to improve the range and quality of the services we offer to our customers.”

Looking ahead, the group added: “St Ives’ financial position remains strong and we are very pleased with the progress we have made to reposition the group in what has been a challenging trading environment.

“The group is well placed to continue improving its financial performance through investment for organic growth and targeted acquisitions to further expand our marketing services offering.”

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