IG Design Group buys Australian card company Biscay Greetings

IG Design Group, a major supplier of own brand cards and wrap in the UK, is looking to bolster its position in the Australian greeting card market through the acquisition of Biscay Greetings, a long-established greeting card and calendar company.

Frank Pynakker, chairman of Design Group Australia (left) with Mieke and Lou Smit of Biscay.
Frank Pynakker, chairman of Design Group Australia (centre) with Mieke and Lou Smit of Biscay.

The £5.5 million acquisition, which is due to be completed on January 8, has been spearheaded by IG Design Group’s Australian joint venture business, Artwrap (DG Australia).

Melbourne-based Biscay Greetings, which has been trading for over 30 years, is owned by Lou and Mieke Smit. The publisher has been successful in supplying the value end of the market in Australia and New Zealand with greeting cards, wrappings and calendars that are printed both in Australia and the Far East.

Paul Fineman, ceo of IG Design Group, has made no secret of the fact that, especially following a sterling set of financial results, and celebrated that the company was at long last ‘debt free’, that it was looking for acquisition opportunities globally.

He confirmed that the acquisition complements Design Group’s existing operations in Australia and “will approximately double the Group’s already strong share in the value channel of the greeting card market there, providing cross selling opportunities. It will add to our capabilities in this growing and higher margin category for Design Group as well as further diversifying the Group geographically.”

Of Biscay’s approximate 2,000 customers, Paul said that “nearly half are entirely new for DG Australia – this therefore enhances our Group’s market share.”

Above: IG Design Group’s ceo Paul Fineman (right) and Anthony Lawrinson, chief financial officer, wearing their ‘debt free’ t-shirts after the group announced its impressive results.
Above: IG Design Group’s ceo Paul Fineman (right) and Anthony Lawrinson, chief financial officer, wearing their ‘debt free’ t-shirts after the group announced its impressive results.

In the year to 30 June 2017 Biscay Greetings generated sales of AUD13.4 million with an operating profit before tax of AUD2.9 million.

In the last financial year, IG Design Group generated sales of £33.6 million through its Australian company (compared to the £114.1 million it achieves in the UK), but has highlighted Australia as a market with growth potential. Its business in Australia accounted for 11% of the Group’s turnover. In the last year it appointed a new ceo in David Birch to its Australian division (while retaining Frank Pynakker, founder of Artwrap as chairman) as well as winning a large three year contract to supply Australia’s largest discount chain with single greeting cards.

 

 

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