First 4 expands with Vitesse buy

First 4 Print Finishing has made its first acquisition with a significant expansion into polywrapping.

The Blackburn finishing specialist, PrintWeek’s reigning SME Company of the Year, has bought Vitesse Mailing Preston and taken on its 50 staff, propelling group sales towards the £5m mark.

“They are a sizeable mailing house, are very close to us and we share some clients – so it’s a very good fit,” said First 4 managing director David Nestor.

“They also have a very good name and we will keep the name for the time being at least.”

Nestor said clients using its paper enclosing services had encouraged the firm to expand into polywrapping.

Vitesse Mailing Preston runs four polywrapping lines and First 4 is adding a fifth CMC polywrapper to its capabilities. “The plan is to concentrate our DM activity in Preston, so over the next few months most of our DM kit will move across,” Nestor explained.

Vitesse’s other services include data processing, inline and offline inkjet personalisation, laser printing, and hand enclosing and fulfilment.

As well as the deal to buy Vitesse Mailing Preston, which operates from a 2,800sqm facility, First 4 has also acquired its own existing 4,650sqm Blackburn site, home to 100 staff. The total investment is circa £1.5m.

First 4 has sales of around £3.5m, and Vitesse Preston’s turnover is just over £1m.

“We have plans to grow it, we have no intention of standing still,” Nestor added.

He said the firm had a unique market position, as it lays claim to being the UK’s largest independent bindery alongside its enclosing and now substantial polywrapping facilities.

First 4 evolved its original fold, stitch and trim offering by adding extra services to appeal to the direct mail market, including high-speed mailing lines, die-cutting, inline inserting, and enclosing.

Its customer base includes printers and end-user clients. Nestor said the firm had also just won a “significant” new contract with a mail order customer.

First 4 acquired Vitesse Mailing Preston from its private owner. The management team remains intact and will continue to run the business, reporting to Nestor and finance director Lorenzo Fardella.

Vitesse Mailing London is a separate company is not part of the deal.