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Medica and Curtis join forces LATEST COMMENTS ON PRINTWEEK

“Curtis is a tremendous business, it has been very successful over the years. Both businesses are very complementary,” said Medica managing director Gerard Harford.

“Part and parcel of the MBO was looking at ways to grow the business,” said Harford [and being part of a] larger group will give both a stronger market presence and there are opportunities to learn from each other’s strengths.”

Both businesses will retain their branding and the Curtis management team, led by managing director James Williams, commercial director Ben Curtis, and sales director Steve Mallet will continue to head the Redhill-based business, although their board will be bolstered by Harford and Medica finance director Mark Stokes.

The acquisition came about after an introduction by Harwood Capital, the private equity group that supported Harford and Stokes’ MBO of Medica in December 2020. As a result of the intro, the two businesses began talking around six months ago and Medica’s owner, Medication Packaging Holdco completed its purchase of F.G. Curtis from the Curtis family on 1 March.

Medica operates from a single site in Crewe, Cheshire and its 149 staff generate sales of circa £18m, while 95-staff Curtis, which moved to a new factory five years ago, is nudging sales of £20m.

According to Harford, while the two business operate in different packaging markets, there are strong similarities in terms of scale, kit and culture and the deal represents significant growth opportunities for both.

Medica and Curtis join forces LATEST COMMENTS ON PRINTWEEK

“We’re both in high-added value, niche areas, cosmetics, personal care, healthcare [for Curtis] and we’re in pharmaceutical, healthcare and overlap a little into personal care, so there are some common areas. And of course, we’re both using the same equipment, the same board suppliers, same inks etc.”

The deal was financed by Harwood, with additional funding from Shawbrook Bank.

Williams said the sale was driven by the Curtis family looking to divest the business, which has almost trebled in size in the past five years, to help fuel its further growth as it rides the wave of growth in the beauty sector, partly driven by new contract wins as brands reshore production.

“We’re bursting at the seams a little bit, and I think with the right investments then we take the business to the next level,” he added.

“At a basic level, they [Medica] like what we do, we’re good at what we do and they want help us get better. We could not be more pleased, two long established British carton companies coming together to forge a bright future.”

Harford said in the coming months they would review the investment requirements at Curtis, but that there were no immediate spends earmarked for the operation, which he described as being well invested by the previous owners.

“Also, at Medica itself we’re just in the middle of implementing a Komori GX40, which we’ve taken delivery of that in the past couple of weeks.”

The B1 six-colour plus coater GX40 is a direct replacement for older Komori S40. The highly automated 18,000sph press is configured with inline inspection.

“Because it’s newer technology, it certainly increases capacity,” Harford added.

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