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Gloucestershire Business News

130 jobs saved after £20m turnover firm rescued from administration

Jobs at a Gloucester firm with 130-plus staff and a £20 million turnover look to be safe after it was rescued from administration one a competitor.

Swan Mill Group, the parent company of Ling Design, has announced the acquisition of the goodwill and assets of The Great British Card Company (GBCC).

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will see the union of two of the UK's largest independent greetings card publishers.

Swan Mill, which trades as Swantex, also owns the luxury gift packaging brand Penny Kennedy and will now have a group turnover of over £70 million specialising in 'ink on paper' products.

David Byk, CEO of Swan Mill, said: "This acquisition, four years after Swan Mill acquired Ling Design, is a momentous and very exciting step for us. It brings together two great UK companies which will open up huge possibilities for all the UK regional, national and charity customers as well as our strong export channel.

"Our salesforce has been asking us ever since we took over Ling Design to look at brokerage and this gives us a vehicle to meet this desire. We also have some exciting plans to work with new publishers to further diversify our offer.

"We are very pleased to be able to give the loyal employees of GBCC the surety of the backing of the group and our commitment to their fantastic brands such as Paperhouse, Avanti, Medici and Almanac.

"We are very confident that, through our new shared expertise, we will be able to stabilise, grow and strengthen GBCC and continue to deliver first-rate greetings cards to all of our customers.

"It is very early days and further announcements will follow but rest assured our first priorities are to reassure the team, get Christmas out of the door and get our merchandisers into all customer accounts."

According to Ling the move "will result in these two complimentary publishers continuing to offer the best in UK greetings card design with each company providing individual and unique looks and licensing partnerships, supplying different categories and strengths".

GBCC's customers should be "assured" of the firm's "commitment to continue to supply outstanding greetings cards".

In addition, GBCC's Waterwell brokerage customers can look forward to the GBCC fixtures being consistently filled and merchandised with exceptional designs, with additional breadth and variety added from the Ling Design studio in Bath as and when required.

GBCC will continue to operate separately to Ling Design with sales, operations and customer services for both teams continuing to supply excellent service to all customers.

As this news comes at a crucial time of year when Christmas orders are due with customers, the group is confident that GBCC's boxed cards are now ready to be directly shipped and this will restart in the next few days with singles very close behind.

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