Belfast packager buys leading UK labels company

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Labelsco – the UK’s largest privately-owned printer of self-adhesive labels – has been acquired by Belfast-based packaging specialist MSO Group.

The Nottingham office of Clearwater Corporate Finance advised Labelsco on the sale. Based in Barwell, Leicestershire, the company produces labels for products in a variety of sectors, including pharmaceutical, food, beauty, household, gardening and automotive.

Labelsco was established in 1976 by chief executive Bob Robinson. Faced with tough competition and low margins, he took inspiration from the American business guru Dr W Edwards Deming, a pioneer of continuous improvement, and committed the company to a long-term improvement and investment strategy. He was joined in 1994 by Paul Larkin, the current operations director and another quality enthusiast.

Labelsco’s quest for excellence continues today and it is now recognised as a world-class organisation that is well organised, well run and technically advanced. Over the past 10 years it has won over 40 top awards in the UK, Europe, USA and internationally. The company now employs 128 people at its 65,000 sq ft premises and has a turnover of around £11 million. The sale will allow Mr Robinson to retire after over 30 years building the business.

The acquisition by MSO Group brings the number of companies in the group to five. It also owns Leicester company Hannibal Labels in Thurmaston. Other companies in the group are Cartonmaster in Middlewich and Storey Evans in Bradford.

Paul Newell, partner together with Karen Edwards, assistant director, led the Clearwater team. Newell said: “Labelsco’s heavy investment in developing working practices, processes and systems over the past three decades has resulted in it becoming a market leader. With this acquisition, MSO is adding a truly world-class company to its portfolio and one which fits in well with the other businesses in the group.”