Readers with long memories might recall an item about Harlands of Hull in East Yorkshire, which appeared in the December 2003 issue. It mentioned that the venerable firm — established in 1832 no less — had been rescued from near oblivion by a management buy out. At the time I wrote: “The amazing thing is that the Harlands name — which is not unknown in the USA — has survived at all. At one time Harlands was a relatively stable family run business. It specialized in producing self-adhesive labels, leaflet labels and multi-layer peel and read products for niche sectors. After a decade of upheavals involving three separate takeovers and all that implies, it has regained its independence from Grenadier Holdings, the Irish-owned pan-European document printing, labels and print management arm of Moore Paragon.”
Of course you know what’s coming. Yup! You’ve guessed it. Yet another new owner. The sixth since 1995 when Sonoco briefly held the reins. This time it is the specialist packaging division of the Clondalkin Group, who obviously felt that the management team had done a fine job in getting the company back on track. Clondalkin produces cartons, labels, leaflet inserts and plastic cards. In the UK it owns Boxes Prestige, Boxes GH and Ditone Labels. In Ireland it has Guy & Co. and Guysal. In the Netherlands it is represented by Boxes LPFC and Linde, by Boxes Prestige in Poland,and in the USA it owns BBF Labels and Plastic Cards & Inserts.
In his formal statement, Ian Wright, managing director of Harlands, referred to the benefits of being part of a group with “extensive product market geography and technology reach.” He also mentioned Clondalkin’s strong development and experience in Eastern Europe. “This is a fast growing market for us, and we will be able to access Clondalkin’s existing manufacturing base and experience in these markets to improve Harlands products service, supply and delivery.” John Fitzgerald, CEO of the division, said Clondalkin will continue to develop Harlands’ established position into the UK.” He added that there are plans to increase Harlands’ development in Eastern European markets by adding local manufacturing capacity to complement the Polish manufacturing operation.
Last December the company commissioned a new MPS 300 UV flexo/screen combination press to compete for high quality business in the health and beauty sector. It said the press would offer buyers an acceptable alternative to offset to serve its largest market. Other major markets include toiletries, alcoholic beverages and premium food markets.