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Leeds Group Acquires Crowson's Calprina Printing Business

August 2, 2000

Guiseley, Leeds (UK) - Leeds Group plc has acquired Calprina, the textile printing business of Crowson Fabrics. The move secures for Leeds Group ''preferred supplier'' status with Crowson.

Although the Calprina name is still being used at present, much of the workforce and equipment (flat-bed and rotary printing machines) have been transferred from Stalybridge, Cheshire, to Leeds' main printing facility Strines in Stockport.

Crowson of Uckfield, East Sussex, purchased Calprina from Coats Viyella in 1997 to secure the supply of U.K.-based printing services that it believed were critical to its market success.

Crowson sales director Matthew Crew admitted that although a significant amount had been invested in Calprina, Crowson did not have the monetary resources to further develop the business.

''We felt it was more appropriate to put it in the hands of a company who could develop it forward. The sale allows us to focus on our core competence, which is the converting business,'' said Crew.

Leeds Group chief executive Chris Marsden said the company purchased Calprina from Crowson with the intention of strengthening its position as a leading supplier to the quality segment of the home furnishings market. ''We see the future for domestically-based manufactured printing in upmarket products at the quality end of the market,'' said Marsden. ''This basically means vat dyeing and quality furnishings. The bottom line is that we in the U.K. can not compete with cheap imports of ready-made curtains.''

The new partnership with Crowson combines the strengths of both businesses and ensures the continuation of supply from a specialized printing group, according to Marsden.

''We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement with Crowson Fabrics, who represent one of the U.K. market leaders in home furnishings. Partnerships of this nature provide the ideal platform to meet the ever increasing customer demands going forward into the next decade.''

He added: ''The closure of Calprina has allowed us to consolidate the business on the one site at Strines. There is room for expansion at the quality end for the right suppliers in the U.K.''

Acquired by Leeds Group about 10 years ago, Strines is a specialist printer in reactive and vat dyeing of quality furnishings and upmarket apparel fabrics.

The group also owns Walsden Printing in Todmorden, Lancashire, a pigment printer of predominantly furnishing fabrics with wide-width capacity; and Nemesis, based near Milan, Italy, a large, high output unit for pigment printing of garden furniture and general furnishings. F&FI

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