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Headley Brothers brand to disappear after 136 years amid rescue deal for 100 staff

Headley Brothers, one of Kent’s historic printing brands, is set to disappear after more than a century following a sale of the troubled firm.

The company, founded in 1881, has been sold to Oxfordshire print business Henry Stones after tumbling into administration earlier today, in a deal which will rescue 113 jobs.

Headley Brothers signage has already been removed from its premises in Ashford where it had been based since a fire burned down its former home in 1906.

The Headley Brothers brand is due to disappear after 136 years
The Headley Brothers brand is due to disappear after 136 years

Branding for the new owner Stones Ashford, a newly-created subsidiary of Henry Stones, is imminently expected to be placed above the site in Queens Road known as the Invicta Press.

Headley Brothers put itself up for sale in January after losses reached £1.8 million last year.

The company made 85 of its 190 staff redundant last month.

Steve Adshead, partner at Smith & Williamson, which handled the sale, said: “Headley Brothers was a well-established business with a strong customer base.

“Regrettably, Headley Brothers had to make a number of redundancies in February following the sudden loss of its largest customer which accounted for about 25% of production output.

Printing business Headley Brothers was put up for sale in January and bought out of administration in March, when it became Stones Ashford
Printing business Headley Brothers was put up for sale in January and bought out of administration in March, when it became Stones Ashford

“However, we are pleased to have reached a favourable conclusion by achieving our aim of finding a buyer able to take the business forward as a going concern and safeguard 113 jobs.”

The sale to Henry Stones was funded by venture capital firm Thames Valley Capital.

Simon Bingham, managing director of Headley Brothers, said: “I am delighted that the sale has concluded and with the help and support of Smith and Williamson secured the future of our business as Stones Ashford.

“We can now continue to focus on our clients and their needs as we make plans to move forward.”

The Headley Brothers'/ Stones print works in Ashford
The Headley Brothers'/ Stones print works in Ashford
Headley Brothers signs were removed from the premises in March
Headley Brothers signs were removed from the premises in March

Richard Walsh, managing director of Henry Stones, added: “The strategic fit and geographical location will allow for increased capacity and a wider product offering to all our customers.”

Headley Brothers was founded by brothers Herbert and Burgess Headley to print paper bags, bill heads and circulars for Ashford businesses.

The venture was such a success the brothers decided to launch a newspaper, releasing the Kent Examiner & Ashford Chronicle with Barham Boorman, who was also founder of the Kent Messenger.


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