St Ives, the book and magazine printer worth 350 million pounds (much in part because of its role in printing the Harry Potter novels in the UK) said yesterday that it was open to bid offers and would consider breaking up the group, reports the Times. The announcement came as St Ives reported a 25 per cent drop in half-year profits. Miles Emley, chairman of St Ives, said that he would “not rule out” bids and would look at any sensible offers for parts of the business after admitting that severe competitive pressures in the core magazine, brochure and catalogue business was forcing it to consider other strategies.
Emley said that increasing pressure from the rival printers Polestar and Prinovis, the German group, had meant that St Ives, which prints The Economist and Time Out, was struggling to compete in the long print-run market. Both Polestar and Prinovis recently built new gravure print plants, which Emley said gave them a competitive edge. Despite this, St Ives expects the underlying trading performance for the year as a whole to be ahead of the previous year.