Direct mailing firm blames Blue Planet II for collapse

plastic1A direct mail specialist print firm – which has been trading since 1978 – has blamed the fall-out from the BBC’s Blue Planet II and the so-called Plastic Tide – as well as the effects of GDPR – for a sharp decline in business which has ultimately resulted in the company going into administration.
Loughborough-based Sunline Direct Mail, which offers mailing and polywrapping, data management, enclosing, and response handling, has appointed administrator Moorfields Advisory following a failed attempt to sell the business earlier this month.
The mailing division in Loughborough has already ceased trading, while its logistics division CYNC, based in Nottingham, is being kept afloat while customers make new logistics arrangements. Over 130 jobs are under threat.
Moorfields Advisory partner Simon Thomas said: “It is unfortunate that we have been unable to find a buyer for Sunline Direct Mail. Unfortunately the rise in digital marketing and new legislation surrounding GDPR are likely to hinder a number of printing and data companies. We will now facilitate the shutdown of the mailing division and explore a trade-out of the CYNC division.”
According to Companies House, Sunline turned over £7.9m in 2016 – £1m up on 2015 – but made a loss of £379,000. Last year, turnover was down to less than £6.7m with net liabilities of almost £2.6m.
Earlier this month, parent company Chelverton Equity Partners said improved efficiency and automation had helped Sunline cope with a “continued gentle downturn in the direct mail polywrap market”.
It said there had also been investment over the past two years to grow the letter and paper part of the business to the point where they were expected to overtake plastic mail wrapping services next year.
However, at the time Chelverton Equity Partners said: “The impact of the introduction of GDPR – as highlighted by the Royal Mail in its recent results – coupled with the reaction to the plastics debate prompted by the BBC’s Blue Planet series, have had an impact on the sector more than Sunline can stand in its current form.
“As a result, the order book is not filling at the rate that management would expect it to at this time of year for the ‘golden period’ from August to November, and the business is likely to require significant amounts of additional funding to move forward.”
The move follows fears first raised by Decision Marketing that the DM industry was not doing enough to raise tackle the use of plastics in direct mail campaigns, from polywrapping and plastic postcards to laminated mailshots and coated papers.
The DMA even admitted it was too busy helping companies comply with new data legislation to act. Bosses conceded that the issue is not even on its agenda.
Meanwhile data specialist Blueberry Wave recently signed a sponsorship deal with Kite Britain, a charitable adventure designed to raise funds for young people and marine conservation around the British coastline. And the BBC is bolstering its fight against “single use” plastic by launching a major initiative, dubbed Plastics Watch,  aimed at helping British consumers to reduce plastic pollution.

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