Director steps in to save Yarmouth firm

A director has stepped in to save his own Yarmouth company and 24 jobs after it went in administration last month.

Ian McCreadie has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on resurrecting ScreenPrint Plus under the new name SPP Digital, which specialised in making decorative coverings for arcade games.

ScreenPrint Plus, which also made signage and digital printing products, went into administration and shed its 57-strong workforce last month because of a decline in orders over the last 18 months.

The number of orders from the gaming industry plummeted - from £350,000 to £140,000 - after the government's 2007 smoking ban and a year's delay in setting a policy of a maximum £70 payout for £1 put in a gaming machine.

The company, based on the Harfreys Industrial Estate, called in Norwich-based insolvency firm McTear Williams & Wood in the new year and had traded under its guidance before going into administration.

However, Mr McCreadie decided he would buy back the company and on Friday, it was registered at Companies House as SPP Digital.

Mr McCreadie said: "When the government brought in the smoking ban, business fell by 18pc a year and then people just would not buy arcade machines until they knew what the government line on payouts was.

"By the end of February I realised I had to get rid of 35 people and then I had to make the hard choice to go in administration," he said.

"It was an extremely difficult decision to make. Personally I feel very bitter about the way the government has handled things."

However Mr McCreadie is very upbeat about the immediate financial future of his new business and workforce as he expects to break even with £170,000 a month in orders by the end of the year.

He said: "I think the future at the moment is very secure. All our customers have stuck by us, including our foreign ones, as we have got a very, very good reputation in the gaming industry."

Mr McCreadie bought ScreenPrint Plus in 1992 for what he said was a similar amount for which he had bought it back last month.

At its height, the company employed more than 60 people and produced 18,000 items a week.

Eastern Daily Press

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