A YORK printworks which closed suddenly earlier this year after its parent company went into administration has reopened under new ownership.

One hundred jobs were lost and creditors blockaded the premises when York Mailing at Elvington shut in March.

Walstead Group, the biggest independent web offset printing group in Europe, has since bought the site's old printing machinery and created a new company, Walstead York, as it tests the waters over customer demand in the commercial web market.

The York Mailing site specialised in press finished products and had been the most profitable of York Mailing Group’s three subsidiaries.

Roy Kingston, chief operating officer at Walstead Group, stressed that it had not purchased the three businesses, including the one based in York. "They went into administration and closed," he said.

"The administrator made all employees redundant.

"Walstead purely purchased the assets, mainly printing machinery, most of which is being transferred to our companies in the UK and Europe."

He said businesses going bust wasn’t unusual, but a 'business closing and then being resurrected is very unusual and it’s a whole new challenge.'

He said the York business was operational, running work from existing Walstead sites initially whilst it looked to win new sales.

About 40 people were employed at the site, which was unlikely to expand further at this stage due to the nature of the demand, and the company was taking a 'cautious approach.'

He said earlier this summer that the site hopefully had a bright future, albeit on a much smaller scale at this point.

“Whether it’s ex-York work or not, we believe there must be significant commercial/retail work in the market to suit the format of the presses York had," he said.

“Although we think it’s unlikely it will be on a huge scale, the York factory is big enough to house reasonable volume, but small enough not to be a disaster if it didn’t work. 

"The site’s in nice condition and the presses meet the sort of marketing profile that we think might be out there.”

Mr Kingston said then that he aimed to start up with limited shifts, probably 72 hours in the first week, with a crew that could run either press and sufficient people to handle pre-press and maintenance.

“It gives us a chance to get everything working properly," he said. "People left the site very quickly [when it was closed] so there’s a bit of work to do.

“It should be quite a nice business, and it’s exciting for us to get into a slightly different market in terms of format.

"I’m confident and the UK team seem confident in terms of sales, but it may take a while.”