Richard Slee, chief executive officer of print and digital communications solutions specialists Adare SEC, says the print industry is already battling with rising paper prices and Brexit could push them even higher
Has your business been impacted by Brexit?
We haven’t noticed an impact just yet. As a business, we’re insulated from most effects of Brexit because all of our business is carried out inside the UK. There is one specific area that we are concerned about, however, and that is the price of paper. Independent of Brexit, the price of paper has, after many years of being quite stable, started to rocket. We’ve had several price increases over the last eighteen months. We’re expecting to see price increases in the next twelve months irrespective of what happens with Brexit, but we’re concerned that it could contribute to raising the price of paper even further.
What is causing the rise in the cost of paper?
The rising cost is the result of a number of things. One of the big suppliers of pulp has been lost and, at the same time, the demand for paper has increased. A very sudden rejection of plastic packaging in favour of paper is largely responsible for the growth in demand. There is also a very strong demand for paper from Asia, in particular, China. So the tightening of supply and the increase in demand has offered a good opportunity for pulp and paper suppliers to increase their prices. We’re not quite sure from a market point of view when that will be rebalanced. It can only really be rebalanced when you get new pulp manufacturers into the industry, but there is no sign of that happening for the next twelve months at least. Brexit will affect exchange rates and the likelihood is it’s going to increase even further the prices that we will have to pay for paper.
How are you preparing your business for Brexit?
We are having scenario planning discussions. We are trying to plan for what will happen in different situations, but I think probably like many other companies in our position, we are finding it very difficult to do anything with any definitiveness because of the uncertainty around Brexit.
What would you like to see the Government doing to try and help SMEs like yourself through Brexit?
Get a deal! Right now that is the most important thing. That is it. There is no point on going back on why we’re in this particular position. The best thing they can do is get a deal.