News October 5 2018

MOO eyes £100m turnover landmark

Sales at Moo Print are on course to break through the £100m barrier after increasing by more than £1m a month last year.

The London-headquartered online print specialist posted a £15.2m, or 20.2%, increase in sales to £90.25m in the year to 31 December 2017. The firm also posted its first operating profit in six years, reversing 2016’s £2m operating loss to file an operating profit of £1.8m.

Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) jumped by 54% to £4.7m.

Moo also instigated a new employee share scheme during the period, which saw all full-time employees receive share options in the business.

“Ownership is a powerful motivator. Giving everyone their own share in the business will help us attract and retain great people as we scale. It’s something we had at Moo in the beginning and we’ve brought it back to engender a greater sense of empowerment and engagement as the business continues to grow,” explained chief executive Richard Moross.

In what was an extremely busy year, the firm relocated its European production facilities in east London from Stratford to a 2,508sqm “state-of-the-art” facility in Dagenham, and also moved its web platform. Moo substantially increased its investment in tech personnel, with the number of employees overall growing from 392 to 479.

“We completed our first full year of investment upgrading our software platform. We grew total Technology people costs by 66% year-on-year to £6.4m and completed several important projects, including migrating to Amazon Web Services,” Moross stated.

He said the multi-year project would make the business “more agile and scalable” and would allow the company to “rapidly launch new physical products in the future”.

“We are looking at a number of categories and products within them that would benefit from Moo’s unique approach to design, technology and manufacturing.”

Additional products last year included hard and softcover notebooks. Moo also worked with Mohawk on a new cotton paper made from recycled T-shirts.

New kit at Dagenham included three HP Indigo digital presses, an MGI JetVarnish inkjet spot UV coater, and upgraded quality control systems.

The vast majority of Moo’s sales are now into the huge North American market, with £63.4m of sales there now accounting for 70% of total turnover, up from 64% in the prior year.

UK sales were essentially flat, at £11.5m (2016: £11.4m), while sales to the rest of Europe were up 7.4% at £11.8m.

On the subject of Brexit, Moross told PrintWeek: ”International revenues account for 87% of total, and the USA alone is 70% of revenues, so we’re fortunate that, as an international business, we have some protection over the ongoing uncertainty and any possible volatility.”

He said that Moo Business Services, which is targeted at larger clients, had grown by 47% year-on-year to £18.8m and now accounts for 20% of sales.

Large companies using the service include Airbnb and BuzzFeed.

The firm shipped more than 2m customised products during the period, while its number of customers has exceeded 770,000.

The firm beefed up its executive team with a number of senior hires last year including chairman Darren Shapland, COO Nick Ruotolo, and CFO Ed Goldfinger, leading to speculation that its longer-term ambitions could include a flotation.