18 May Carte Blanche: our 3rd acquisition in France (Apr ’22)
In recent years, DADDY KATE acquired no fewer than four printing companies. Three in France. One in Belgium. Who were they? What did they do? But above all, who are they today … and tomorrow? Today the ‘BEFORE & AFTER’ of our 3rd acquisition: Carte Blanche (December 2020).
Carte Blanche was also a true family business, founded in 1990 by Vincent Catteau’s father. At the time, the printing company was able to put itself on the map quite quickly due to clients such as the renowned French mail-order company La Redoute and DMC, one of Europe’s largest textile and industrial groups. Vincent joined the company in 1997 as a representative and took over as manager in 2004. He piloted the printing company into a new digital era. “Thanks to digital printing techniques, we were able to significantly expand the range of possibilities in terms of POS materials, which had become a bit of our speciality by working with La Redoute,” Vincent says.
“At some point it came to a rift between the other family shareholders and myself, with major consequences for the printing company and its operation,” Vincent continues. “That made the story of the takeover particularly complicated. Unfortunately. The first contacts with Daddy Kate were back in 2019. Even then, I was very impressed with their technology and machines. But due to family struggles, we could only talk further in May 2020. I did, as I did with two other companies I had worked with for 30 years. Still, I resolutely chose Daddy Kate. I particularly appreciated their human approach – not too pusillanimous.”
“I feel we were genuinely listened to,” says Vincent. “It was obvious that the printing would be done in Belgium and we would mainly be responsible for the finishing, but I was still concerned that the lack of an Epson SureColor would penalise our production. Bruno Vanderschelde (responsible Daddy Kate France, n.v.d.r.) listened to my arguments and had the device transferred to Libercourt. And that turned out to be the right choice.”
“Of course it felt a bit strange when the small Carte Blanche merged into that bigger structure with a totally different management approach,” Vincent continues. “Although I can only praise Daddy Kate. The integration of Becquart Impressions, Imprimerie Dumoulin and Carte Blanche in one location was a good move. The cross-pollination between our three teams quickly ensured growth. Together we are stronger. Today, I myself have a few clients I would never have been able to approach before.”
“Currently, Laurent, Didier and I each still manage our client portfolios of yesteryear,” Vincent explains. “That was necessary for continuity. But that commercial continuity must remain assured, even if we put a stop to our careers tomorrow. Even if we were competitors yesterday, it is now even more important to really work together as one company. For instance, we have already visited customers together a few times. Something we should do more of in the future. Sharing our know-how and expertise with each other will be focus point number one, just like strengthening the sales team.”