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Smiths' name no longer fits as it diversifies

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

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One of the West Country's biggest firms has revealed this week that it is changing its name.

Swindon-based Smiths News PLC, which was the ninth biggest firm in the region in the Western Daily Press Business Guide 2014, with a turnover of £1.8 billion and almost 5,000 staff, will be known as Connect Group PLC from next month. It said it is in line with its strategy, to become a more broadly diversified specialist distribution business, beyond its staple of the wholesale delivery of newspapers.

Since becoming an independent company in September 2006 it said it has made substantial progress transforming from a pure newspaper and magazine distributor to a larger and more diversified business.

It said: "The change in name both reflects our progress and ambition, to succeed by connecting suppliers and customers in an efficient, knowledgeable and service oriented way. Connect Group's strategic ambition remains to deliver 50 per cent of operating profit from outside of newspaper and magazine wholesaling by 2016."

Companies within the group will not change their name or identity. It is made up of Smiths News and Dawson Media Direct, Bertrams, Dawson Books, Wordery, The Consortium and West Mercia Supplies

The name change will take effect from Tuesday, April 22.

Connect Group PLC will announce its half year results for the six months ended February 28, 2014 on Wednesday, April 23.

Mark Cashmore, chief executive, said: "Our new name and company identity is a landmark change for the group. Since 2006 we have made substantial progress in growing market share and successfully diversifying."

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