Bath Press may move into France

Bath Press Group, the book printer that was founded by the inventor of shorthand, Sir Issac Pitman, is aiming to expand into France within a year and intends to partly fund any acquisition with a rights issue.

The company, which came to the market two years ago, said yesterday it could spend only around pounds 3m in cash, and would therefore need to launch a rights issue if it pulled off its plans for expansion. Bath Press, which bought Proost, the Belgian book printer last August, has already held informal talks with several operators in the French market.

Roy Hill, the company's chief executive, said in the longer term he may look at taking the company into mass-market paperbacks through acquisition. Bath Press prints academic books and retail non-fiction.

Reporting a 92 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 5.5m for the year to the end of March, Mr Hill said yesterday he would order a pounds 1.8m printing press in Glasgow towards the end of the year and a new binding plant would be installed in the Bath centre this month.