Filofax buys competitor

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FILOFAX, the stationery company turned around by new management and a cash injection, has consolidated its dominant position in the personal organiser market by buying its up-market competitor Lefax.

The company is to pay Quarto, the publishing group, a total of pounds 1.225m cash for Lefax and its French and US subsidiaries.

Robin Field, chief executive of Filofax, said he wanted to expand the Filofax brand into the middle market in the United States, while Lefax secured the top end.

'The sales of the Lefax Group are currently only a tenth of those of the Filofax brand, but its reputation for quality, innovation and customer loyalty are second to none,' he said.

'The brand has never really had an opportunity to reach its potential - and we're the only appropriate people to help bring it forward.'

Lefax's shops in Paris and London - and its staff - will be retained, although Mr Field said there were benefits of synergy to be had from the merger.

'This acquisition exactly fits our declared strategy of buying complementary businesses whose products can be directed through our existing distribution channels and whose own distribution network can accept our products.'

Filofax emerged from the red this year, after suffering in the late 1980s, declaring pre-tax profits of pounds 552,000 for the 15 months to 31 March. Its shares held steady at 45p yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)