Latest News

Melbourne printers take control of Waratah

Wednesday, 05 July 2017
By Graham Osborne

Moody Aboughattas, MD, Waratah Group.

Five Melbourne printers have bought out the Chinese investors who held a 50 percent share in Docklands print powerhouse Mercedes Waratah.

The five new co-owners – brothers Moody and Abbey Aboughattas, Mercedes Waratah COO Brett Chalmers, Steve Kernahan and Craig Bradley – were the original owners of the former Docklands Press.

They’ve now taken 100 percent ownership of Mercedes Waratah and have rebranded the company as Waratah Group.

The buyout is the culmination of a long-running saga that began several years ago with the departure of the well-known Todisco family from their iconic Mercedes Waratah and M&M Binders business in Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne.

In a complex deal, the Docklands Group acquired the company in partnership with Melbourne printer Michael Wu, who was backed by the Chinese investors.

Just over a year later, Wu suddenly left the business amid accusations that he had mislead his partners in the deal.

Wu’s Chinese backers were still owed money and took control of Wu’s share in the company.

“When Michael left, he owed them money so they took his 50 percent share of the business,” says an insider. “But they were not really interested in printing and didn’t really want to be involved. They were just owed money and held the shares, so they were happy to sell.”

‘The future looks good’: Brett Chalmers, Waratah Group

“That’s all in the past now and we’ve moved on,” says Chalmers, who’s also one of the owners of Waratah’s Data Direct business. “We bought out the Chinese investors about a month ago and it’s an exciting time for us. Morale is pretty high and the future looks good.”

Chalmers declined to put a figure on the buyout, other than to say: “It was a pretty big purchase.”

Docklands Ability Group – trading as Mercedes Waratah – announced the rebranding in a press release.

Docklands Ability Group announces that as 1st July 2017, it has changed it company name to Waratah Group.  The goal of the name change is to leverage the strength of its offset and digital product offerings and to align its corporate and product branding.

 Waratah Group has adopted its new identity as a statement of the brand value of its communication and production capability.  The name Waratah Group will embrace offset production, and the digital offering will be known as Waratah Digital.  It reflects the expanded offering we now have as a group. Both entities will trade as Waratah Group.

“We have been pursuing the development of a strong corporate identity that will represent our company and its products and services to our clients and prospects, says Moody Aboughattas, managing director. “Whilst our company name is changing, all core elements and values of the business will remain. Waratah Group will continue to provide our clients with quality print in the method, offset or digital, that best suits their needs.”

Along with the name change, Waratah Group has adopted a new logo and visual identity and a new website.

The company, which includes Data Direct Australia, Embassy Print Solutions and WaiveStar, employs about 150 full-time staff at its Docklands headquarters.

Screenshot from the new Waratah Group website





Comment on this article

To receive notification of comments made to this article, you can also provide your email address below.