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Australia’s biggest digital printer – On Demand – goes into liquidation

Wednesday, 29 October 2014
By Patrick Howard
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Bruce Peddlesden pleads ill health as Michael Wu, Ability Press, leads a team of On Demand senior management in operating the Port Melbourne-based business under a service agreement.

A new company, Production Print (Aust) is running the business under an agreement with On Demand but whether it continues will be subject to the decision of Bent & Cougle, the liquidator. Currently the business is operating normally but Michael Wu confirmed he has yet to speak with the liquidator.

The shock fall from grace for the iconic business, long regarded as Australia’s largest digital printing company, is likely to spark a storm of criticism, especially from other Melbourne printers who have competed with Peddlesden over the years. He maintains the business is viable and could continue if he had his health but circumstances have forced him to look for an alternative way to keep the operation going.

Obviously there are serious financial issues with Peddlesden citing the disastrous acquisition of fellow digital operator, DPA, a couple of years ago as a catalyst for the current problems. He admits faulty due diligence with the result that the expected revenue did not eventuate.

Despite going straight to liquidation, Peddlesden says the current service agreement is the best hope for the staff to retain their jobs and if it all works out, keep their entitlements.

Given the scale of the business, the status of machinery leases and paper supply, the liquidation will have substantial impacts on the industry. It’s understood the large Océ ColorStream 3500 inkjet, the 1st in Australia, has been transferred to the new operating company in a separate agreement. Peddlesden hopes the other equipment leases can also be swopped across.

As the business was on credit watch and operating on a cash basis for some time, the exposure of paper suppliers and others is understood to be limited. The ATO and Fuji Xerox are two of the major creditors.

The continuing operation of OnDemand under the new arrangements is far from a done deal. The liquidators will be fielding multiple offers from other Melbourne printers for whom the OnDemand business is a jewel in the crown. The customer list is one of the most prestigious in the industry and the technology has always been at the cutting edge.

“Look, if I had an alternative I’d keep fighting but I need to take some serious time away to look after my health,” said Peddlesden. “I know I’ll cop a lot of criticism for this but I’m happy that the staff at least have an opportunity to keep their jobs.

Hamish MacKinnon and Michael Quin, from Bent & Cougle, the liquidators, did not get back in time before publication.

 Following publication of this report, Print21 was contacted by Jaco van Staden, Sales Director, On Demand Print Pty Ltd, based in Cromer, Sydney. He wanted to emphasize there is no relationship between his company and Bruce Peddlesden’s in Melbourne. “In fact, we’re having our best year yet,” he said.

 
 

 

6 Responses to “Australia’s biggest digital printer – On Demand – goes into liquidation”

  1. October 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm,

    said:

    That is sad news indeed.

    May I please point out that there is no relationship between On-Demand Melbourne and On Demand Print Pty Ltd, based in Cromer, Sydney. We are doing just fine.

    Jaco van Staden
    Sales Director
    02 8467 1520

  2. October 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm,

    Andy McCourt
    said:

    Distressing news. Best wishes to the staff. However, if a liquidator has been appointed, the ‘license’ arrangement of running the old company’s assets as a going concern is void unless agreed to by the liquidator, whose job it is to get maximum return for creditors. Sorry, but companies in admin/receivership/liquidation have to know that they can not make last gasp deals when they are knowingly headed for the rocks – witness Focus Press. It’s like disposing of assets and preferred payments – they can be clawed back. Advice to business in trouble – appoint the administrator and then let them run the business and make decisions. At best you might come out of it with a DOCA.

  3. October 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm,

    said:

    Just a thought Jaco,
    but maybe now is a good time to trade mark your business name.
    if you do a google search ondemand printing you both come up and could be confusing for any
    prospective customer.
    should only be one of you…….
    cheers
    arthur

  4. October 29, 2014 at 8:27 pm,

    Fred
    said:

    The writing was on the wall for some time.
    Some of us knew about this a week ago, and it is now interesting to see what is going on.
    On Demand couldn’t obtain finance for needed equipment and was black listed for some time.

    The tax debt is substancial, but the problem is not the fault of anybody else but Bruce Peddlesden.

    Some of my fellow suppliers knew it was going to happen, as they notoriously paid late, went on credit stop and had to pay cash on the odd occasion.
    All suppliers are in a tough situation, as you have to continue supporting them, in the hope to recoup at least a little of what is owed. Cutting them off, means they go under with many unpaid bills.

    I sincerly hope it won’t be another Phoenix company emerging, but it looks like it.

    Good luck to all the staff.

  5. October 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm,

    Bob from Lisarow
    said:

    Remember that Administrators, Liquidators & Receivers are all separate entities. One or more of these may be required. They all get paid first. They do not communicate with each other very well.
    More information is required, keep us posted.

  6. November 13, 2014 at 9:42 am,

    Andy McCourt
    said:

    Bob,
    Different functions but can be the same entity. Administrators can become Liquidators if creditors vote for liquidation, or creditors can ask for a separate liquidator. Receivers are appointed by a secured creditor or court to get back secured debt. They are all functions of insolvency practitioners and yes, they get paid first. See this ASIC info, courtest KordaMentha:
    http://kordamentha.com/docs/creditor-information/asic_info_sheet_74_voluntary_administration_guide_for_creditors.pdf?Status=Master

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