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Böttcher buys Brissett in major roller merger

Tuesday, 02 October 2018
By Patrick Howard

Mitchell ‘Mitch’ Mulligan, Bottcher Australia.

Long-term roller rivals, Terry Brissett and Mitch Mulligan, will join together in a super Smithfield site to ramp up the local manufacturing of graphic arts rollers.

The move is aimed at shoring up the onshore printing roller service for most of the major printers in Australia as the German-based multi-national commits to investing in Australia. According to Mitch Mulligan, managing director, Böttcher Australia, the merger is in line with the company’s global strategy of broadening its manufacturing base. “It’s a natural development for us. Initially we’ll focus on servicing the graphic arts industry but we have other interests in packaging, steel, textiles and wood,” he said.

The two businesses will locate to a new Smithfield site within weeks with most of the Brissett workforce transitioning from the Tempe site. It’s Böttcher’s first significant foray into local manufacturing as it seeks to build on the market strategy and industry knowledge of the Brisset family’s business. Being able to service the larger printing rollers for big web presses requires an Australian manufacturing site. While most presses entering the country arrive with Böttcher rollers, Brissett Rollers has always maintained a vital refurbishing and replacement service.

Mulligan maintains that the primary focus of the merger, while driven by ongoing industry consolidation is on retaining and developing a seamless local service for customers. “We genuinely believe this is a ‘win-win’ for the industry, securing the future of a trusted local roller manufacturing business and offering our customers an expanded value proposition – the improved lead times, flexibility and continuity of supply which local manufacture ensures, combined with the competitive edge that Böttcher’s world leading technology, compounds and processes provide,” Mulligan says.

The combined credentials of the two companies are impressive. Böttcher is a 293-year-old family-owned business which is renowned globally for its quality printing rollers, blankets and pressroom chemistry. Terry Brissett (pictured) has built his business into the largest manufacturer of printing rollers in Australasia over 60 years of operation. An iconic figure in the industry he has maintained Australian roller manufacturing as a viable alternative.

He credits the fact that both companies are essentially family-owned with being able to merge so successfully. “While our backgrounds differ, we share much in common and have been ‘friendly competitors’ for years. Both Böttcher and Brissett believe strongly in partnering with our customers and building relationships on the basis of quality products, reliable service, honesty and loyalty,” he said.

Terry Brissett

“We’ve both successfully navigated enormous change, from hot metal days to the high-speed, digitally-controlled and highly automated offset operations we see today, so we understand that the ability to evolve is vital in such a rapidly changing industry. Our merger with Böttcher is just the latest step in that process for us.”

Terry and his son Craig will move over to the new company as Böttcher Group acquires the plant, goodwill and equipment of the business. The other member of the team, Glenn Brissett, is taking the opportunity to retire following a farewell ‘hand over’ national tour of customers with Mulligan over the next few weeks.

“While securing the future of a local manufacturer is important to us, it’s even more pleasing to be able to retain the invaluable expertise, knowledge and relationships which Terry and Craig Brissett enjoy with so many print businesses in Australia and New Zealand,” said Mulligan.

“Brissett has a proud heritage and an enviable reputation for quality, service and expertise in this part of the world. Terry’s contribution to the industry, in particular, has been outstanding. We are absolutely delighted to be able to bring both he and Craig into the Böttcher Australia fold.”

The relocation of the Brissett Tempe plant and Böttcher’s headquarters in Castle Hill will begin in the second half of October. Official handover date is 1 November, 2018.

After a ‘settling in’ period in the fourth quarter, the two manufacturing teams and processes will be fully integrated into the combined operation at Smithfield, where the entire business will be converted across to Böttcher’s world-leading manufacturing methods and compounds.


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