Archive for August, 2009

  • Fuji Xerox stays clean with Sustainability Report

    Fuji Xerox turns another green page with the release of its fifth Sustainability Report.

    According to Nick Kugenthiran, (pictured) new managing director of Fuji Xerox Australia achieved its eighth consecutive year of revenue growth, generating $780million in revenue, a 4.1 per cent increase on 2007/08.

    “We believe that sustainability is an outcome of running our organisation in a responsible way based on key economic, environmental, and social criteria,” he said.

    “Our vision is to achieve sustainable outcomes for all stakeholders, and this philosophy underpins not only our entire organisation, but also how we engage with our customers, suppliers, partners and the wider industry. Our sustainability report is an honest and transparent reflection of what we have and haven’t achieved and more importantly, how we’re going to go about meeting future goals.”

    The report, accessible from, marks the fifth consecutive year that Fuji Xerox Australia has disclosed its economic, social and environmental performance adhering to the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. This is also the fourth report to be independently assured by Banarra Sustainability Assurance and Advice in accordance with the AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS 2008).

    It discloses the company’s performance against its stated objectives and outlines future goals in seven key areas, namely financials, corporate governance, customer experience, employee engagement, environmental impact of business operations, industry sustainability initiatives, and delivering responsible and environmentally friendly products and solutions.

    “We’re pleased to report our eighth consecutive year of revenue growth, and will continue striving to improve our business performance in a responsible way to deliver greater value to stakeholders,” Kugenthiran said. “To achieve this, we recognise our industry must continue to evolve to enable more efficient printing and paper use, and help customers improve document-intensive business processes.”

  • Free flights for interstate visitors to Connect09

    Visitors to Connect09 can fly to the Sydney show for free as part of a new deal to encourage interstate attendance.

    Presented in collaboration with InfoTrends, the Forum program which takes place on 19 and 20 October, is aimed at print providers who are seeking new ways to build their business and take their companies from surviving to thriving.  With a theme of ‘Be Future Proof’, Barb Pellow of InfoTrends and Andy Tribute of Attributes Associates in the UK will deliver the respective thought keynotes titled ‘The Changing Media Mix’ and ‘Adapt or Die.’

    According to Eliot Harper, (pictured) director at Eliot & Company and organiser of Connect09, a surge in interstate enquiries to attend Connect09 triggered the initiative.

    “We have had a sudden increase in interest to attend this forum,” he said.  “Over the past two weeks, many interstate business owners have contacted us to express their interest in attending and discuss ways to make travel to Sydney more affordable. Many enquiries have been from companies who would like to send multiple attendees and to ensure that they have an opportunity to learn from the industry’s leaders, we are offering free flights to any potential interstate attendees who register to attend both days of the forum.”

    The travel offer is valid until 7pm EST on Friday 18th September. Conditions apply. Refer to for a full set of terms and conditions.

  • LATMA tee off with charity golf day

    Golf enthusiasts are invited to take part in LATMA’s charity golf day next month.

    Held on Thursday 22 October at Carnarvon Golf Club, Lidcombe, New South Wales, players can join in for $100 including golf and dinner, or $70 for golf only. Proceeds from the annual event will be donated to Westmead Children’s Hospital.

    For enquiries contact Kevin Murphy on 02 9809 0363

  • Horror year set to continue to PaperlinX

    Global drop in demand for paper shows no signs of picking up for merchant and manufacturer, PaperlinX.

    In its 2009 full-year result, sales revenue was down five per cent at $7,106.6million, while earnings experienced a major decline at $93.6million, 63 per cent down on the $254.3million figure for 2008.

    According to PaperlinX CEO, Tom Park, there has been an unprecedented deterioration in the demand for paper globally which reduced volumes by 15 to 20 per cent in the second half of the year.

    “The difficult conditions that began to impact in the first half of the 2009 financial year accelerated throughout the second half, with volume declines overwhelming the many positive actions that were completed to support the company results,” he said.


    Park added that the depressed results, compounded by foreign exchange losses in the first half and expected property sales not completed by 31 December 2008 caused the company to breach banking covenants, leading to lender fees and advisor charges.

    The sale of Australian Paper earlier this year is expected tor educe debt and contribute to a lower cost base next year, along with a world-wide headcount reduction of 632 people and freeze on management salaries and board fees.

    Despite these plans, Park is yet to see an upturn in consumer confidence or economic sentiment and expects rough sailing well into next year.

    “The first half of 2010 will remain tough, coming of a week second half of 2009, it will see the net benefits from cost reductions already made,” he said. “The improving consumer and economic sentiment seen in our major markets has yet to be reflected in a lift in demand in these markets.”

  • No home for phone books

    White Pages struggle to find a place in the streets of Sydney’s inner-west.

    On the way to the train station, Print21 online editor, Mitchell Jordan, noticed a new addition to the streets of Redfern that, days later, showed little sign of going anywhere.

    Contrary to Print21 publisher, Patrick Howard’s experiences in the trendy eastern suburbs town of Elizabeth Bay, residents in the inner-west seem to have little interest in, or need for, phone books.

    “I started to count the number of homes that hadn’t bothered to pick up a White Pages, and soon realised it was easier to count those who had!” Jordan said.

    The people of Redfern have made their choice: phone books have been forced to take up squatter status. If anyone in the eastern ‘burbs missed out the first time, they know where to come.

    Pictured: Plenty of phone books for everyone.

    Pictured below: This householder doesn’t appear to want to let the White Pages through the front door. They don’t seem too fond of News Limited’s free magazines, either.

    UPDATE: Print21 cleans up the streets
    After this story was published last Friday, Print21 was contacted by Sensis, which owns White Pages, for details regarding the phone books in question. Needless to say, the photographed White Pages above were promptly removed and not visible when the online editor made his way home Friday afternoon.

    According to a spokesman from Sensis, most directories in the Redfern area have been collected by residents.  “As per our standard practice, our distributors will revisit areas within the next few weeks and pick up any unwanted books for redistribution in other areas,” said the spokesman.

    Now, if only there was a similar way of getting rid of the rubbish on Redfern’s streets.

    Are there any clusters of uncollected phone books in your streets? Or have they all been snapped up? Write to us and let us know. Photos are welcome.

    Pictured below: All lined up, and nowhere to go (last week, anyway).

  • Blue Star cops a beating with drop in earnings

    Blue Star battles through “the most challenging downturn ever experienced in the print industry.”

    In its full-year 2009 preliminary results, the trans-Tasman private equity-backed company recorded sales revenues of NZ$578 million, up 18 per cent from the previous financial year; while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, restructure costs and one-off items (EBITDAR) was NZ$35.2 million, down 32 per cent from the previous year.

    In his Managing Director’s Report, Chris Mitchell [pictured] claimed that: “ … the decline in profits was due to very difficult trading conditions in Australia and New Zealand” which he believes are the worst ever to affect the printing industry.

    Management has reduced Blue Star Print Group’s overall cost base by 5 per cent (including the closure of McMillan Print earlier this year), though the full benefit of these reductions have not yet flowed fully through.

    Mitchell believes that Blue Star’s financial position has been strengthened and augmented after its parents, Sirius NZ Holdco Limited reached an agreement with its senior lenders to reset the company’s banking covenants through an additional NZ$10 million of shareholder funds.

    “This measure is somewhat similar to decisions by many publicly listed companies, in the current difficult economic environment, to forego or reduce dividend payments,” said Mitchell.

    As part of the banking arrangements, Blue Star Print Group is required to suspend interest payments on its publicly traded bonds until interest can be paid in compliance with the group’s banking covenants.

  • Ligare takes centre stage at Opera House

    Sydney Opera House was a suitably grand venue for the celebration of Ligare’s 30th anniversary. Simon Enticknap reports.

    Against the magnificent backdrop of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore at night, friends, customers, staff and suppliers gathered at the Opera House this week to celebrate three decades of Ligare book printing and binding.

    The company began 30 years ago as a small business doing hand-binding work (Ligare is the Latin verb for ‘bind’) for the NSW State printer. It originally occupied 200 square metres in the inner city suburb of Surry Hills; today it occupies over 8,000 square metres in Riverwood and offers a complete book production service employing more than 100 staff.

    In fact, as Opus Print Group CEO, Cliff Brigstocke, pointed out, the real anniversary of the company is not until 17 September which was the day in 1979 that a young 23-year-old Richard Celarc joined forces with two other shareholders to create Ligare. In historical terms, it was, said Brigstocke, a fairly nondescript day – “downright boring” in fact – although a quick glance at the major news items from that year reveal some recurring themes across the ages: there was a Democrat in the White House – Jimmy Carter – although he was about to cede to the Republicans and Ronald Reagan the following year, Russia had invaded Afghanistan and a resurgent Michael Jackson released Off the Wall.

    Pictured: the faces behind Ligare, Cliff Brigstocke (left) with Richard Celarc (right), celebrate 30 years of success.

    Since then, Ligare has remained true to the “old-fashioned values” that have stood it in good stead over three decades – a belief in doing business honestly and with integrity, a focus on looking after the customer and a willingness to move with the times, as shown by the company’s move into digital print more than a decade ago, one of the first printers to do so.

    Richard Celarc paid tribute to the original co-founders of the company – Doug Gray and Ted Chapman – and highlighted another important element behind the company’s success; his time in the industry has not been measured in days or months, he said, but rather in the relationships formed, with customers, suppliers and staff. In particular, he drew attention to the close intertwining of family and business life, including the fact that he was married in the year that Ligare was founded and that subsequent arrivals of children coincided with important milestones in the company’s expansion. It shows the closeness of Ligare and family, he said, and the fact that the company is more than simply a business.

    “I still have the passion I began with 30 years ago and in fact it’s grown,” he said.

    To commemorate the anniversary, Cliff Brigstocke presented a mounted metal die of the original Ligare logo to Richard Celarc while guests at the celebration were given a specially-produced book – of course – entitled Ligare – 3 Decades that traces the company’s history.

    It’s possible to tell a lot about the nature of a business from the way in which it celebrates its achievements, and that much is true, too, of Ligare which, in its commemorative book, focuses mainly on the contribution of staff, past and present, including listing all the names of current employees.

  • What do you call a printer without a press? Print 21 magazine article

    Much of the conjecture about what the printing industry of the future will look like focuses on the technology. But rather than obsessing about equipment, says James Cryer, perhaps what we should really be looking at is the organisational structure of print companies. So, how do you feel about handing all your work over to someone else to print?

    During the 1920s my great-grandfather, then the proprietor of WJ Cryers, one of Sydney’s earliest commercial printers, assembled a ‘coalition of the willing’  – namely, Les Baddock (trade bookbinders) and Advance Linotype (trade linotype operators) all under the one roof in Darlinghurst to offer a ‘one-stop, total print management’ service. Although they didn’t call it print management then – that took another 70 years.

    It was an early attempt to make it easy for the customer to do business with an organisation where various related services were all housed in the one building. This had many benefits apart from cost savings. It avoided the time wasted in sending a job across town for finishing, it improved ‘workflow’ (another word they hadn’t invented then) and it increased the volume of business through referrals.

    It was an adventurous idea that may have been a precursor to the state of flux that our industry is currently going through. Historically though, as an industry, we’ve not been very adventurous in toying with new variants. We’ve never had to be. Print has enjoyed a near-virtual monopoly as the only communication medium available to customers for the past 400 years, so it’s understandable that we’ve become a little complacent.

    However, I believe the critical defining feature of success for the printing company of the future will be not so much its choice of equipment but rather its choice of organisational structure. Let me highlight some of the forces impacting on a typical printing company (assuming here, sheetfed offset).

    First, it has to manage two opposing forces. One is the demand for a high level of customisation on virtually every job. The other is the need to standardise as many operations and processes as possible. It’s a typical see-saw dilemma: if you try to fuss over each customer too much it drives costs up and blows-out deliveries. If you standardise everything you sacrifice your flexibility and lose value-adding opportunities.

    Second, is the need to balance small-ish orders (which are the backbone of the industry) with the need for large orders to deliver economies of scale and absorb those fixed overheads.

    Third, there is the conventional wisdom that a printing company must print as much as possible in-house. It’s somehow considered a sign of defeat if your plant isn’t able to print everything. After all, that’s what we do! We’re printers, not outsourcers.

    Fourth, again the dreaded conventional wisdom dictates that a printing company should consist of a plant and a sales force.

    Against this backdrop is the cold, hard reality that, over time, we’ve accumulated just too many printing businesses, all little microcosms of each other, all replicating overheads, and thus making it impossible to gain genuine economies of production. I suspect the outcome of all this (too many firms operating too inefficiently, and all trying to be generalists, ie ‘all things to all customers’) is that the price of print has remained high, although up to recent times we’ve had nothing to compare it with so we’ve got away with it. (And if you don’t believe the price of print has been too high, consider why so much traditional work has shifted online – and it’s nothing to do with it being ‘greener’.)

    But eventually something has to give, and we’re all experiencing the cold winds of change as we try to re-invent ourselves. What follows are some genetic permutations that we may wish to consider as we explore ever more creative ways of driving costs down while preserving margins.

    Think outside the plant
    Let’s kick-off with an old-friend – outsourcing. We all know what it means, don’t we, and it may have negative connotations (think Indian call centres). Normally it applies to off-loading ‘non-core’ activities that can be done better by specialists (accounting, logistics … recruitment?) But, hang on, why shouldn’t every print job you quote on face this test: should you produce it in-house, or is there a printer out there who could produce it more cheaply? A textbook response is that if the marginal cost of having an extra job produced outside is cheaper than the marginal cost of producing it in-house, you should farm it out. This goes to the heart of another concept, that of opportunity cost. The point being, if you do choose to produce a job in-house (even at a profit), will it displace another job on which there was a better margin?

    There is an important message here: every proprietor should regard his own plant as just one option in the choice of lowest cost producer. Just because you have a four-colour press which can do the job is no reason why you should produce the job. All your costs are fixed, so you’ll incur them anyway (very few costs in our game are avoidable in the short-term), so it doesn’t matter if the press is idle for short-periods. (And if it is idle for too long, it may tell you something about your prices.)

    Print brokers/managers are another way to drive costs down by placing work only with the most cost-efficient suppliers – ‘allocative efficiency’ in econo-speak – where everybody wins (in theory). Putting emotion to one side, when done properly, it’s a perfectly legitimate way to save costs by allowing some printing companies to dispense with their sales force, thus relieving them of an added layer of complexity. The upside is that it allows them to focus exclusively on work which matches their equipment profile (which is a good thing). The downside is that they lose control of their former customer-base, and there can be accusations of margin-squeezing (hard to believe, I know).

    If you don’t like selling your soul to the devil, another strategy is for companies with complementary products (ie not competing) to form voluntary alliances or coalitions to share some back-office overheads and to allocate work more effectively. This allows individual brands to flourish, giving clients the sensation of choice, while at the same time streamlining the admin costs. The purest form of this model is where there is one single order-entry/job planning department which farms out work to the lowest-cost producer within the group. (We all thought the big PE players would go down this path.)

    Join the hub
    Another possibility is a variant on the concept of trade printers who have been around for years. The ‘killer punch’ variant, however, is the contract-print group, a dedicated ‘team’ that produces your work (or some of it) to order, just like an outsourced extension to your plant. They think and act like your production department but (just like print managers, dare I say) they come in with the promise of producing your work cheaper/faster than you can. This is starting to look good: you can ‘retire’ to the front office – or long lunches – without having to worry about your production department because you don’t have one! And it’s a perfectly valid way of making a cheaper product, through specialisation.

    If that’s too radical, try the ‘hub-and-spoke’ model. This is another more modern variant of the trade printer where participating printers send work that is too specialised or excess to their capacity. The question is: how does it compare with the traditional trade supplier? The special twist which the ‘hub’ model offers is that it usually prefers to deal with a defined ‘membership’, ie selected participants who can derive a special price advantage over other non-members.

    Typically, the hub becomes a ‘co-operative’ which cannot make a profit, so the ‘profit’ is leaked back to the members via the ultra-low price it charges them (far lower than, say, a trade supplier). The trade-off, however, is that to join you must pay a one-off entry fee which may be more or less than, say, $100,000. The choice between using a trade supplier or becoming a member of a hub becomes a simple break-even equation (lower volumes favour the former, higher volumes the latter). It’s not unlike the choice facing a home-buyer – rent or purchase? Incidentally, the shares in the co-op have value, can be bought or sold, and will appreciate if the business prospers, so it can offer a ‘superannuation’ benefit over and above its cheap prices.

    A hybrid version of the hub-and-spoke model is to have a two- or three-tiered membership – a bit like gold, silver and bronze credit cards. Rock-bottom prices for those who pay full-membership, slightly higher prices for those who wish to pay a modest entry-fee, and normal trade rates for those who don’t wish to become a member but just use the hub like a trade printer.

    Let’s get radical
    Another option requiring even more radical surgery is to divide the entire industry into two tiers – production and sales. In this version, instead of having lots of printing companies each consisting of production and sales, every sales rep in the industry quits and immediately re-forms into sales teams or groups, each specialising in various printed products. So there would be the ‘annual report’ boys (and girls), the ‘packaging’ sales guys, the ‘book’ reps, the ‘label’ reps, and so on. This would have the effect of marshalling all the available sales expertise (pertaining to each product) under one roof, making them a focal point for clients to go to, seeking out expert help. Work would then be farmed-out to specialist printers who would become extremely cost-effective, along similar product groupings (ie the carton printers, the label printers, the annual report printers, and so on).

    Apart from obvious, dramatic cost savings, it may uncover a problem that nobody admits to: most printing companies struggle to be both good printers as well as good marketers. Most proprietors (I know I’m generalising) are either comfortable down on the floor or out with the reps, but not both. Why persist with this two-headed monster? It only grew as an accident of history; smash repair companies don’t have teams of sales reps. This split into ‘manufacturers’ and ‘sellers’ is not unique. The automotive industry recognised this years ago with manufacturing plants which focused only on making cars (you can’t buy a car from the plant) and ‘retailers’ (called dealers) who don’t try and build you a car.

    A final thought. Why not borrow from the accommodation industry and enable printing companies to sell blocks of time – ie excess capacity – to the highest bidder. This is the economist’s dream come true – mopping up spare capacity by offering blocks of press-time on the internet, and selling it at relatively low rates that yield higher returns (higher than having the press stand idle!) A kind of ‘Last’, it matches suppliers (ie those with excess capacity) with print buyers seeking a bargain. The trade-off is that the bargain price is only available on the seller’s terms, which may dictate a not-before date or a particular stock. But if the two parties can agree, everyone’s a winner.

    Let there be no doubt, the idea of a printing company being defined as one with dedicated presses plus admin staff, plus sales reps, all housed on one site, containing a mass of fixed machinery will soon be replaced by more fluid variants. This brave new world of print doesn’t mean there will be fewer brands. There may be more. I’m simply exploring ways in which the costs of production can be reduced and, as the concept of outsourcing has proven, clients increasingly don’t care in which manufacturing engine room it happened to be produced.

    So, what will be the optimal shape of the printing company of tomorrow? Sadly, it’s looking more like a yuppie, probably female, propped up under a palm tree on a sun-drenched coral atoll feverishly tapping into her Blackberry while her assistant busies himself getting her another gin sling.

  • Protect your profits: Nick Devine

    Sales expert, Nick Devine, has more tips on how to give your business an edge.

    When I first became a partner in our printing company a couple of years back our value proposition was this: we produce great quality print at competitive prices, supported with excellent customer service and delivery times. 

    Here was the problem.  Everyone else was saying the same thing. So what we were really saying to our prospects was that we had ‘better sameness’.  Even I could see that was not helpful positioning in a commodity marketplace where all our prospects were trying to buy on price. 

    Each time I enter a new market, I always have the same realisation.  Business success is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions.  The value is not necessarily in the product; it’s in the sales process.  And the first two steps you have to complete before trying to sell is decide (a) who you are selling to and (b) what you are selling to them = your CSA / value proposition.
    One of the main reasons we’ve had 80 per cent growth in a recession is because we have a well articulated value proposition for a well defined segment of the market.  When you take time to work through some of tips below you will quickly develop a more compelling proposition for your target market. 

    Click here for all the best tips and to learn how you can do the same.

  • Books stay a good read for McPherson’s

    Global Financial Crisis does not not stop consumers from turning the pages.

    In McPherson’s Print Group’s results for the 2008-09 financial year, printing profits fell slightly, which, according to the company, was mainly due to reduced demand in the commercial segment. It reported that read-for-pleasure publishing volumes are still going steady.

    Sales revenue for McPherson’s printing operations were $68.4 million, a small drop of 2.3 per cent from 2008’s result of $70.7 million. Trading EBIT was 4.3 per cent, down from 4.7 per cent in the past year.

    McPherson’s expects that trading conditions in the book market will remain subdued as the business continues to focus on leveraging investments in technology to contains costs and add value for its customers.

    Current managing director of McPherson’s, David Allman, who is due to be replaced by Paul Maguire in October this year, remains positive of the company’s future.

    “This was an exceptionally difficult year for the company,” he said. “The fact that McPherson’s has overcome so many challenges and emerged with the resources to continue along its growth path demonstrates the resilience of its operations.”

  • Victorian government not backing out on print: Stream Solutions conference

    Stream Solutions suppliers were reassured that the Victorian government will always have a place for print at the company’s sixth annual conference.

    Much of the two-day conference, held on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, was dedicated to working with the public service following Stream Solutions scoring the printing contract for the Victorian government in 2007.

    The nature of the contract as a State Purchase Contract, requires that the 11 government entities place their request for a quote directly through Stream Solutions as a central point of contact.

    According to Domenica D’Andrea, contracts manager, the State Purchase Contract has made the printing procedure equal for all suppliers. “It’s a simpler process that is more transparent,” she said. “It is much quicker and means that government officers are not restricted by their procurement processes whilst still ensuring value for money.”

    Pictured: Domenica D’Andrea, contracts manager with Nick Lam, director of the Victorian Government Print Management Unit for Stream Solutions.

    Stream Solutions suppliers have had a busy year following the Victorian bushfires, requiring them to print a number of emergency documents, often at very short notice. Nick Lam, director of the Victorian Government Print Management Unit for Stream Solutions, thanked suppliers for their diligence in producing up to 500 jobs a month, and also highlighted to them  the importance of maintaining on-time delivery.

    D’Andrea asserted that while many large corporations are moving away from print in preference to electronic-based communications, the Victorian government still has a strong need for printed documents. “As a government, we will always be a buyer of print so that we can reach out to all people in the public,” she said. “Not everyone is a Twitter fan – we will always need to print, but having said that, there are also emerging technologies out there that we need to stay on top of.”

    Stream Solutions is currently in the third year of its three-year contract with the Victorian Government, which includes two one-year options to extend.

    PJ Gould, government executive business manager of Toll, (which owns Stream) spoke of the importance of Stream gaining, and keeping, government work.

    “The Government is a valuable client that we must embrace; we want to work with them,” she said.

    Pictured: PJ Gould, government executive business manager for Toll with Geoff Brennan, manager of strategic sourcing, Stream Solutions.

  • Deadline extended for Victorian PICAs

    If you thought the call for Victorian PICA entries crept around too soon, you weren’t alone. Organisers have decided to extend the deadline for entries by another week.

    According to PICA Victoria Chairman, Trevor Hone, (pictured) the extension is in response to market conditions that have prevented many companies from focusing on the awards as they may have done in more favourable economic conditions.

    “We have already received a good number of entries for this year’s awards,” said Hone, “but communications with intending entrants made it clear to us that many who intended to enter had found it difficult to get their entries together in time, as the focus of their business was, quite understandably, on more pressing economic issues.

    “We know, however, that there is some very worthy work still out there, and we hope that print businesses will use the few remaining days to collect examples of their work and get them to us, so that their achievements can be recognised in both the PICA awards and, if they are successful there, in the National Print Awards next year.”

    To be eligible, a job must have been produced between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009, and prepress (film) printing and finishing must have been done in Victoria and entries must be at Printing Industries in Mulgrave by close of business on Friday 28 August. Anyone involved in the production or purchase of the job may enter.

    For further information or to download an entry form, go to, or call Printing Industries on 03 8541 7333.

  • Blue Star backers front with extra cash

    NZ$10m investment from major shareholders and suspension of interest payments on capital bonds keeps trans-Tasman printer on track.

    An agreement to reset Blue Star Print Group’s banking covenants, amortization and related pricing structure has significantly strengthened its financial position. The private equity-backed company insists it has not breached any of its financial covenants and that the new arrangements will ensure this remains the case.

    In a statement BPSG says the agreement with debt and equity providers will give it the flexibility to continue the multi-year transformation strategy, which has already produced a significant cost reduction and a restructuring of core operations.

    As part of the banking arrangements the company is required to suspend cash interest payments under the subordinated capital bonds until interest can be paid in compliance with the Group’s banking covenants. Interest due to bond holders will increase to 13.1 per cent pa from the current coupon of 9.1 per cent pa and will be compounded quarterly on the scheduled interest dates.

    “This measure is somewhat similar to decisions by many publicly listed companies, in the current difficult economic environment, to forego or reduce dividend payments,” said Chris Mitchell, group managing director (pictured).
    The Company will resume payments as soon as permissible under the senior funding arrangements, including payment of the compounded interest.

    “Despite the extremely difficult trading environment experienced since the start of the financial crisis, BSPG continues to generate good cash profits and strong cashflows. As a result of the extra capital, new banking arrangements and the restructuring measures already taken, we are in a strong position to continue with our transformation plan,” said Mitchell.

    As part of the transformation and in line with other printing denominated companies such as the Snap franchise, the company will drop Print from its name. In order to better reflect the broadening of the Group’s offerings in the visual communication market, BSPG will be re-named Blue Star Group from September 2009.

  • Candidates of the Week – Operations and Senior Management, Sydney

    Logical Recruitment Solutions’ focus & dedication is centric to the Print & Visual communications’ Industry. With nearly 60 years combined industry experience, our Consultants feel that our strengths come from understanding our Clients as well as our ability in finding suitable Candidates with key industry skills, knowledge and experience to match their ever changing requirements.


    Candidate with strong ties in commercial management in Print, packaging, signage, data management and communications agencies – Solid history, well established – Started career in Corporate banking hence his strong commercial exposure and capacity – Thrives on establishing and building strong commercial ties – Enthusiastic, autonomous, self-motivated, good communication skills – Knows how to deal with agencies and corporates and very much at ease with Financial institutions – Strong negotiator, excellent attention to tendering and documentation – Shows leaderships skills with a natural flair for leading by example – Refined delegator – Entrepreneurial and directional – Strategic developer, analytical/planner nature & attitude – Looking for $120k package with scope for growth at regular review intervals – Location: anywhere in Australia
    Candidate # 9190


    Sales & Marketing Director
    Responsible and accountable for growing portfolios in national retail and corporate sectors providing print, packaging, indoor & outdoor visual communications campaigns – Strong company investment disciplines – Proven Sales & Marketing background having increased portfolios nationally – Strong mentor and change manager – Very directional and motivating – Also has had exposure to cosmetics industry, Health, finance – Has a true competitive advantage – Incredibly talented and focused individual – International exposure and experience – Capitalizes on opportunities as they arise… Don’t drop the ball around this man… $140k package – Locations: Sydney preferred, Melbourne 2nd choice however will travel for the right opportunity with the right company…
    Candidate #8946

    Solid manager who continues to push the boundaries and the test of times – Strong in company restructures, change management, realignment of production deficiencies, realignment of business principles and association to commercial practices including HR, IR & OH&S regulations – Has worked in small, medium to major print companies – 35 years industry experience – Nothing he cannot do or achieve – Strong attitude to cultural and times changing – Knows what it takes to make things happen – Looking for $110k to $160k dependant on task on hand, role focus and location (open nationally or globally)
    Candidate #8032

    All posted candidates have been interviewed face to face, tested in some instances & complete background / reference checks organised.

    At logical we have a number of experienced & skilled candidates from all aspects of the Print & Visual Communications Industry. Logical only looks and works with candidates from within the industry for the industry. Logical keeps all application very confidential and we are highly confident when it comes to the recruitment needs of our unique industry.

    Make a Logical decision and call today to find out more!


  • Farewell Reg Hammond: a tribute from Andrew Price

    Stream Solutions chief, Andrew Price, has some kind words for Lilyfield Printing’s departing owner, Reg Hammond.

    I recently read your article regarding the sale of Lilyfield Printing. In the years that I have been in this industry I have witnessed the fantastic growth that this business has had, driven mainly by a true gentleman in Mr Reg Hammond (pictured).

    Reg has always impressed me with his "straight up and down" style and no-nonsense approach to business. Reg has led his business through some tough times to become one of the premium printing businesses in the industry.

    Lilyfield has been an innovator over the years and a company that truly understood the importance of branding. Who can forget the black Lilyfield van running around the Sydney CBD?

    As sad as it is to see someone like Reg Hammond leave the industry, it would appear, as has always been the case, Reg has looked after his staff first, ensuring they have a secure future with a global industry player.

    This industry will sadly miss Reg’s sense of humour and love of life, something we could all do a little more of!

    I personally would like to wish Reg all the very best for his future plans and will miss his unique character in this industry.

    Andrew Price
    Stream Solutions

  • Candidate of the week: Mac Operator/Artworker, Sydney

    I am a Mac operator looking for work with an immediate start.

    I have 15 years experience in both the advertising and printing industries. 

    I require either a permanent full-time or part-time job and also will look at contract or sub contract work. 

    Location is preferably on the North side of Sydney, although I will commute for the right position. 

    My references and resume along with PDF samples will be provided upon request.  I have built up a hard copy portfolio with a variety of printed samples that showcase my career. 



  • Fairfax Media’s print struggles to keep up with online

    Fairfax Media suffers volume declines in both external and internal printing revenues.

    Revenue from printing was down by 31.1 per cent at $32.8 million for the 2009 financial year – $47.6 million the previous year. In the past year printers at Fairfax Media have been dealt a number of blows with the closure of the Burnie printing plant and consolidation of the work at Launceston; the company also cut one shift at the Chullora plant, NSW.

    Printing was not the only area where Fairfax Media got a hit; revenue from broadcasting units were also down. The company reported earnings of $605 million, down 27.2 per cent on the prior year, along with incurring a net loss after tax of $380 million, citing cuts to discretionary advertising and online challenges as impacting this result.

    The economic downturn hit the company most severely during the second half of the year. All publishing operations suffered from lower advertising revenue, but regional community and specialist publishing have not been affected as much as metropolitan publishing in Australia and New Zealand publishing.

    The only signs of growth were in the online businesses where Fairfax Digital increased its revenue, while the New Zealand TradeMe businesses increased both revenue and EBITDA.

    Putting on a brave face, Fairfax Media’s managing director, Brian McCarthy, said that financial performance was the best that could be achieved in an unprecedented and difficult business environment.

    “Among the challenges we’ve faced have been reshaping Fairfax for the future at the same time as dealing with depressed advertising markets,” he said. “The emerging company will be a stronger force in the market place.”