Archive for July, 2012

  • Issue 538 – 1 August 2012


    Heading up the news this week, manroland sheetfed’s British owner, Tony Langley, says the business is ‘standing on its own feet’ almost half a year after he acquired it. And, there has been further industry outrage over RMIT’s decision to sell off its print training courses to private operator, CLB.

    This is your weekly printing news read by over 8,000 industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand. We look forward to your tips and news items, so please continue to send them to us at NEWS

    You can also follow us on Twitter.


  • Océ Arizona inkjet enters orbit onboard ISS

    Océ Arizona inkjet print will make its way into Earth’s orbit, with around 100 Arizona-printed food packages to be shipped by cargo rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) at the bidding of an Italian astronaut.

    Following the demands of an Italian astronaut, who said he could not live aboard ISS without genuine Italian cuisine, an Italian food processing company was presented with the task of providing packages of dehydrated Italian dishes including parmigiana di melanzane and other national favourites for the astronaut’s 2013 mission to the space station.

    However, this was no simple matter. It required the printing and submitting of samples of different polyethylene packaging that was subjected to military-level testing, including temperature variables, checks for resistance and vacuum conditions, plus safety and boiling tests, all vigorously overseen by the various levels of the European Space Agency (ESA).

    Using its Océ Arizona 550 GT inkjet flatbed, the company was able to pass all the tests with flying colours. Finally, they received the go-ahead to print some 100 polyethylene packages with the delicacy name, the ESA logo along with the contractor logo and other reference codes.

    Steven Badger, Océ product manager for the Océ Arizona in Australia, says that, while many of the details of the project have remained secret at the request of the contractor and the customer, he can jokingly assure the public that all is well on Océ’s space mission.

    “In space no one can hear you scream…with delight. However, it’s clear we were able to announce the equivalent of ‘Houston, we don’t have a problem,’” says Badger. “The next frontier for the Océ Arizona is outer space.”

  • Market Watch FY 2012 – A Year in Review Pt. 1

    In the first of a five part series Ascent Partners director, Richard Rasmussen, lists the industry’s major market activity around consolidations, takeovers, sales, acquisitions, closures, and major equipment sales and installations that took place in financial year 2012.

    Part 1 – The Big End of Town

    It certainly was an eventful year with all of the major print groups in the news. Some courted suitors (PMP, Salmat BPO); there was some major plant consolidation within Geon, PMP and Colorpak; the Sands Print Group (VIC) and Australian Envelopes (VIC) folded, and IPMG announced it would close Craft Printing.

    The web printers were busy purchasing 80-96 page Lithomans (Franklin, IPMG, PMP); IPMG planned to relocate to Warwick Farm, Opus merged with McPhersons, and SEMA entered administration (later announced that there was a management buyout).

    The year ended with the major Fairfax announcement that it would close its Chullora (NSW) and Tullamarine (VIC) newspaper printing plants.

    FY 2013 shows no signs of this activity abating, especially with the imminent sale of Blue Star, and Australia Post’s entry into the BPO market place with the purchase of two Océ ColorStream 3700 inkjet presses.

    Below is a list, by group, of the major news announcements:

     Blue Star

    • July 11 – call for bondholder’s concessions
    • Aug 11 – Bondholder’s vote to stave off receivership
    • Blue Star’s PE funder, Champ, purchases Ooh! Media
    • July 12 (FY 2013) – The business is up for a quick sale


    • Move to single site operation in Sydney
    • Tempe (NSW) warehouse to relocate to Parramatta (NSW) and Eagle Farm (QLD)
    • Move Brunswick site (VIC) to Mt Waverley (VIC) and Banksmeadow (NSW)
    • Close Docklands (VIC)


    • Close the Scribo book distribution business
    • PMP to move Clayton (VIC) bindery to NSW
    • Purchase a Lithoman 96 page web for Perth
    • Receive a $250 million offer from TMA
    • Reject TMA from further due diligence because of lack of proof of financial wherewithal


    • Announce relocation from Alexandria (NSW) to Warwick Farm (NSW)
    • Announce closure of Craft (NSW)
    • Purchase Lithoman 96 page web (twin 48 pp) for Warwick Farm (NSW)
    • July 12 (FY 13) – announce Ferag purchase


    • Installed Lithoman 80 page web


    • Consolidate Villawood (NSW) into Regent Park (NSW) facility
    • Close CCH Reservior (VIC) plant – relocate to Braeside (VIC) and Mt. Waverley (VIC).


    • Purchase Aperio Group


    • Joint venture called off between Fairfax and News (local printing of newspapers)
    • Announcement that it would close Chullora (NSW) and Tullamarine (VIC) newspaper plants / move to tabloid size

    Opus / McPhersons

    • McPhersons to purchase HP T400 high speed colour inkjet web press
    • Opus to merge with McPhersons
    • July 12 (FY 13) – announced that McPhersons Printing (VIC) may relocate to Vega’s  (VIC) premises


    • Enter voluntary administration
    • Management buy out

    Australian Envelopes (VIC)

    • Liquidation

    Sands Group (VIC)

    • Liquidation
    • Part of group purchased by TIC Group
    • BPA (VIC) purchases client list and brand


    • Takes in iPrint (purchases the other 50% share)

    Aust Post / Salmat

    • Aust Post identified as likely suitor of Salmat BPO division
    • July 12 (FY 13) – Aust Post buys 2 x Oce Colour Stream 3700 Inkjet Presses

    Ascent Partners publishes Market Watch monthly via email bulletin. You can subscribe to this free bulletin on our web site,, or download quarterly PDF bulletins.

    Next week, in part 2 of “Market Watch FY 2012 – A Year in Review”, we provide an overview of the suppliers to the industry – the sale and acquisitions, the consolidations and the closures.

  • The winds of change – 1 August 2012

    New chairman for APN

    APN News & Media this week announced the appointment of Peter Hunt as a director of the company and as chairman of the board, effective from 3 September.

    Hunt (pictured), who is non-executive chairman and a founder of corporate advisory firm, Greenhill Caliburn, has spent nearly 30 years advising local and multi-national companies and governments within Australia. While with Greenhill Caliburn, Hunt advised APN’s acquisition of Wilson & Horton, previous publisher of the New Zealand Herald.

    Hunt said he was pleased to have the opportunity to join APN during a period of important business transformation and growth.

    “It is both an exciting and challenging time to be involved in a diverse media company like APN,” he said, “and I look forward to working with my fellow board members, Brett [Chenoweth, CEO] and his senior management team to execute on its strategic goals.”

    The company’s deputy chairman, Ted Harris, said, “Peter is the ideal chairman for APN’s next phase of growth. His expertise in successfully guiding companies through complex change is outstanding.”

    New Sensis MD from News Ltd ranks

    John Allan (pictured), former Chief Operating Officer of News Limited’s The Australian newspaper has been named as the new managing director of Sensis, Telstra’s directories arm, which produces Yellow Pages and White Pages.

    In a statement to staff, Rick Ellis, Telstra Media’s group managing director, said, “John joins Sensis at a critical juncture as we work to make Sensis Australia’s leading directories and digital marketing services business. His brief will be to deliver on our long term digital strategy, as well as our program to step up simplification of the Sensis business and accelerate digital growth, setting the business on course for success in the digital age.

    “I am delighted to have an executive of John’s extensive experience in traditional and digital media, and a directories business, to lead Sensis. Digital media is transforming at an astonishing rate and John has been at the leading edge of driving businesses for success in that world,” he said.

    Allan will replace former MD, Bruce Akhurst, who left the company in March this year after seven years in charge. Allan will start in the new role will on 6 August.

  • PIAA launches Australia’s largest printing apprenticeship program

    Printing Industries has launched what it says is the largest program in support of apprenticeships ever for the printing and graphic communications industry in Australia.

    The apprenticeship program is aimed to increase the retention rates of current apprentices – both young and mature age – and encourage new entrants by challenging out-of-date perceptions about the industry. It will run over 12 months and necessitate the establishment of a national Apprenticeship Advisory Service and Mentoring Program.

    The Australian government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education is funding around $1.4 million for the new program as part of the government’s commitment to increasing the skill levels of and opportunities for the Australian workforce.

    Bill Healey (pictured), Printing Industries CEO, says the project had been under development with the Australian Government for some time. He welcomes the boost to industry apprenticeships and says Printing Industries would be working with the government and all industry stakeholders to ensure the industry had a suitable trained workforce to help it reposition itself to take advantage of innovative technologies and opportunities.

    “This is part of the Association’s strategy to ensure that the evolving digital industry and lithographic industry is provided with an adequate supply of new, well-trained employees for its future needs,” says Healey. “We know our industry has a low-profile among job seekers and our apprenticeships are not popular with young job seekers who mistakenly view us as being low, old fashioned technology.

    “We need to correct these misconceptions and make our industry an attractive career option, a commitment supported by the government,” he says.

    It is anticipated that the Printing Industries mentoring program will provide, mentoring and support to approximately 500 apprentices in their first year of training and an additional 500 existing apprentices identified as needing support to complete their apprenticeships.

    “Our first year apprentice target groups will be school leavers, vulnerable youth and mature workers in addition to existing apprentices identified as being at risk of not completing their apprenticeship,” says Healey. “Directly employed industry apprentices do not currently have access to this kind of support and in smaller businesses may not receive the support they need to help them through their apprenticeship. We believe this initiative creates the opportunity to greatly increase the existing numbers.”

    Printing Industries will use its national network and infrastructure to manage the services which will be provided by an additional eight specialist staff.

    An associated national advisory service will be staffed by two advisors based in Sydney, and will be responsible for providing information to school leavers and other potential apprentice applicants, employers, Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and employment brokers to increase the take up of industry apprentices.

    This will provide apprentice communication services in support of the six state mentors and will include the creation of website, social media and telephone support services; the development of new information packs for employers and guidance counsellors; careers expos and seminars; and chat rooms linking industry experts with potential apprentices.

    The initiative’s mentoring program will utilise six mentors, whose role will involve the identification, selection and matching of apprentices to ensure a ‘good fit’ between the apprentice, their employer and industry. They will engage with employers and potential apprentices and their families to promote apprenticeships and how they can be best used.

    The mentors will also provide a ‘pastoral care’ style support to overcome a broad range of barriers faced by apprentices that could threaten the successful completion of their apprenticeship. This will also include strategies to improve career progression and apprentice retention levels. They will also work with businesses to ensure they understand the apprenticeship system and open up new areas for employment.

    Healey says negotiations are currently underway with the Australian Government for a second, larger long-term project focussed on adapting apprenticeships to the industry’s long term needs with particular emphasis on promoting competency-based progression.

    Inquiries about the program can be directed to National Program Manager Ian Walz on (02) 8789 7362 or e:

  • Issue 537 – 25 July 2012

    Queensland bindery, Special Binding Service, looks to become the biggest perfect binder in the country after a massive insurance-funded investment. Also, Goldman Sachs will shop the Blue Star Group around to potential buyers, and RMIT sells off its graphic technology program.


    This is your weekly printing news read by over 8,000 industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand. We look forward to your tips and news items, so please continue to send them to us at NEWS

    You can also follow us on Twitter.

  • Rasmussen’s eighth top tip – Consider different business models

    Richard Rasmussen looks at why print businesses should to consider different business models during their transition periods.

    So, you’ve been running your print business for 20 years, you’re now between 55 and 65 years old and you’re thinking you want to get out in two to five years. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

    What should you be doing in that transition period? One of the things you should consider, if you want to optimise your business value is to change your business model.

    Here are some questions you may wish to contemplate:

    • Will my business as it is now, continuing to trade as it is, be worth more or less in two to five years’ time?

    Now I know this question does need a bit of crystal balling, but it’s worth the exercise. The answer will normally be a function of your views on:

    1. Your future profitability
    2. Your future sales
    3. Your future equipment value
    4. Your people – who stays and who goes?
    5. Your customers – more or less? Higher dollar value or less?
    6. Your will to keep motivated
    7. Your business model and whether it is in decline or on the rise.

    As I’ve covered the first five of these points in previous tips, this article will focus on the last two.

    Will the market change in the next few years to make your business more or less attractive? The answer to this question needs you to realistically look at what the trends are in your particular niche of the industry. What market forces will impact your niche? Will it be digital, big printers, print management firms or other media such as the web?

    A good way to think of this is cast your mind back to the early nineties when there were typesetting businesses. Remember them? Or back when there were forms printers; will your niche suffer the same fate?

    The answers to these questions need some serious thought because what I see, in the vast majority of instances, is that printers would be better off changing the way they do business in their transition years (the years before exit). Unfortunately many are on the slippery slope, hoping in vain that things will improve, that all of a sudden their traditional business model will become back in vogue. A touch of realism and objectivity is urgently required.

    Let me provide an example – commercial printers with, say, between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000, probably doing colour work at the lower, and a two-colour A3 press, at the top a five or six colour A2 press or two. What will happen to this style of printer in the next three to five years? Will there be more or less work provided to them? If your answer is ’10 per cent less work.’ what do you think they, as a group, need to do differently to hold to, or improve sales and margins? Can they do that by staying ‘as is’?

    Also, in their transition years many proprietors in all sectors lack the drive to make things happen;   they simply run out steam and ideas. And with that the business stagnates, sales fall and value drops.  If you’ve lost your mojo now, what chance is there of getting it back by staying ‘as is.’?

    The amount of printers out there that have run out of puff is staggering. And it’s not surprising. Printing is a hard, competitive game. If you’ve been doing it 30 to 40 years it takes its toll. Obviously, here we also need to consider the any health issues.  Pushing yourself or doing the ‘macho’ male thing to the detriment of your health is not a good option. So consider options that can accommodate health issues.

    So, it’s really important to consider what is likely to happen to you and your business in this transition period.

    I think that most printers need to consider running their business differently in the transition period.

    The start point should be to review your present operation:

    • What is it worth now?
    • Is the business sustainable, capable of growing and providing an adequate return?
    • What will it be worth if you leave it as is in three years?
    • What will you owe on the business in three years?
    • What will you be able to draw from the business over those three years?

    Now, think of what you could change in the way you do business and run some ‘what-if’ scenarios.  Be realistic with the options you develop – for example most proprietors will not be willing to take a punt on reinvesting in new or different equipment in their twilight and transition years.

    In most instances, there should be a focus on getting the most out of their existing customers. Look back at what the trends have been with your customers in the past three years, as that will probably give you an insight as to what may happen in the next three years. Look at their purchase levels, purchase frequency and what style of customers you have lost and won. Is order values increasing or decreasing?  Will that trend continue? If so, does your business model set up to handle that trend?

    Also look for strategies that reduce liabilities, improve efficiencies and make the business look more attractive.

    Here are some options to help you build different business models:

    • Doing deals other printers, where they take their clients across to you and sell off their machinery. Maybe sharing of facilities, working with them on ‘earn outs’ based on client retention.
      • As above but vice versa.
      • Working with other manufactures and service providers to obtain more share of your existing customers – i.e. working with larger printers, printers with green credentials, printers that offer other services.
      • Working on strategies to build moats around customers, and make them as easy as possible to transfer customers to another entity.
        • Outsourcing more work, disposing of older technology equipment. Not replacing staff when they retire. Using contractors.
        • Building profits – above and below the GP line.
        • Easing back, let others do the heavy lifting.
        • Downsizing to enable you to have higher utilisation rates on your equipment
        • Not renewing property lease – work out of another printer’s premise.
        • Resource sharing – i.e. equipment, people, IP, logistics, premises, deliveries, purchasing etc.

    A combination of some of the above may also provide the best alternative. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, so certainly consider other options.

    In the 30-plus print related business sales we have been involved in there have been some great examples of how changing a business model can work very well for a vendor. Many achieved a far better outcome than continuing to trade, head in the sand, ‘as is’ and then selling when the business is looking ugly.

    Sometimes it takes someone from outside your business to work you through these scenarios and get a degree of objectivity to your thought processes.

    But as with tip number one – start early, engage people who can add value and objectivity to your thought process.

    Ascent Partners is dedicated to providing professional advice to the industry in business appraisals, transition plans, and acting as sales agents to sell print related businesses – see or phone Richard Rasmussen on 0402 021 101.

  • Roland DG hits the road for regional printers

    Roland DG will add extra times and locations to its regional road show campaign following an overwhelming response to this year’s launch of its Creative Centre & Clinic Road Show, set to kick off in August.

    The wide format company will embark on a series of road shows around Australia to demonstrate its latest wide format printing, cutting and engraving technology, with the company to hit the road in August with regional printers in mind.

    Roland DG’s Creative Centre and Clinic road show will run from 13 August to 6 September and take in locations around New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, including Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Mount Gambia. The company is also set to announce further dates and locations following an eager response from customers.

    “We are pleased with the excitement and response to our regional Road Show campaign, hence why we put this program together,” says John Wall, sales director at Roland DG Australia. “With dozens of registrations and many more enquiries following the news release last week, we were forced to bring plans to visit more areas forward to increase the coverage for our regional customers.”

    The series of shows will feature the company’s new VersaSTUDIO BN-20 desktop printer/cutter, and a recently released double white ink configuration for VS Series printer/cutters. There will also be a range of creative application samples and solutions on display.

    The company will also be taking its popular RolandClinic on the road, with the clinic usually located in metro NSW and Victoria, or large trade shows. For the first time, the clinic will be available to printers in regional centres, where it will provide free technical advice and workflow tips.

    During this year’s road show, guests will also have the chance to win a V-CUT 44 inch print trimmer at each stop.

    Dates & Locations:

    • 13 August – Port Macquarie
    • 14 August – Coffs Harbour
    • 15 August – Lismore
    • 16 August – Tamworth
    • 22 August – Albury
    • 23 August – Shepparton
    • 3 September – Warrnambool
    • 4 September – Mount Gambier
    • 6 September – Mildura

    For further information download the Road Show Flyer, or visit


  • Currie showcases trade fair tech in Melbourne

    The global printing industry’s foremost trade fair, drupa 2012, is done and dusted, but Currie Group is bringing a fair whack of the drupa technology showcase to Melbourne during July and August.

    The company will have the doors doors of its new state-of-the-art demo centre open from the end of July and into August for customers to see for themselves some of the latest technology available to the market in this drupa year.

    Currie Group is billing the demo centre open house as the place to be for those who missed out on being present at the huge trade fair in Düsseldorf in May, with the Hawthorn-based demo centre display set to feature the some of the company’s most recent acquisitions, including the new Scodix S74 and the HP Indigo 7600 digital press.

    The Scodix S74 digital press (pictured right), along with its sibling, the S52 are members of a digital enhancement press series that feature the Scodix SENSE ‘experience’ which uses advanced jetting block and multiple independently controlled inkjet nozzles that deliver Scodix’s proprietary PolySENSE clear polymer in small drops.

    Additionally, the presses feature the patented Optical Print Alignment (OPA) camera system, which executes enhancements with pinpoint accuracy, scanning each sheet to ensure exact delivery the PolySENSE clear polymer onto the substrate.

    As a standalone unit compatible with offset, laminated sheets and digital print feeds, the S74 will process a broad range of substrates and formats, including weights from 135 to 675 gsm, to a thickness up to 0.7mm. The clear polymer can reach thicknesses up to 250 microns, enabling the production of Braille letters and graphic elements.

    The other star that will be shining at the Currie Group demo centre display is the HP Indigo 7600 (pictured right), which is the fastest 13 x 19 inch format digital sheetfed press in the market. The 7600 model comes equipped with new intelligent automation that maximises uptime. The unit’s Automatic Alert Agent identifies print defects in real time, while automated calibration keeps registration and other parameters on track.

    The 7600, which is compatible with a whopping 2500+ substrates, makes use of HP’s Indigo liquid ElectroInk technology, which provides one of the widest digital colout gamut’s out there – with up to seven ink station on press at any given time.

    Currie Group will also be showcasing its brand new Horizon finishing equipment, including the BQ-270V, a high-speed bookbinder that can produce books up to 50mm thick at a rate of 500 cycles per hour. The binder will be joined by the CW-8000NL all-in-one near line booklet maker equipped with the SF-100 sheet feeder.

    Currie Group’s demo centre will be open from late July to mid-August in Hawthorn, Victoria. To book a demonstration, contact Erica Myers at or the local Currie Group sales representative to book a demonstration.


  • PICA season in full swing

    The Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards (PICA) season is well underway around the country, with the call for entries beginning for some states and ending for others this week.

    While entries closed in Western Australia on 18 July, Queenslanders have until 5pm Friday 20 July to get their entries in, and can get their entry forms here.

    Companies in South Australia and the Northern Territory have until Friday 27 July, and can find out more here: Meanwhile, PICA Victoria entries close on 22 August. For entry forms, visit

    For New South Wales the closing date is Monday 10 September; Entry forms here.

    In Tasmania the call for entries starts on 1 September and closes on 1 October. Entry forms will be available soon.

    The ACT PAGE Awards call for Entries is open until 1 November. For more visit,

    Joe Kowalewski (pictured), Printing Industriesnational director, Communications and Marketing, says all information about the awards, including function details, is available on the Association’s website.

     “Entry forms, dates and presentation function details are available in our PICA & NPA information section for quick reference,” he says. “This section also contains all the results from last year’s awards as well as links to photo libraries for those wishing to recap over the last couple of years.”

  • Free training for Ricoh services

    Ricoh Australia is offering free training for customers taking on its EFI PrintSmith print MIS software and its web-to-print solution, Digital StoreFront, until the end of September.

    The company says that the free training equates to a saving of up to $4,000 for customers buying either of the software suites, which are designed to help print businesses accurately track productivity, costs and profits, and to easily sell products over the internet to customers.

    According to Kathy Wilson (pictured), Ricoh Australia’s general manager for business solutions and production, the two service platforms provide a powerful combination for businesses looking to maximise their profits and customer-base. She says that making the training readily available and free for customers would help them quickly acquire a depth of understanding of, and benefit from, the products that might otherwise take longer to establish and blossom.

    “The reason why we looked at training as a value-based offer is that, while there are many solutions out there, training is usually webinar-based. We offer onsite face-to-face training,” she says. “This type of training allows for a customised, hands-on experience where customers can go at their own pace. We’ve always put an emphasis on the importance of training. The return you get to that time and investment in technology is enormous.”

    EFI PrintSmith is a complete print shop management system that offers users powerful estimating, point-of-sale, account management, production management, receivables and sales analysis tools. Wilson says it is a crucial tool for printers to develop a more profitable workflow and business.

    “PrintSmith helps them get a handle on which jobs and which customers are profitable,” she says. “We think they’re particularly relevant when people are tyring to get a good handle on where their costs are, and how to make their businesses profitable, and PrintSmith lets their businesses to that.”

    Digital StoreFront is another essential tool in today’s market, allowing print businesses to set up a web-to-print platform that allows users to create a unique online customer shopping experience in which they can preview, approve and order everything online – a plus for customer development, according to Wilson.

    “Digital StoreFront is an option to make it easy for people to do business with their customers,” she says. “And help them form tighter relationships with them, which makes it more difficult for customers to just switch off. It allows jobs and services to be held in a catalogue form.”

    Offer ends 30 September. Click here to find out more.

  • Issue 536 – 18 July 2012

    Toby Marchant, PaperlinX CEO, tops the news this week as he walks out on the struggling company by the end of July, as it begins an extensive sell-off of its global businesses.

    Also in this week’s issue, check out an unusual business opportunity of a small group of print franchises up for sale, with the hub plus offices operation valued around the $2.9 million mark – offers close on 10 August.

    This is the weekly printing news read by over 8,000 industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand. We look forward to your tips and news items, so please continue to send them to us at NEWS


    You can also follow us on Twitter.


  • PIAA briefings check up on workplace changes

    Printing Industries will be running a series of free briefings around NSW in August to help printing companies check their progress in the implementation of workplace changes following the introduction of the new NSW Work Health and Safety Act.

    The Act came into effect in January 2012 and redefines workplace safety duties and responsibilities.

    The briefings will be run in conjunction with WorkCover, to ensure its members have ‘harmonised’ with the changes, and have fully understood and implemented the new requirements.

    Printing Industries general manager of Workplace Relations and Legal, Charles Watson (pictured), says that many companies were likely to still be working through full implementation of all the required changes.

    “These sessions are designed to help them take stock of where they are and to make sure they fully understand the extent of the changes and their new obligations,” says Watson. “As with any legislative changes, workplace implementation can be challenging and so we want to ensure that our industry companies are on the ball and can get over the line by correctly incorporating the changes into existing workplace practices.”

    Watson says the NSW Work Health and Safety Act replaced the previous occupational health and safety (OHS) laws in NSW.

    “The idea is part of a move towards national consistency in regulations, to reduce business compliance costs and improve workplace safety outcomes,” he says.

    The two-hour briefings are targeted at business proprietors, however any staff directly or indirectly involved in workplace health and safety can also attend.

    The briefing schedule is:


    Friday 10 August. Printing Industries Auburn Office 9.30am – 11.30am.


    Wednesday 15 August. Illawarra Master Builders Club, 61 Church Street, Wollongong

    10.00am – 12 noon.


    Friday 17 August. Printing Industries Auburn Office 9.30am – 11.30am.


    Wednesday 22 August.

    Harbourview on Queens Wharf. 150 Wharf Road, Newcastle 9.30am – 11.30am.


    Friday 24 August. Printing Industries Auburn Office 9.30am – 11.30am

    Wednesday 29 August. Printing Industries Auburn Office 9.30am – 11.30am


    Friday 31 August. Quality Inn Ambassador Orange, 174 Bathurst Road, Orange 2.00pm – 4.00pm.

    Bookings can be made by email to: or by calling 8789 7375

  • Strong dollar impacts Aussie cut sheet – Pulp & Paper Edge

    The volume of imported cut ream paper reached a nine-month peak in May this year, impacting Australian paper production following this year’s strong performance of the Australian dollar against the US greenback, according to the latest issue of industry bible, Pulp & Paper Edge.

    While the strong Australian dollar has been accompanied by imported paper price increases and local paper price increases, the effect of the storng Aussie currency against the US dollar in May led to import levels as high as those seen since the GFC.

    This month’s issue of Pulp & Paper Edge, the industry’s foremost authority on paper market trends, indicates that, while both imports and exports of cut ream paper – office copier and printer paper – import rates have ballooned, outstripping the export figures.

    The report says:

    Imports of cut reams – office paper for printers and copiers – reached their highest level for nine months in May, almost breaking through 12,000 tonnes for the month. Other than the imports for August and September of 2011 when some serious anomalies and external factors were at play…May witnessed one of the highest levels of imports since the onset of the GFC.

    In recent times, the trend in the exchange value of the Australian dollar has coincided with a comparable trend change in imports, albeit with greater sensitivity applying to the imports,

    Many of the imports, probably those volumes that are above the long-term average of around 8.5 ktpm, are particularly price sensitive and only viable against the domestic production where the Australian dollar is securely at or above parity with the US dollar.”

    The report suggests that, while imports and exports have risen as a result of the Australian dollar relative to the US dollar, it is expected that cut-ream imports will be down for July, but rise again by August.

    The full report is available here.

  • Rasmussen’s seventh top tip – Choose advisors carefully

    Selling a business is not something that is done every day. The vast majority of printing business proprietors has never sold a business before. So it’s important to choose advisors carefully, especially in today’s tough environment. Ascent Partners’ principal, Richard Rasmussen, looks at how to do it right.

    The choice of which advisors you include in your transition / business sales team is obviously a vital component in a smooth and successful business sale. In all likelihood you’ll only have one shot at it, so you need to choose wisely.

    As with all professional services (including printing), the cheapest option is not always the best – you need to choose “horses for courses” advisors. The upfront cost is largely irrelevant, it’s the final “in the pocket” and personal outcomes that should be the primary prerequisites.

    Below is a list of advisors you may wish to consider:

    Accountants – The first person you should consider to be on the team is your accountant. However, care needs to be taken to choose which areas they are included in. Taxation planning is usually a “no brainer”, as is the preparation of financial documents to be included in the sales process, and assistance with responses to financial due diligence questions.

    Business appraisals and valuations are probably not their forte, especially if they work for a variety of clients and have no specialist knowledge of the printing industry. I can’t tell you the number of times my clients have been given completely over the top valuation and appraisals of their business. As an example one gave an appraised value of $3,000,000, I appraised it at $1,200,000. It sold for a lot closer to my number. The reason they can be so out largely lies with them having no knowledge of the market value of plant and equipment, and having no prior sale knowledge as to what multiple to apply (a multiple is the number often applied to the profit of a business to establish a selling price).

    Financial Advisors – They can assist in the preparation of your personal financial objectives, and implementation advice before and after the sale. It’s not all about the business sale; it’s also about your own financial situation and what money you need to move onto the next stage of your life.

    Business Consultants – They can help in the planning and strategy in the transition phase. Business consultants with industry knowledge will obviously have a head start on others, as they know the different business models, business requirements and what buyers are looking for. For example if exit planning is done well in advance they should be able to advise you on what you need to do in the lead up to sale. This may include changing business models, retiring obsolete equipment, not hiring replacement staff, and more emphasis on retaining customers. It’s obviously hard to provide that advice if they don’t have industry knowledge.

    Lawyers – Need to be appointed to prepare sales contracts and letters of agreement. They also offer advice in the process to ensure your best interests are protected and served.

    Business Appraisers / Valuers – As discussed throughout previous Six Tips, we believe the first step in the transition process is to have your business professionally appraised. This provides the starting point from which to plan your transition. The appraisal needs to be from a professional with industry experience. An incorrect appraisal (either higher or lower) can obviously impact heavily on the final business sale final price you achieve. It’s important to get it right.

    Equipment Valuers –As the plant and equipment value and the goodwill value make the sum total of the business value, it is important to establish a realistic market value for the plant and equipment prior to marketing the business. This can be done by independent equipment valuers as an aid to building up a justification of asking price for the business. Industry specific brokers and equipment dealers can also offer indicative values, but it is usually the equipment valuers that carry the most weight with the banks.

    Friends, family, colleagues and peers – Obviously you may have friends, family, colleagues and peers that you can assist and provide advice in the transition phase. It’s very important however, when seeking their advice, that you consider their credentials and their ability to realistically add value to the process. However well intentioned and well meaning they are, you should be seeking advice from those with industry and relevant business sales experience.

    Business Sales Agents:

    There are a few common options:

    a.     Self Sell  – You may choose to sell the business yourself, which has the advantage of eliminating business sales fees, but has the disadvantage of reducing the ability to keep the sale private. Other factors to consider are how well equipped you are to sell the business, prepare sales documents (which you provide the prospects), get confidentiality agreements prepared, keep the emotion out of selling the business and whether you have the time to deal with the sales prospect’s enquiries. A poorly prepared sales document and an over the top asking price is likely to turn off vendors who more often than not would prefer to deal with a third party.

    b.     Business sales agents can be a good option as they have experience in business sales. Biased as we may be, we think the best agents are ones that have printing industry business sales experience, have the runs on the board, have good networks and prospects on the books, and have access to relevant advertising media.

    c.     Large accountancy firms – offer the same as business sales agent, perhaps with extended services such as tax advice, accountancy, and business advice. Mostly they will want the larger the businesses.

    There are of course other advisors that may be included in your business transition and business sale team. Some may include staff members. You need to realistically consider where you need help and assistance, understanding that any advisor bought into the team should be able to show you and justify to you where they can add value to the process. It’s best to ask around and ask for references from your advisors.

    Your aim should be to maximise business value and to meet your personal objectives during and post the transition phase. The choice of the right “horses for courses” team is therefore a vital component to achieving these goals.

    At Ascent Partners, as an Australian printing industry specialist, we offer the following transition and business sales services:

    • Business appraisals
    • Business planning and transition advice
    • Act as your business sales agent (around 30 print related business sold).

    Richard Rasmussen can be contacted at Ascent Partners (1300 887 648 or mobile 0402 021 101). For further information or visit

  • The winds of change – 18 July 2012

    Brenden Dunn for Positive Camtec

    Positive Camtec has announced the addition of wide format specialist, Brenden Dunn, to its expanding team. The appointment follows hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that it had appointed its former technical director, Phillip Trumble, as the new managing director.

    Dunn (pictured), who has been appointed in a technical sales role, comes to the team with years of experience under his belt working in the sign, offset and digital printing industry. Over the past 9 years he has worked exclusively in the wide format digital printing industry, and his expertise covers UV flatbed printing, RIP software, colour management and general service and maintenance.

    “Brenden is highly regarded within the industry and his enthusiasm is inspiring for the rest of the team here at Positive Camtec,” says Positive Camtec’s sales and marketing manager, Adriano Gut.

    Trumble says tat Dunn’s expertise and broad product knowledge, “will be a real asset to Positive Camtec and its customer base. We are committed to offering the very best products and service in the industry and adding Brenden to our team will allow us to meet the current and future demands of the industry and maintain our exceptional service & support record.”

    In his role as technical sales, Dunn will look after the complete range of products offered by Positive Camtec, comprising swissQprint and Teckwin UV flatbed printers, Roland & Epson wide format digital printers, CNC Routers, Argus Lasers, Ergosoft & Caldera RIP Software, Dye Sublimation Systems, Ink and Media along with offering application and technical support.

     A new face at STI Group Lilyfield Printing

    STI Group Lilyfield Printing has a new Prepess/Digital Workflow Analyst, with Franca Balsamo joining the company in June.

    Former CPI Group/BJ Ball marketing communications manager and past president of the Junior Printing Executives Association of NSW, Franca Balsamo, joined STI Group Lilyfield as a prepress and digital workflow analyst in June this year.

    Balsamo has also previously worked as national colour specialist for Ricoh Australia and senior production and graphic arts consultant at Canon Australia.

     New ACP Magazine’s Catalogue division appoints Hardie Grant GM to lead

    ACP Magazines has appointed Hardie Grant Publishing general manager, Mark Paton, to head up its new Catalogue division.

    The company announced this week the launch of its new division, which will see it carve out its own territory in the lucrative local catalogue market sector.

    Paton, who has worked for Pacific Magazines, PMP, and RR Donnelly, has been named as the new division’s general manager.

    “Mark comes to us with a wealth of experience in custom publishing, content marketing and print production following senior roles with RR Donnelley, PMP, Pacific Magazines and Hardie Grant, and will lead our expansion and growth in the catalogue market,” said ACP publishing director, Gerry Reynolds, in a statement.

  • Fuji Xerox launches w2p Facebook app

    Fuji Xerox has launched a tool that allows users to integrate web-to-print portals with clients’ Facebook pages, allowing ‘fans’ to order branded and personalised print materials.

    The new technology, which was developed by Xerox’s XMPie division, will be on display, along with Fuji Xerox’s multi-channel and personalised print solutions, at this year’s Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) Forum in Sydney.

    The company says the new Facebook app, uStore Facebook Connect, will help print providers make the transition into marketing service providing by helping brands capitalise on their social media presence and Facebook following.

    Customers with XMPie uStore can embed a web-to-print portal on their customers’ Facebook pages as an application, allowing fans to order branded print materials that are personalised using the fans’ Facebook data, or that of their friends.

    “With uStore Facebook Connect, we give our customers the means to truly take their multichannel capabilities to new heights,” says Fuji Xerox marketing manager of Software Solutions, Peter Brittliff (pictured below). “Now they can create apps for their clients’ Facebook pages that enrich social media interactions by adding highly-personalised and relevant print to the media mix,

    “This allows brands to add value to their social media presence while extending their online relationships with fans into the tangible and engaging physical world, creating an overall richer and more valuable brand experience,” he says.

    Using the new app, when individuals who are fans of a company visit the company’s Facebook page, they will see the application icon under the page’s cover photo. By clicking the icon, fans enter the uStore portal for this Facebook app where they can select an available document template, such as a calendar.

    After giving all permissions that are typically required, the document is then personalized with information from their Facebook profile. From there, an instant PDF proof of the personalised document can be generated, and the fan can then move through the order process of final copy and delivery.

    If the fan allows it, an automatic status post to their Facebook wall can be triggered at this point to help the fan share the experience.

    Facebook Connect is an add-on available to customers with uStore 6.0 and PersonalEffect Print MI or higher, enabling XMPie customers to offer the application as a turnkey service to their clients – as well as own the data and create and fulfill the merchandise. The company believes this is the first offering of its kind in the marketplace with this model.

    Document templates for customization or personalization, and purchase within the uStore portal are created by the service provider or marketing personnel using the XMPie uCreate plugin to Adobe InDesign, and can range from greeting cards, event invitations and various types of calendars, to booklets and posters.

    These document templates can include variable elements, such as coupons, QR Codes, and even advertisements.

    “Facebook Connect, is a very powerful brand builder for companies with thousands or millions of Facebook fans, driving more demand and volume for print and marketing service providers,” says Brittliff.