Archive for August, 2012

  • Inaugural award showcases industry’s future leaders

    Printing Industries is urging NSW printing companies to nominate their outstanding young employees for a new award recognising leadership qualities within the printing industry.

    The Future Leaders Award, sponsored by Media Super, aims to recognise and reward bright and talented people who through their work, behaviour and attitudes demonstrate a high level of commitment to their vocation and to the industry. NSW joins Victoria in introducing the award as part of a national roll out by Printing Industries.

    Bill Healey (pictured), Printing Industries CEO and NSW general manager, says the winning NSW state candidate would be named during the Employers Mutual 2012 NSW Printing Industries Craftsmanship Awards (PICA) presentation on 2 November.

    “That candidate will then compete against winning candidates from other states for the national title to be held in conjunction with PacPrint in May 2013,” says Healey. “This is another way of demonstrating that, as an industry, we are serious about developing a skilled workforce to meet future industry demand for skilled employee and must work cooperatively to achieve this.

    “We commend Media Super on this initiative which is complementary to our strategic direction on engaging with the young and our recently implemented Apprenticeship Advisor and Mentoring Program.

    “This program engages with young people to encourage them into the industry and to help those already in the industry to complete their training and achieve their vision for a satisfying and rewarding career – and hopefully to become a future leader in the industry,” he says.

    Starting in 2013 the Future Leaders Award will be fully integrated into all the state PICA events. Media Super National Client Relationship Manager, Lisa Collins, says that Media Super was proud to expand its support of the PICA Awards in NSW and to build on a successful print industry partnership.

    “This new award is designed to recognise and reward the most talented young people coming up through the ranks in NSW,” she says. “From printing to graphics and design we have exceptional young people who are committed to excellence and achievement. They are our future industry leaders making a positive contribution in a time of change and transition.

    “NSW has many gifted and talented young designers, printers and production specialists who continue to demonstrate the power of print. At Media Super we strongly believe that it is now time to directly acknowledge the exceptional young people who are making their mark in our industries,” she says.

    Entries for the NSW Future Leaders Award close on Friday 28 September 2012, click here for more information.

  • Winds of Change – 29 August 2012

    New director of solution sales at Pitney Bowes

    Pitney Bowes Australia has appointed former Hargreaves Institute for Innovation and Telstra Business Woman of the year finalist, Angela Peverell (pictured), as its newly created roll, director of solution sales.

    According to the company, the new role was created to take full advantage of new solutions launched through Pitney Bowes’ customised solutions delivery division, Solutions Factory. In her new role, Peverell will oversee the sales of Pitney Bowes’ product solutions in the Australian marketplace.

    James Murphy, managing director of Pitney Bowes Australia, says that, with Peverell’s business experience and her nomination as a finalist for the Telstra Business Woman of the year award, along with her experience in sales and marketing will put her in good stead for the new role.

    “Angela was the ideal fit for this role. Her insight and proficiency in sales and marketing will help expand Pitney Bowes’ Solutions Factory in the Australian market,” says Murphy. “Angela’s proven track record in developing products and relationships will be invaluable in fostering customised applications of new products, transforming Pitney Bowes’ solutions and creating stronger channels of communication with our stakeholders.”

    Fineline Printing MBO by ex-Salmat executive Neil Collyer

    Neil Collyer, former Salmat and Fairfax executive, has undertaken a management buyout of Victorian print and communications company, Fineline Printing, after managing the business for four years.

    In 2008 Collyer (pictured) became Fineline’s general manager after a four-year stint as national manager of operations at Salmat. However, he was appointed chief executive officer of the print business in 2010 after acquiring a 20 per cent share.

    Prior to his position with Salmat, Collyer worked as national publications manager at Trading Post, and before that, as general manager of Fairfax Newspapers.

    Industry sources indicate that Collyer spent $3 million to take over the Noble Park North-based company, which is reported as predicting a $14 million turnover this financial year. Already sporting a strong digital fleet, under Collyer’s ownership, the company looks set to grow its digital arm even further as print runs become shorter.

  • $800 million for energy efficient upgrades

    The Federal Government has set aside $800 million for companies planning to upgrade their business and increase their energy efficiency as part of its Clean Technology Investment Program – a move Printing Industries says will help save print businesses money and power.

    The program, which is part of the government’s Clean Energy Future Plan, is now open for funding grant submissions from businesses that can demonstrate that their upgrades will improve their energy efficiency.

    The initiative is designed to support Australian manufacturers adjust to a lower carbon economic environment by providing grants to finance investments in energy-efficient capital equipment and low-emitting technologies and processes.

    Hagop Tchamkertenian (pictured), Printing Industries national manager, Policy and Government Affairs, says that businesses proposing to make an investment were not bound to focus only on new technology or processes.

    “Modifications to existing plant, equipment and processes also qualify for funding,” says Tchamkertenian. “The program threshold can be met from energy/fuel used at a single site or across a company’s manufacturing activities in Australia.”

    To be eligible a company must:

    • Use 300,000 kWh of electricity per annum (which equates to 25,000 kWh per month or 75,000 kWh per quarter).

    Based on Printing Industries estimates this equates to:

    • Spending more than $70,000 per annum on electricity (which is about $5,833 per month or $17,499 per quarter).

    Tchamkertenian says that for businesses with a turnover of up to $100 million per annum the grant amount ranges between $25,000 and $500,000 and the applicant needs to match the funding on a 1:1 basis.

    “For business with turnover greater than $100 million grants still range between $25,000 and $500,000 but the applicant to grant funding ratio becomes 2:1,” says Tchamkertenian. “For grant amounts ranging from $500,000 to $10 million the applicant to grant funding ratio remains at 2:1; and for grants of $10 million or more the ratio rises to 3:1.”

    The program will provide grant funding on a competitive, merit-basis until 2017-18.

    Printing Industries members considering an application should contact Hagop Tchamkertenian on (02) 8789 7361 or E-mail:

  • Issue 542 – 29 August 2012

    PMP Perth gears up to overhaul its web offset site as part of the company’s new national strategy that will see its press fleet slashed by more than 25%; Salmat rocks Australia’s essential mail market by selling its BPO division to Fujifilm, and GEON tops the PICAs WA gold medal tally.

    At the same time Print21 magazine is blazing new trails in graphic arts production with two stunning world firsts in the latest issue – a Scodix digitally embellished cover and an 8-page Supplement produced on Blue Star’s HP T300 Digital Web Press. But nothing runs that smoothly so don’t be surprised if your magazine runs a little late this month. If you don’t receive your copy of the leading industry magazine, for a limited time as an industry professional you can get a free subscription here.

    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.

  • Bruce & Peter’s excellent adventure

    Bruce Peddlesden,  and Peter Benjamin, Discus, are getting their fill of eating dust in the back of beyond as the Variety Bush Bash reaches Mt Isa, over half way through the 4,608 km marathon.

    The two industry notables in Car #15 limped into the far western Queensland town with a broken front suspension on their trusty Holden. Punishing corrugations 40 km outside town finally brought the adventurers undone after six days and over three thousand kilometres, much of it on the dirt.

    “We’re not the only ones. Every workshop in town is busy fixing up half the cars in the Bash. We’re lucky to be able to get the suspension welded. But we’re still alive, rumours of our passing are greatly exaggerated,” said Peddlesden.

    He does confess that the lay day on Wednesday is a great relief before they start towards the coast and the final destination of Airlie Beach and then to Hamilton Island. It’s a long way from where they started out in Shepparton Victoria, via Deniliquin, Broken Hill, Moree and Birdsville.

    “We’ve been more than half the time on dirt roads, out along the edge of the Simpson Desert and the Birdsville Track. We’ve been driving six to seven hundred kilometres a day. When the suspension cracked I was just about ready to give up,” said Peddlesden.

    However he is buoyed by the thought that the pair has raised over $30,000, much of it from the industry, for the Variety Club. You can still contribute here.




  • Fine China plates go global – Print21 magazine feature

    In the world of printing plates there are three major brands… and then there is Xingraphics, the new kid on the block. Xingraphics is the only new brand from the powerhouse of China that has cut through onto the global stage. It is readily recognisable and is moving up the rankings. Safwen Hijazi talks to Patrick Howard about where the brand has come from and, more importantly, where it is going.

    Coca-Cola is the world’s number one brand, followed by IBM, Microsoft and Google (source: Bloomberg Business Week). The top 100 global brands represent a select club, one that has few connections to the printing and graphic arts industry. HP makes it in at #10, Canon at #33, Xerox at #57 – but all are listed as electronics brands. Adobe comes in at #88 as a supplier of computer software.

    It is not an easy task for a new enterprise to break through as a global brand in any industry. There are plenty of established competitors ready to protect their turf and customers with an inbuilt resistance to change; hard work is required to establish a reputation for quality and reliability.

    Few Chinese brands have made it into the global brand rankings. Despite being the manufacturing centre of the world, Chinese companies struggle to win recognition. At drupa, there were many Chinese graphic arts suppliers exhibiting but few with the marketing style and panache of their western counterparts.

    A standout exception is Xingraphics, the Chengdu-based plate manufacturer that has successfully marketed itself and its printing plates on the world stage since 2002. In the decade since it emerged from a partnership with Creo to stand on its own feet, Xingraphics has consistently pursued a strategy to make itself into a global brand. It has carefully developed a reputation for consistent quality and positioned itself not merely as an alternative supplier but as a differentiated plate manufacturer.

    It is now reaping the rewards, growing its market share to the stage where its goal of being among the top three suppliers is within sight. According to Safwen Hijazi (pictured right with Ferag’s Ian Martin), vice president, Xingraphics was always destined to be a global brand, its success only a matter of time.

    Way back when

    When Kodak bought out the Canadian-based Creo in the early part of the century, it left Xingraphics, the China-based manufacturing partner, with an opportunity and a dilemma. The opportunity was obvious, a world-class printing plate manufacturing process and an ambition to return to the global stage under its own brand. The dilemma was two-fold; Kodak had taken control of the Creo technology leaving Xingraphics to urgently develop its own proprietary thermal plates. It also had to develop an international distribution network from scratch as, under the original agreement, Creo handled all sales outside China.

    “The takeover left Xingraphics with no international presence,” says Hijazi. “What Xingraphics had gained from the partnership was world-class quality control and high-end manufacturing processes from a company that valued its brand. But it was left without any IP.”

    Under Kendall Zhao, chairman and president, Xingraphics developed its own proprietary positive thermal plate technology, FIT, in 2006. Within a couple of years it had successfully fought off patent infringement cases brought by Agfa to reaffirm its own unique plate technology.

    The development of its international network was arguably more difficult. Following a career with 3M and Kodak in Australia, Hijazi was working with Creo, then with Kodak in China, when he was approached to become the vice president of Xingraphics and take the company global. His job was to create and operate the global service, marketing and sales organisations around the world.

    In a whirlwind of accomplishment, he began by targeting Europe first with the inaugural distributor recruited in Spain. Since then he has created a network of what he prefers to call partners rather than just dealers in 58 countries, as well as major service centres in the Netherlands for Europe and Chicago for North and Latin America. He is responsible for developing the company’s overall strategy of not going directly to the market, except in China.

    A significant part of the strategy was to move early to partner with respected brands, companies of stature who were not competitors; Heidelberg, manroland and Dainippon Screen. None had a plate product of their own and all were established valued brands. Significantly, the three brands are still partners but now account for less than 20 per cent of Xingraphic’s overall business. Dainippon Screen is the preferred hardware supplier, bringing its top-of-the-range CTP brand to support Xingraphics. Heidelberg (excluding APAC region) and manroland remain plate resellers.

    In Australia, Safwen quickly sought out Ferag as a prospective partner, a respected brand with a solid industry presence but one without a plate brand of its own.

    “It has been a solid growing business ever since,” he says. “And 18 months ago, manroland came on board as another partner in Australia.”

    It takes time

    The quality of its distributors has proved integral to the success strategy of Xingraphics in Australia. Ian Martin, GM Ferag, says the increasing penetration of Xingraphics into the local industry is going well. “We’ve established a strong beach head with an increasing number of customers in the sheetfed commercial sector,” he says.

    According to Martin, the market regards Xingraphics as the alternative and, when combined with the Ferag reputation, it has a significant level of credibility.

    “The product has been excellent. The core aluminium comes from Japan and Germany, same as the other major brands that manufacture in China. The manufacturing process is the same.

    “In Australia, Xingraphics has proved to be a very flexible partner, quite supportive in reaching agreements around equipment,” he says.

    So far Xingraphics is mainly in sheetfed although Martin confirms he has run heatset web trials with both Fairfax and IPMG.

    “The plates performed well, there were no issues there, but it’s very difficult to break into that sector as there are some strong commercial deals in place.”

    Focus Press is a significant sheetfed customer for Xingraphics in NSW while Lithocraft features in Victoria. A notable web plant is the ethnic newspaper printing company, All Colour Media Printing in Victoria, which runs Goss Community presses.

    “Now we are getting to the stage that people are phoning us up. They know we have plates and they want to trial them. It is a real solid product that Xingraphics continues to enhance. They have improved chemistry and now have a true processless plate that will do very well,” says Martin.

    Quality and growth

    The company has three main products under its FIT plate brand; FIT News which, as the name suggests, is a newspaper plate; FIT Invado, an entry level, low-run plate that is targeted and sold mainly in developing countries; and FIT Extra Melior, the robust long-run, fast imaging plate with high resolution that is the main seller in markets such as Australia.

    In addition at drupa, Xingraphics brought out two new plates; FIT Primus, a low chemistry plate that uses half the standard amount, and FIT Eco-Primus , a plate the company maintains is the first totally processless plate. Both will be available in the local market before the end of the year.

    All plates are manufactured at the Xingraphics production plant in Chengdu which has four plate lines, three installed within the past five years, making it one of the most modern plants in the world. The plant has a capacity of 45,000 square metres but only 60 per cent is being used at present so there is a lot of upside. It does not make any violet-light plates or conventional plates, outsourcing any requirements for the Chinese market to other local plate manufacturers. All aluminium used is imported from Germany and Japan in order to get the required levels of consistency. Locally-manufactured aluminium made by international companies is only used in the manufacture of the Invado.

    Hijazi is the first to admit that selling against the stigma of ‘made in China’ proved a challenge at first.

    “In Australia, customers were cautious but we were helped by Ferag, by solid promotion of the brand and by word of mouth from customers who had good experiences. People spoke of it as being a good quality plate, delivering good value and, yes, saving some money. In many cases we outperform the competition.

    “We were also helped by the fact that the big three are all now producing their own plates in China.”

    Xingraphics currently has a 5 per cent share of the Australian market which, despite having considerably more in different countries i.e. 35 per cent in Spain, is about its overall world market share.

    “We have the highest growth in the industry. We’re coming from a smaller base but our growth is doubling year on year. We’re aiming at a 7 per cent market share in the next few years.

    “We are the only viable alternative to the established brands. Printers want choice and we are determined to give them a combination of quality and price that will make us competitive in the long term,” he says.

    He has no concerns about the impact of digital on the offset market. He reckons any dramatic impact is still at least a decade away. Meanwhile, Xingraphics is developing an inkjet business for the consumable side of digital.

    In this region, New Zealand remains a market of interest and Hijazi predicts some movement there in the near future. Given his track record so far, expect to hear Kiwi printers making the Xingraphics move in the not-too-distant future.

  • Print21 expands in New Zealand

    Notwithstanding the thrashing handed out to the Wallabies by the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup, Print21 is set to extend its reach across the Tasman in an arrangement with industry body, PrintNZ.

    From this month’s issue on, every member of PrintNZ, the industry association, will receive a complementary copy of Print21 magazine as part of their membership. This reflects the magazine’s status as the official journal of the Printing Industries Association of Australia, whose members also receive Print21.

    Commenting on the initiative, publisher Patrick Howard says: “Over the past few issues, we have steadily carried more industry articles from New Zealand including columns written by Joan Grace, the PrintNZ CEO. The response to our more management-focused editorials and analysis has been positive.

    “This was confirmed during my attendance at the recent PrintNZ conference Print – Part of Life at which one of our writers, Andy McCourt, spoke. I welcome all our new readers across the Tasman and look forward to more news and contact with the NZ industry.”

    Launching awareness of the drive into New Zealand is a campaign headlined ‘Wattle it take?’ celebrating a ‘Ferntastic Partnership’ – obvious plays on the names of the two countries’ national plant emblems.

    Print21 has always circulated a couple of hundred or so copies in New Zealand to subscribers and advertisers,” says Howard, “and we have over 1,200 Kiwi readers of our free weekly online news bulletin, but the cooperation with PrintNZ will take our magazine circulation up to around the 1,000 mark there, adding to the 7,500 copies circulated in Australia.

    “I’ve been delighted with the encouragement of the local industry  and especially from such leading suppliers as Aarque Sign&Screen,” he said.

    In this current issue two world firsts will allow Australian and New Zealand readers to see first hand such graphic arts processes as the Scodix digital embellishment on the cover as well as an 8-page supplement printed on Blue Star Group’s HP T-300 Digital Web Press.

    “We think showcasing new technologies and graphic arts techniques is an important part of our role,” said Howard.

    Non PrintNZ members in New Zealand can subscribe here.




  • Market Watch FY 2012 – A Year in Review Pt. 5

    Part 5 –Major Equipment sales and installations   

    In this the final part of Ascent Partners Market Watch – FY 12, a year in Review, Richard Rasmussen lists all the reported major machinery sales and installations.

    If ever you wanted proof of the rapid change in our industry, look no further than this list.

    Despite what the doomsayers in our industry spruik, there has been some significant investment in new equipment. What has changed however is the profile of the equipment that has gone into our market – it shows the rise and rise of digital equipment installations – wide format, midsized and high end. With those digital installations comes the corresponding large volume of ancillary bindery equipment. We also see the fairly sparse investment in traditional offset equipment.  High speed inkjet machines are entering the market and there has also been a fair share of CtP devices that have been installed.

    Unfortunately, once again this is not to be seen as a definitive list, as its source is mainly from what has been reported in the trade press. Clearly far greater volumes were sold and installed. The lack of sales and installations from a particular vendor could be a function of them, or their customer, not wanting to have the installation reported. In many instances you will note that the vendor is unable to provide the name of the company where the sale / installation occurred, and only provides the numbers of machines that they have been sold / installed. Obviously we would far sooner name names, but respect the customer’s right to privacy.

    You will note that the following list only relates to SME businesses (or assumed SME businesses). The larger businesses were reported in part 1 of this series – click here to view.

    Assta Label House NSW I ABG Digicon label cutter
    Catalyst Graphics NSW I Agfa Jeti 1224
    Core Print VIC I Agfa Avalon N4 CtP
    Discus Digital Print WA I Agfa Jeti 1224 UV digital Flat bed
    Flow Printing VIC I Agfa Avalon N-8 12S CtP
    Flow Printing VIC I Agfa Avalon N-8 12S CtP
    Oxford Printing NSW I Agfa Jeti 1224
    Tennyson Printing QLD I Agfa VCF 85 processor (chem free)
    VRC QLD I Agfa Avalon CtP
    PDQ Labels NSW I Apex 1290 Digital Press
    Platypus Graphics QLD I Autobond 76 Celloglazer with slitter and auto delivery
    ABC Photosigns Vic / NZ S Canon 2 x Image Press C701VP
    KK Chatswood NSW I Canon C7000VP
    3 x Kwik Kopy stores (as advised by Canon) NSW / VIC I Canon 3 x Image Press CV 7000 VP
    AuzPrint QLD I Canon C6000
    PictureWorks VIC I Canon DreamLabo 5000 AKL I Canon C7000 VP
    WA Printer WA S Cron Platesetter
    Picton WA S Currie and Co Small folder, creaser and guillotine
    Numerous customers (as advised by vendor) Aust / NZ S Duplo 4 x digital booklet makers
    A Better Way to Print QLD I Duplo DC 645 Card Cutter
    Unknown (as reported by EFI) Aust S EFI Vutek QS 2000
    Scribal Group NSW S EFI Rastek H652
    Hannanprint NSW S Ferag UniDrum 440 Gatherer, stitcher, trimmer
    News Ltd WA / QLD S Ferag 2 x SNT 350 Three Knife Trimming drums
    Sony NSW I Fujifilm Acuity HS 3545 flat bed UV digital printer
    Orangebox AKL I GBR GBR 420T Smart feeder, folder
    Magnify Media VIC I GMC Wide format workflow / colour system
    Hosking Envelopes Aust S Halmes 4 x re-manufactured envelope printers
    Bambra Vic I Heidelberg XL 75-12 colour offset
    AMR Hewitt VIC S Heidelberg Dymatrix 113 diecutter
    CJ King WA S Heidelberg SM 74-8 -P
    JP Printing VIC S Heidelberg SX 52 and SM 52-5
    Snap Perth Hub WA I Heidelberg SM 52-4 Anicolor
    Various (as advised by Heidelberg) Aust NZ S Heidelberg 4 x A1 presses (36 print units in Apr to Dec 11)
    Various (as advised by Heidelberg) Aust NZ S Heidelberg 4 x A2 presses (23 print units in Apr to Dec 11)
    Various (as advised by Heidelberg) Aust NZ S Heidelberg 4 x A3 presses (20 print units in Apr to Dec 11)
    Various (as advised by Heidelberg) Aust NZ S Heidelberg /Kodak CtP – 13 devices (9 HD, 4 Kodak in Apr to Dec 11)
    Eastern Press VIC S Heidelberg XL 75 – 5 +L
    McHargs CHC I Horizon BQ470 PUR+EVA perfect binder
    McHargs Horizon SPF 200A
    Broderick Printing and Design AKL NZ I Horizon Stitchliner
    Crystal Print WA S Horizon Stitching line
    Dieline AKL NZ I Horizon AFC 566 folder, BQ 270 binder, SPF 200A collate, stitch, trim
    Maroondah Printing VIC I Horizon Collate, stitch and trim
    Various (as advised by Curries) S Horizon 3 x AFC 566 FC cross folders
    Various(as advised by Curries) S Horizon 2 x Stitchmasters
    Who Printing NSW I Horizon BQ 470
    Assta Label House NSW I HP Indigo WS4500
    Image Source WA I HP DJ L65500 Latex wide format
    RMIT VIC I HP Designjet Z6200
    Sabre Signs Cch I HP Scitex FB 700 / Designjet L25500
    Bokay Group WA S HP Scitex FB7600 Digital Press
    Briner Total Signage Solutions VIC I HP Scitex LX 800 printer
    Colemans Printing NT I HP 2 x Indigo 5500
    Digi we doo SA S HP Indigo 7500
    Digimen Townsville QLD I HP Scitex FB500 UV Flatbed Printer
    Discus WA I HP Indigo 5000
    Lotsa QLD I HP 26500 Wide Format (Latex)
    Magnify Media WA S HP Scitex FB 7600
    Momento Pro NSW I HP Indigo 7500
    Pilpel Print WA I HP Indigo
    PMG NSW S HP Indigo 7500
    PMI Corp VIC I HP Indigo 7500
    Pressprint AKL NZ I HP Indigo 3550
    Spice Digital Imaging WA I HP Super wide Designjet L28500
    Various (as advised by HP) Aust / NZ S HP 4 Plus 1000 presses
    SEMA NSW /VIC I/S Impika iPrint eVolution press x 2
    GSP NSW I Inca Onset S20 digital flatbed printer
    Retail Communications Vic I Inca Onset S20 high end flat bed
    Aust Customer Aust S KBA 105 – 5 plus coater
    Print Counsel AKL I KBA Genius 52 UV
    Kirk ?? S Kodak Flexcel NX wide flexo
    Kirk Vic I Kodak Flexcel NX wide system
    BDR Max AKL I Konica Minolta Bizhub C7000
    Numberous customers Vic S Konica Minolta Digital Machines
    Pure Colours NSW I Konica Minolta Biz Hub 8000
    Unitec NZ I Konica Minolta and Oce Suppliers of a new range of digital printers
    LabelForce WA I Mark Andy P5 – 8 colour Flexo press
    Marvel Bookbinding VIC I MBO T 800 Perfection folder
    M&N Graphics NSW I MBO T535.4.4.F folder
    Dragon Printing ?? S Memjet Speedstar label printer
    MailEzy QLD I Memjet Envelope printer
    Print Rite NSW S Memjet Speedstar label printer
    Christchurch Digital Print Co-operative CH I Mogana DocuMaster Pro Booklet maker
    ABC Photosigns AKL I Morgana Digifold Pro
    Kwik Kopy Norwood SA I Morgana Documaster and DigiFold Pro
    Lotsa QLD I Morgana DigiFold
    Griffin Press SA I Muller Martini SigmaLine
    Brisbane City Council QLD I Oce Colourwave 600 Wide Format
    Briter VIC I Oce Arizona 360GT Flatbed
    Slimbox NSW I Oce Arizona 360XT Wide Format
    On Demand VIC I Oce Colourstream 3500
    Pageset VIC I Oce Arizona 550 GT and Pro Cut
    St. Lawrence College QLD S Oce Manage print facility
    Trannys NSW I Oce Arizona 550 GT UV
    Various, as advised by Heidelberg Aust / NZ S Polar 30 x Polar orders             (April – Sept 11)
    Excel Digital NZ S Polar 80SE
    Various Aust NZ S Polar 38 machines (Apr – Dec 11)
    Publications Perspective VIC I Presstek 34 DI press (Used)
    Redworks Ogilvy NZ I Ricoh 2 x Pro 651 EX
    Armadale Council WA I Ricoh Pro C900 + finishing
    Kwik Kopy WA I Ricoh C901 and 1357EX
    Snap Northwest NSW I Ricoh Pro C901
    Eye Tonic NSW I Roland VersaUV LEJ-640
    Frontline Printing Syd I Roland DG LEJ 640, UV flatbed
    Imprimerie STP Multipress Tahiti I Roland 700 Hi Print
    Unknown (as reported by Roland DG) Aust S Roland DG 8 x Versa wide format
    Unknown (as reported by Roland DG) Aust S Roland DG LEJ 640 Hybrid UV inkjet
    Kalamazoo AKL I Ryobi 920-10 colour offset
    Kalamazoo CHC NZ I Ryobi 955D and 925D Offset presses
    PMS VIC I Ryobi Ryobi 925
    Catus Imaging NSW I Scitex XP 5300
    Omnigraphics Akl I Scitex XP 2300
    Graphic Glass WA I Screen Trupress Jet 2500UV
    Mega Colour NSW S Screen PlateRite 8900 CtP
    Metro Press  WA I Screen Platewrite 4300E CtP
    Queensland customer (as reported by Screen) QLD S Screen Truepress Jet 520
    Various (as reported by Heidelberg) Aust NZ S Stahl 7 machines sold                (Apr – Dec 11)
    CMYK Hub QLD S Stahl Ti 52 Folder
    Benefitz AKL I Tekcel Wide format router
    Photobook Shop VIC I UniBind Casemaker 750A
    GSP NSW I Uvistar 5032 4 colour grand format UV
    Press Print Solutions Vic I Watkiss DFS booklet machine
    Immij VIC I Xerox 800/1000 press
    Xtreem VIC I Xerox I Gen 4 EXP
    2 x Customers (as reported by Xerox) Aust S Xerox 2 x Nuvera 200 EA Perfectors
    Kalamazoo WEL S Xerox 2 x 2800 Inkjet Colour continuous feed printers
    Print Storm NSW I Xerox 1000 Press
    SEMA NSW S Xerox iPrint 75 x 2
    Snap Mackay QLD I Xerox 800 Press
    Various (as reported by Xerox) Aust S Xerox 60 x 800/1000 Digital image presses sold in region in past 12 months
    Worldwide – Market Street QLD I Xerox 800

    The above list was developed after the collation of data from Ascent Partners monthly Market Watch Bulletin. This bulletin is available on the free subscription basis from their web site,

    Next week we will issue Market Watch for the first two months of this financial year. We’re sure you won’t be surprised by the continued consolidation and investment in the industry.

  • Vistaprint opens doors for manroland users conference

    Steve Dunwell’s customer club gets a rare chance to tour the highly automated web-to-print company’s Melbourne site to see how the successful global enterprise fulfills its business plan.

    The visit proved a highlight of the annual conference for the users of both manroland web systems and manroland sheetfed presses.  Vistaprint operates a Roland 700 DirectDrive press, one of a number in multiple sites around the world.

    The tour proved to be a major talking point at the annual customer club dinner at Albert Park on Wednesday night. Although the general consensus agreed that Vistaprint is more of a logistics company than a printer there were many aspects of its well-oiled workflow system that greatly impressed both commercial and web print professionals.

    The well-attended 3rd annual conference highlighted again the spread of the manroland installed base in Australia and New Zealand. Owners, CEOs and senior managers of a diverse range of companies were there, from small commercial printers to large packaging enterprises through to the likes of Webstar – even Richard Allely, Managing Director  of PMP made an appearance – joking about the delivery date of his new manroland 96-page heatset web press for WA.

    They came to hear from Dunwell (pictured right with Tom Lusch, owner of award-winning Queensland printer, Platypus Graphics, who is a long-term manroland user) who spoke about the progress of the revived companies, the present state of play in Germany and the prospects for the future. At the keynote presentation the following morning he earnestly conveyed his belief in the renewed vitality and sound prospects of the German press manufacturers following their emergence from financial administration last year.

    “I do believe we are in better shape than any others in the industry. We are now right sized for the market, with no debt and two owners who have a very successful track record in owning and operating companies,” he said.

    He detailed the structure of trust-based L. Possehl & Co, the owner of manroland websystems, assuring the web printers that the company was increasing its involvement with the company, buying the factory buildings in Augsburg and committing to the future development of the business. He was obviously very impressed by Tony Langley, chief of UK-based Langley Holdings, who bought the sheetfed business, describing him in glowing terms as the most impressive CEO he had ever met. The message was clear; manroland is back and here to stay.

    It was reinforced by a line-up of speakers during the conference that included well-known industry identity, Tony Kenney, who not only gave his views on the market trends of drupa but also took the printers on a tour of the 700 direct drive technology. Partners such as Safwen Hijazi, Xingraphics VP who gave an over view of thermal plate technology, complemented the line-up of manroland presenters throughout the day.

    Dennis Geelen, a Belgium-based environmental advisor brought to Australia by Steve Dunwell, was key in the value-add nature of the presentations. He gave a detailed explanation of the Federal Government’s Clean Technology Investment Program, explaining how printing companies could win funding for any number of carbon reduction initiatives from moving presses to changing the kind of lights in the factory.

    The $800 million initiative is a competitive, merit-based grants program to support Australian manufacturers to maintain competitiveness in a carbon-constrained economy. This program will provide grants for investments in energy efficient capital equipment and low emission technologies, processes and products.

    Geelen is in Australia to consult with manroland customers about their eligibility for the program. Members of the Customer Club were encouraged to move quickly to register for grants based on their carbon footprint savings, which are still quite applicable for mid-sized printing companies.

    “Now is the time to get in while the program is still relatively unknown. As more businesses become aware of it the benchmark [of carbon savings] will be raised,” said Steve Dunwell.


  • EFI Australia and New Zealand roadshow

    To combat the somewhat confusing plethora of commercial print software options out there EFI will hold a roadshow for existing customers and newcomers designed to straighten out what is needed for which result within its end-to-end product range.

    The EFI workflow, integration and automation roadshow, which will kick-off on 6 September in New Zealand and finish up in Brisbane on 12 September, is designed to highlight the opportunities available for print businesses through workflow integration software systems and outline how EFI’s range of products can be utilised to improve a business’s processes and bottom line.

    Anthony Parnemann, EFI’s Australia and New Zealand country manager, says the roadshow sessions will help printers identify the best workflow and MIS solutions for their businesses.

    “You can cobble together software solutions from different companies, but with EFI you can do it under the one banner,” says Parnemann. “Because EFI now has such a broad range of products in digital printing, from StoreFront to the Fiery controllers, and MIS software, it can cover a company from quote to invoice – and EFI is trying to communicate that integrated workflow capability.”

    Parnemann explains that the roadshow will consist of two parts, one for existing EFI customers to delve deeper into their product range and be updated on the latest developments and enhancements to software such as the recently acquired Prism MIS system.

    The second part of the roadshow will be for anybody who is interested in finding out more about EFI’s product range, and will feature Mark Campbell, independent industry consultant and one of Australia’s leading specialists in workflow improvement, who has been brought onboard as a guest speaker for series of sessions.

    Campbell (pictured) will illustrate how to take a strategic approach to improving business models and developing new markets, as well as identifying the key factors in implementing change within a business.

    “People can benefit from looking at the way they do business and look at what improvements they can make, and EFI would like to help these people solve their problems,” says Parnemann.

    The dates for the roadshow sessions are:

    Auckland – 6 September: Novotel, Ellerslie

    Melbourne –10 September: Novotel, Glen Waverley

    Sydney – 11 September: Novotel, Sydney Olympic Park

    Brisbane – 12 September: Novotel, Brisbane Airport

    To book, call 1300289875 or email:

  • PIAA slams Manufacturing Taskforce Report for ignoring print

    The Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce Report, released this month, has drawn criticism from Printing Industries for not addressing the unique issues faced by the Australian printing industry in the current economic climate.

    The Smarter manufacturing for a smarter Australia report of the non-government members of the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing, comprising business and union leaders, was drafted to reflect the critical challenges facing the manufacturing sector.

    While Printing Industries CEO, Bill Healey (pictured), welcomes the release of the report, he says he is disappointed that the report contained no printing industry-specific concerns of recommendations.

    “Many of the recommendations are consistent with the overall strategic direction adopted by Printing Industries and articulated to the Taskforce,” says Healey. “However it is disappointing that there were not any sector-based plans or recommendations.

    “The Report certainly provides us with a broad framework to address printing industry specific issues but it does not recognize that some sectors, such as the printing sector, have unique issues and challenges that require special attention to redress,” he says.

    Healey says that, of the report’s 41 recommendations, Printing Industries’ initial assessment indicated that only 18 of the recommendations would be directly relevant to the print industry.

    “Many of the recommendations build on what we currently have underway initiated under Printing and Publishing network on the Creative Industries Hub of Enterprise Connect,” says Healey. “We are therefore supportive of recommendations aimed at upgrading Enterprise Connect and turning it into a single front door for SME support.

    “In addition to Enterprise Connect being equipped to provide knowledge and advice on the implications of broadband for the business models of its clients, it will help facilitate the expansion of innovation in our industry. This is an area we are developing in conjunction with the Hargraves Institute and are actively pursuing with Enterprise Connect.”

    Printing Industries national manager, Policy and Government Affairs, Hagop Tchamkertenian, says that Printing Industries also supports some of the report’s other recommendations, including expanding access to finance for SMEs, succession planning and generational change, managing the transition of displaced workers, showcasing good practice in high performing workplaces, and the establishment of a Manufacturing Leaders Group to work on manufacturing related issues.

    He says the report also recommended that the impacts of the carbon price needed to be ameliorated given the current competitive environment.

    “We agree that this is a good position and we also support the move to monitor the impact via the Jobs and Competitiveness program, which support energy intensive businesses operating under the Carbon Price Mechanism, and refined as needed to ensure the global competitiveness of those sectors,” says Tchamkertenian. “Printing Industries is of the view that all sectors of manufacturing including printing, should be supported as rising energy costs will threaten the commercial viability of many printing businesses if they are forced for competitive reasons to absorb the carbon-related cost increases.”

    Meanwhile, Healey says that Printing Industries will write to the Prime Minister and request representation on the proposed Manufacturing Leaders Group.

    “We are an industry that is experiencing both cyclical and structural issues,” he says. “While the Report acknowledges the cyclical factors and recommends that a package of short-term measures be considered to help counter the cyclical factors confronting key manufacturing subsectors, it is silent on the more critical issue of supporting sectors such as printing to manage their structural issues.”

  • From the paper front – Print21 Magazine feature

    Print and paper manufacturers have invested a lot of time and money in developing a range of eco-labels designed to promote more sustainable practices within the industry. But are they worth it and are the print buyers getting the message? Not really, if the Paper Wars forum for printer buyers held in Sydney during May is anything to go by. Print21’s Simon Enticknap went along to find out why the current system of eco-labels isn’t working and what can be done to convince customers about the greening of the industry.

    The title of the event held in Melbourne and Sydney in May was revealing about current attitudes to that most basic component of the printing industry: ‘Paper Wars: Why is green procurement 101 still such a battlefield?’ Excuse me, but are hostilities still on-going here? I thought peace had broken out amid a plethora of certifications, recycling schemes and green logos. Surely everybody understands the issues now; what could there be left to fight about?

    Mind you, if it wasn’t for the mention of ‘green’ in the title and the fact that the event was organised by an off-shoot of the Total Environment Centre, anybody with even the barest understanding of the paper market might be tempted to ask, ‘Which war?’. Is it the geo-political trade war that sees countries and trading blocs wrangling to secure future access to markets and raw materials? Or is it the continuing struggle between paper merchants in pursuit of fewer and fewer customers in an ever-dwindling market? Or perhaps it’s the current brawl that keeps on spilling out into the open between shareholders of one particular paper company? If you’re looking for a paper fight, take your pick.

    Such conflicts point to the fact that paper, ostensibly such a simple, everyday consumable, is in fact a highly-contested, complex product – and there’s a lot at stake in its manufacture and use.Paper warriors: (l-r) Stephen Reardon, research manager from ECO-Buy, Luke Chamberlain, Victorian campaign manager from The Wilderness Society, Amanda Keogh, head of sustainability at Fuji Xerox Australia, and Gordon Renouf, chairman of Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA).

    The green fog

    The opening salvos at the breakfast event in Sydney were not very promising. One was a video about factory farming (!) while the other was a video which rehashed the usual mish-mash of misleading statements seeking to blame paper for the destruction of 80 per cent of the world’s ‘ancient’ forests. Please. It’s said that the first casualty of any war is truth but, really, there’s no need to insult our intelligence.

    Once the propaganda was out of the way, however, and the speakers and panellists began to present their views of the battlefield, what followed was an interesting and instructive look at the topic of printing papers.

    So how goes the war? If there is one word that might usefully sum up the current campaign map it would be ‘confusion’. Military strategists talk about the ‘fog of war’ and certainly that seems to be where most of the troops are at the moment; lost, wandering around blindly in a cloud of claim and competing claim.

    In part, this is due to the proliferation of certification schemes and green labels – this applies not just to paper but other products too – some of which are industry-sponsored, others of which are backed by environmental NGOs and a few that are little more than brand logos.

    In his opening address, Murray Hogarth, CEO of Green Capital, the organisers of the event, made the point that part of the confusion surrounding green labels is due to the fact that they are being made to represent complex processes. There’s a lot that goes into making a product such as paper and it is difficult for a single label to encompass the entire product life cycle in any meaningful way.

    “The perception of confusion is the reality, and that’s a big problem,” said Hogarth. “Many dream of a silver bullet, cover-all green ‘tick’ – and that’s a fantasy.

    “Much of the confusion is driven by real complexity. Just about everything is complex – footprint accounting, life cycle assessments, environmental management systems, labelling certifications, not to mention actually achieving sustainability itself.”

    No doubt too, there are businesses prepared to exploit this confusion for their own advantage, which invariably leads to accusations of greenwashing. Equally though there are eco labels that do work. The Energy Star rating was cited as one example of a labelling scheme that works well because it is clear, easily understood and backed by real data with a dollar value that enables consumers to make informed decisions. Paper, however, is a long way from achieving that goal.

    Hogarth outlined some of the work that Green Capital has been doing to develop local Buying Better programs. Rather than be all things to all people, the scheme looks at specific products – paper is one, others include meat and dairy, cleaning products and small electronics – and then focuses on just a couple of aspects of the product life cycle. For small electronics, for example, product design is important but not particularly relevant for Australia given that most of the gadgets are made overseas. End-of-life is a different matter, however, and one that can be tackled locally if we are to address the growing mountain of e-waste we hear so much about.

    For paper, the key areas are the raw material ie waste paper or wood, and the manufacturing process, how the paper is made and its environmental footprint. Again this makes sense as it concentrates on those areas which can make a real difference and where consumers are able to make informed decisions. Hogarth says Green Capital has consulted with stakeholders in the industry to develop its Buying Better programs and plans to issue “firm guidance” on printing paper that may include a template of buying decisions against which brands can be assessed.

    For some end-users, for instance, the main requirement might be carbon neutrality, particularly if they have strict carbon emission reduction targets. However, while Hogarth agrees this can be important, he doesn’t regard it as the first order consideration from an environmental perspective. More significant is the pulp source.

    “If you accept our contention that the source of the pulp is the most material issue, the first order decision is where the pulp has come from,” he said. “If, for example, you want to eliminate sourcing from any native forest, you can do that by buying 100 per cent recycled.”

    Growing the demand for recycled paper from its current level of around 20 per cent of printer paper sales in Australia represents “a greener market opportunity worthy of attention,” said Hogarth. It is also one which is being pursued by the Federal government which has signalled its intention to move to 100 per cent post-consumer recycled content in its copy paper by 2015 as part of its ICT sustainability plan.

    Hogarth also pointed to the proliferation of industry-backed websites as adding “a new level of complication” to the debate (singling out the Two Sides website as an example from the paper industry). It remains to be seen, he said, whether these resources which profess to address environmental issues are a positive development – a sign that the industry is really engaging with the problem – or more greenwashing. Either way, it reinforces the perception that this is a battle “being fought in cyberspace as well as on the ground”.

    “We can imagine a future iteration of Buying Better focused on these websites and social media campaigns in their own right,” he warned.

    No easy choices

    The panel session that followed returned to the issue of labels and certificates, or what one of the panellists, Gordon Renouf from Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), described as “the arms race of green claims”. There was general agreement that more simplicity and clarity was desirable in labelling but that there is no easy way to achieve that.

    “Labels are useful in a range of areas and the job is to understand which labels are credible and which are not, which ones do the job for the environment and which ones do some other kind of job, and to keep the pressure on labels to be as robust and trustworthy as we can,” said Renouf.

    Luke Chamberlain from The Wilderness Society reiterated the need to “look beyond the label” and recognise that while the simplicity of a green label might be appealing, it is not the answer in itself.

    “The decisions that you make in your day-to-day life are not simple decisions and although labels can help guide us, the devil is always in the detail,” he said. Labelling needs to be backed up by education, the role played by NGOs and a greater role for government policy that “removes the politics”, he added.

    Amanda Keogh, head of sustainability at Fuji Xerox and the only panellist with a direct involvement in the printing industry, said suppliers had a role to play as well and, as far as Fuji Xerox is concerned, it shares what it knows about paper and sustainability so that customers can make informed choices. In reply to a question from the floor, Keogh outlined how social media and technology such as QR codes, for instance, has the potential to provide more background information on product labels.

    “It’s going to give consumers a lot of transparency into what that label means and the information behind it,” she said.

    On the other hand, Stephen Reardon from ECO-Buy said consumers needed to do their own research and not passively accept what they are told by suppliers, although this is not always possible. “The criteria and process for determining whether something is green should be available, the criteria for the logo should be transparent and easily accessed,” he said

    The overall message then was for buyers to be aware and not accept the messages they are being given by suppliers at face value.

    Perverse incentives

    There was some sympathy for suppliers too. Gordon Renouf said there was a need for purchasers to co-operate with each other and to raise the level discussion about buying systems to deliver what they want rather than simply shifting the burden onto the suppliers to document their sustainability. Stephen Reardon said he’d like to see more resources being made available to help suppliers reduce their impact and to come up with products that are truly green while also lifting the level of debate with buyers in terms of their understanding, “so it’s not just suppliers sticking a label on something and buyers only looking for that label”.

    So if labelling is not the complete answer, what about direct regulation? Again, there are examples of targeted banning of products, eg the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs, that achieve environmental benefits more decisively than any amount of labelling and education. Could the same be applied to paper?

    Gordon Renouf commented that while there will always be cases of regulation to control the purchase of products that are no longer appropriate, that’s not going to apply to the majority of products. On the other hand, there is a role that governments can play in regulating what counts as an acceptable eco-label, something that could perhaps be performed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as part of its examination of misleading ‘green’ claims. In addition, Luke Chamberlain suggested that the powers of the ACCC to investigate greenwashing need to have “more bite”.

    “I can tell you there are labels out there today… that the claim they make on the package is absolutely untrue, but there is very little recourse for investigation,” he said.

    Sometimes, too, it’s not the regulation itself that can have an effect but simply the threat of it. For instance, the creation of a scheme in the 1990s for the kerbside collection and recycling of newspapers through the Publishers National Environment Bureau was partly in response to the perception that if publishers and paper manufacturers didn’t do something to promote recycling then they might be forced to do so by the government.

    The issue of ‘green tape’ is a hot topic at the moment, particularly given the competing claims of miners and environmentalists in parts of the country. Increased regulation is seen as ‘stifling’ investment and innovation, an example of the heavy hand of government. The key point in this debate, argued Chamberlain, is that not enough attention is paid to the underlying biases of the system, the existing regulations that, for instance, make it cheaper to log native forests than plantation forests.

    “Australia is resource-rich, and I’m not just talking about mines, I’m talking about the brains in the room here, the entrepreneurial spirit of this country, the relative wealth of this country, and yet we have perverse incentives out there that keep us attached to the past rather than the future.”

    Choose your certificate

    Inevitably, the question arose as to which paper certification is best from an environmental perspective – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)?

    Luke Chamberlain pointed out that the PEFC certification is based on the Australian Forestry Standard which was originally designed for the logging industry. “In our mind, the Australian Forestry Standard is a process-based system whereas FSC is a performance-based system where there is a lot more scope for stakeholder consultation in the process,” he commented.

    Amanda Keogh agreed but said that the problem with FSC is that there is no national standard for Australia, only an interim standard, whereas the AFS/PEFC certification is an Australian standard. FSC is probably more highly regarded as a brand and that ultimately comes back to the issue of who is driving the development of the standard – the forestry industry or an NGO? Fuji Xerox supplies both FSC and PEFC products but, in terms of office paper, is moving towards only offering FSC-certified brands with a minority of specialty papers that are non-FSC.

    Even so, the enthusiasm for FSC certification was hardly overwhelming. Indeed, the point was made that there is no such thing as a ‘pure’ paper, ie one that ticks all the right boxes in terms of recyclability, sustainability and carbon neutrality. Certainly not a local one anyway or one that is readily available.

    “There are Australian-made recycled papers out there,” said Chamberlain, “but they are made by a company that is sourcing from the most carbon-dense forests on the face of the planet.

    “Unfortunately we have only one manufacturer of Australian-made papers. There’s no competition in this marketplace and for that organisation to say ‘Because we’re Australian-made, buy our paper’ is simply not good enough to us.”

    The main message given to this roomful of print buyers and procurement managers, eager to learn what is the right thing to do regarding paper and the environment, is that there are certainly options available – whether it’s looking at recycled, FSC, locally-sourced or carbon-neutral paper – but not one that will satisfy everybody.

    ‘If you know both yourself and your enemies, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss’ is a well-known saying from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. This event was a good opportunity for the industry to find out first-hand what green advocates think about paper and current environmental labelling, and what they are telling your potential customers. The few printers who were there no doubt benefited from gaining this knowledge.

    The event also came at the same time as a survey of printers in Europe conducted by EcoPrint revealed that about half were certified to some sort of environmental standard (most likely ISO14001 or FSC/PEFC). More revealingly though, of the other half, 40.5 per cent regarded certification as too costly and time consuming, 31 per cent didn’t see it as necessary as their customers did not require it, and a further 27 per cent saw no need at all.

    All of which suggests that the war is likely to drag on for some time yet. Stand by for more skirmishes.

  • Issue 541 – 22 August 2012

    This week, Amcor’s Australasia and Packaging Distribution division takes a 24.7 per cent plunge in cash flow after investing on new recycled paper plant and packaging company, Aperio. Also, Blue Star moves to delist from the NZ Stock Exchange leaving bondholders high and dry, and APN posts a net loss of A$319.4 million for the first half of the year.


    This is your weekly printing news read by over 8,000 industry professionals in Australia and New Zealand. If you enjoy this bulletin but don’t receive our bi-monthly magazine, for a limited time you can get a free subscription to our print edition here.  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.

  • Market Watch FY 2012 – A Year in Review Pt. 4

    Part 4 – Reported SME Mergers and Acquisitions   

    Ascent Partners director, Richard Rasmussen, outlines some of most prominent mergers and acquisitions that occurred during the 2012 financial year for the small to medium end of the market.

    Much has been said about the poor state of the printing industry, but there is a positive side as well. In FY 2012 there were plenty of mergers, acquisitions and amalgamations, which shows that there is a degree of confidence in the industry – buyers don’t buy unless they see a return on investment or a more positive outlook than pre-acquisition.

    And, it makes senses that this consolidation continues from both the vendors’ and acquirers’ perspectives. For example, we all know that one of the key profitability indicators of print businesses is the asset utilisation rate. Consolidation allows for a dramatic increase in utilisation rates, and with that the opportunity to improve profits.

    We recorded 23 in this small to medium enterprise (SME) sector, about one a fortnight, however we know there far more. For example Ascent Partners made eight sales during the year, and due to privacy requests only five are provided in this listing.

    You will note that the following list only relates to SME businesses (or assumed SME businesses). The larger businesses were reported in part 1 of this series – click here to view.

    The below list was developed after the collation of data from Ascent Partners monthly Market Watch Bulletin. This bulletin is available on the free subscription basis from their web site,

    Next week, in the final part of our overview of FY 12, we will provide a list of the major Sales and installations of equipment in the industry.

    AUST / NZ
    APN Outdoor and Quadrant Private Equity Joint Venture
    Billabong Capital Partners buys Moore Australasia’s shell Purchase
    PMA Solutions / Trio Group Merger
    Kalamazoo buys K&M Print and Taieri Print Acquisitions
    Blue Print Imaging buys HGV Acquisition
    Big Print buys Typographical Services Acquisition
    AFI Branding Solutions buys SLS Group Acquisition
    Minuteman Lonsdale Street buys Colourprint Acquisition
    Brougham Press buys Echo Press Acquisition
    J&J Printing buys Manark Printing Acquisition
    Minuteman Press Abbotsford buys BR Printing Acquisition
    Biz Works buys Miss Print Acquisition
    WorldWide’s South Caulfield and Mt Waverley stores Merger
    Cyan Press buys Contemporary Press Acquisition

    Kwik Kopy buys liquidated Cityprint Acquisition
    Ausmage Media buys Locographics Acquisition
    Local trade binder buys Quantum Printing Acquisition
    Local group buy Speciality Press Acquisition
    The Bright Print Group buy Newcastle Camera Print (NCP) Acquisition
    Print Approach buys ABC Printing’s client list Acquisition
    North East Print buys  Copy and Adelaide Image Printing Acquisition
    Worldwide Adelaide Internal buy out
    Lamb Printing and Vangaurd Press Amalgamation
  • One year on Blue Star NZ bondholders will lose the lot

    Investors in the New Zealand bonds (NZDX) of the troubled printing group are unlikely to see any return on their $105 million when the company is sold.

    Blue Star applied to the New Zealand Stock Exchange to de-list the capital and Participating Bonds in order to protect the integrity of its current sales process. The bonds will be removed from public view on 28 August. The de-listing stops any requirement for NZX reporting and Blue Star releasing an annual report.

    According to the company the bonds are now trading effectively at a nominal value, infrequently and on very low volumes. In a statement it said The Board now considers it unlikely that any value will attach to the Group’s NZDX listed bonds.

    The delisting is the final act in a slow train wreck for the bondholders who last year voted to split their holdings into two lots – one that would not pay interest until 2013 and the remainder, $37.5 million, that would never pay interest. The deal was framed as either that or the company would go broke.

    Under new CEO Phillip Bower, the group has hired Goldman Sachs to oversee a sale and likely break-up of the trans-Tasman printing enterprise. It is one of the largest companies in the industry with 13 production sites spread across Australia and NZ. The break-up process began with the sale of Rapid Labels last month to originator, Tom Sturgess.

    CHAMP Private Equity will lose hundreds of millions of dollars from its ill-fated investment. The US-based fund bought the company for NZ385 million in December 2006 with the intention of floating it on the Stock Exchange. Sales estimates now range between $100 and $150 million.





  • Heidelberg pulls out of Ipex 2014

    Following on the heels of both HP and Agfa, the industry’s largest press manufacturer has headed for the exit from the London show. Organizers fear others may follow in a rush for the doors.

    The pullout changes the dynamic of the world’s largest English-language printing exhibition being held for the first time in years in London. It reflects the local situation where Heidelberg (HAN) has also pulled out of next year’s PacPrint show in Melbourne.

    Ipex organizers are continuing to engage with the company but the loss of its two largest exhibitors can only make life difficult for the show.

    According to David Preskett, president of Ipex 2014, and print director of Canon Europe, the loss will not close down the show. “Heidelberg’s decision is obviously a disappointment. However, Ipex has a rich heritage and tradition for innovation, and plans are well underway with the IAC and other industry associations to ensure that Ipex 2014 captures the rapid changes taking place in our industry as print continues to evolve as a key element in the new order marketing mix.”

    A disappointed Trevor Crawford, event director of the show’s organizers, Informa Exhibitions, echoed the disappointment. “We are very disappointed in Heidelberg’s decision to withdraw from Ipex 2014 – one of the industry’s major global events. Heidelberg has long been synonymous with printing and has a long association with Ipex. As organizers of a range of exhibitions around the world, we will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with them.”

    Heidelberg is now under the control of a new CEO, Dr. Gerold Linzbach, who has no baggage or tradition in the printing industry. The company and the printing industry can expect even more changes as the industry icon struggles to turn itself around. Ipex has long been regarded as the Australian and NZ industry’s ‘home’ show, with many practitioners here holding trade certificates’ from the London School of Printing.





  • Issue 540 – 15 August 2012

    This week, the competition watchdog opens up for complaints against Aussie Post bulk pricing, Sensis prepares to cut its White Pages Residential circulation again, the O’Farrell government moves to privatise industry training, and BJ Ball offers a trip for two to NYC.


    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.