Archive for December, 2012

  • That was the year that was – 2012

    That was the year that was – 2012

    As Print21 wraps up for Christmas, let’s look back at some of the key industry moments that shaped 2012. Printers and suppliers came face to face with their destiny in this drupa year  – win, lose or draw. Amazing how many times the same names cropped up, sometimes on the upside, other times not so good. 

     

    Some didn’t make it through but businesses such as Heidelberg, Kodak, GEON, SEMA, manroland and PaperlinX – to name but a few – survived market pressures and internal turmoil to fight another year. It’s been a tough time but the latest figures, released earlier this month suggest the industry is once again growing.

     

    For all of our readers, partners and supporters, on behalf of the Print21 team, I wish you a very merry Christmas, and look forward to joining you in an exciting and prosperous PacPrint year of 2013. See you back online with the first news bulletin in three weeks time – January 10, 2013.

     

    Leon Spencer,

    Online Editor.

     

     

     

     

    January           

    Benny’s Back! – drupa Snooper World Exclusive!

    Andy McCourt kicks a stunner in his 2nd drupa Snooper column with news on Benny Landa. The Indigo founder will launch new nanographic digital printing technologies at drupa – exactly 100 days away from today.

    Kodak Australia dodges bankruptcy bullet

    Kodak’s Australian operations have escaped any immediate ill effects stemming from the company’s decision to file for bankruptcy in the US this week.

    IPMG farewells Craft

    One of Australia’s largest print providers, IPMG, has announced it will close its sheet fed printing business, Craft, citing the industry’s aggressive sheet fed competition and narrowing margins as the core reason for the closure.

    February

    British industrialist rescues manroland sheetfed factory

    A privately owned British engineering group has emerged as the buyer of manroland AG’s Offenbach sheetfed operations in the printer manufacturer’s ongoing insolvency proceedings, heralding the first non-German ownership of a manroland AG business.

    Canon squeezes out last Océ shareholders

    Canon has finally concluded its buyout of Netherlands-based print machinery manufacturer, Océ, almost two years after it first made a takeover bid.

    Andrew Price makes his move on PaperlinX

    Former print management supremo of Stream Solutions, drives for a seat on the board of the ailing paper merchant in a move that likely heralds a major corporate makeover.

    Cameras out of the picture for Kodak

    The company that gave the world the tagline, ‘Kodak moment,’ will this year farewell its dedicated capture device business, which includes its entire range of digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames.

    March

    OPUS acquisition gets the green light

    The final hurdle for McPherson’s Printing Group’s acquisition of OPUS Group has been well and truly cleared, with the company’s shareholders voting ‘overwhelmingly’ in favour of the deal.

    Creditors chase Lamb Print for payment

    Industry suppliers are calling for a full and transparent review of Lamb Print’s merger with Vanguard Press and subsequent distribution of funds after Monday’s creditors meeting.

    Amcor gets green light for Aperio purchase

    Amcor has received unconditional approval from Australian competition watchdog to go ahead with its acquisition of the Aperio Group in a move that will see the packaging company substantially increase its market share of the packaging business in the region.

    April

    New local partnership for Heidelberg and Ricoh

    The long-awaited local partnership between Ricoh Australia and Heidelberg Australia has finally come to fruition with both companies this week formally inking an agreement that will see them move in line with their global counterparts.

    Australia Post loses first round to ban to Digital Post

    Salmat and Computershare have fended off Australia Post’s court injunction application to prevent the Digital Post Australia joint venture from using the name until trial next month.

    New Spicers brand swallows Dalton and iMedia

    Two of Australia’s most prominent graphic arts industry brands are set to disappear from the local landscape with Dalton Paper and iMedia to be rolled into a soon-to-be rebranded Spicers company by June this year.

    RMIT dumps print training – printing industry outrage

    RMIT University will close the book on its International Centre of Graphic Technology (ICGT) centre in 18 months as falling apprenticeship numbers force its hand. The Printing Industries Association of Australia said it was “shocked and dismayed.

    May

    Drupa kick-off – automatic for the printing press from manroland websystems

    From the first press conference of drupa comes news likely to transform how printing is done in Australia. Reaffirming manroland web system´s technology leadership, Peter Kuisle, director of the resurgent web press manufacturer, confirmed that at least one of the two huge web presses destined for Australia will be fitted with the latest in automated control, the autoprint system.

    Memjet acquires Silverbrook staff under agreement

    The $600 million lawsuit filed against Silverbrook Research has quietly been resolved as US-based Memjet assumes direct ownership of Memjet printing technology. The IP control agreement will see around 300 Australian print researchers shift from the employ of Silverbrook to Memjet.

    Time is running out for Sands Print

    Administrators are confident the beleaguered 150-year-old print group will be liquidated and sold within the next few weeks. Lawler Draper Dillon is negotiating with three preferred offers out of seven that were considered to be serious to buy the printer.

    Drupa Snooper – A tale of two drupas

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us…” Andy McCourt feels that Charles Dickens´ opening words from A Tale of Two Cities might well apply to drupa 2012.

    June

    Fairfax to end the age of broadsheet

    Fairfax Media is set to end the age of broadsheet in Australia, with this week’s announcement it will downsize its two leading broadsheet daily newspapers to a new ‘compact’ format and sell off its two largest newspaper print facilities in Chullora and Tullamarine.

    Creditors give SEMA management buyout the nod

    Australia Post, Fuji Xerox and other major creditors have given the nod to a SEMA management buyout led by industry consultant, John Stewart, which was decided upon this week following a creditors’ meeting.

    PaperlinX fire sale for profit return

    PaperlinX will sell off three of its largest international paper businesses in a bid to shed its poorly performing divisions and give the company the liquidity it requires to complete its ongoing restructure and return to profit.

    July

    Australia Post muscles in on transactional mail

    Australia Post has upped its stake in the transactional mail market with the purchase of two Océ ColourStream 3700 Twin high-speed digital presses, in a move that will see the country’s mail monopoly business go head to head for market dominance with the industry’s biggest players, Salmat, SEMA and Computershare.

    Marchant walks as PaperlinX sells off global assets

    PaperlinX chief, Toby Marchant, has announced he will part ways with the struggling company by the end of July, as it begins an extensive sell-off of its Eastern European and South African businesses.

    Goprint sheds commercial printing operation

    Queensland government printer, Goprint, will be dramatically scaled back, with the loss-making business set to lose around 40 staff and see its printing operation reduced solely to the production of ‘reserved services.’

    Schreier bows out for new Heidelberg CEO

    Bernhard Schreier, Heidelberg CEO, will leave the company by the end of the year, with his supervisory board-nominated replacement, Dr. Gerold Linzbach, to take the reigns from September this year.

    August

    Vic printing industry action group ‘betrayed’ by RMIT

    Two weeks to meet $1million demand by the college for equipment and learning assessment material in order for the industry to keep apprentice training alive.

    Price takes his position inside the tent

    PaperlinX shareholder activist and board agitator, Andrew Price, has been appointed as a non-executive director of the company, after a long battle over its leadership that saw Price attempt to oust chairman, Harry Boon.

    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.

    Salmat exits essential mail with $375 million BPO sale to Fujifilm

    Tokyo-based Fujifilm Holdings has purchased Salmat’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) division for (AU) $375 million, in a move that sees Australia’s biggest essential mail player exit the sector.

    September

    Joan Grace to head new Australian printing industry training organisation

    Printing Industries is moving to buy a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to establish a training facility for apprentice printers, with PrintNZ chief, Joan Grace, crossing the Tasman to head-up the new venture.

    ‘We believe in print’ – Bauer pays $500 million for ACP

    The Bauer Media Group, one of Europe’s largest magazine companies, has closed a deal to purchase ACP Magazines from the private equity-owned Nine Entertainment Co. (NEC) for $500 million, the German company’s owner saying, ‘we believe in print.’

    Bye-bye Boon – Price wins PaperlinX leadership struggle

    PaperlinX chairman, Harry Boon, will leave the company on 28 September, along with his supporters, non-executive directors Lyndsey Cattermole and Anthony Clarke, in a boardroom coup that sees shareholder lobbyist, Andrew Price, win his battle against the company’s leadership.

    GEON to cut labour costs for a sustainable future

    GEON is trying to slice its labour costs, with the company this week entering talks with employees with the aim of minimising its outgoing staffing expenses while retaining workers.

    October

    Heidelberg’s Andy Vels Jensen goes home

    Andy Vels Jensen, Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand (HAN) managing director, will head back to his native Denmark for good, following his departure from the company at the end of the month.

    Fairfax should ‘come clean’ over print closures – AMWU

    The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is demanding that Fairfax chief, Greg Hywood, ‘come clean on the real motivations’ behind the company’s massive job cuts and print production closures, after he told shareholders that the printed editions of its metro daily newspapers could remain profitable for up to another 15 years

    APN reviews NZ print assets

    APN News & Media is taking stock of its New Zealand print assets following market speculation it had found a buyer for the business.

    Heidelberg closes Australian showroom to cut costs

    Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand will close its Notting Hill press showroom in Melbourne in an effort to cut back on its local operation costs.

    November

    Geoff Selig regains Blue Star Print Australia

    Geoff Selig, former CEO of  Blue Star and current owner of Sydney-based CaxtonWeb has bought Blue Star Print Australia. After having the company on the block for months, Champ Private Equity finally sold the Australian part of the business to the former NSW Liberal Party president.

    PMP to cut jobs in $64m cost-saving drive

    PMP is moving to lay-off workers as it enters the second phase of its national transformation strategy, which will see its press fleet shrink along with its staff numbers in a bid to save more than $64 million over the next two years.

    PIAA takes on CLB with Intech training acquisition

    The Printing Industries Association of Australia is moving to outflank its newest training rival, CLB Training & Development, following the acquisition of registered training organisation (RTO), Intech Australia – a move that has CLB claiming the association has ‘lost its independent voice’.

    Barbagallo leaves Muller Martini in global restructure

    Livio Barbagallo, Muller Martini Australia’s managing director, will leave the company at the end of the year as it undergoes structural changes that see its Australian operations fall under a newly formed Asia Pacific Region division.

    December

    GASAA clears final hurdle in PIAA amalgamation

    The last hurdle in the long-awaited amalgamation of the Graphic Arts Services Association of Australia (GASAA) and the Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) has been cleared, with GASAA members voting unanimously in favour of the merger.

    Fuji Xerox sells 40% stake in Digital Post Australia

    Computershare is taking charge of Digital Post Australia after acquiring Fuji Xerox Document Management Solution’s 40 per cent stake in the online essential mail platform.

    Ron Patterson goes from Printing Industries Association in Victoria

    High-profile industry identity is a casualty of the new national structure of the leading print industry association. Patterson, formerly the Victorian state manager under the old organisation, was GM for Sales and Marketing under the revamped national structure.

    Kodak sells patent portfolio for $525 million

    Kodak is finally selling off the digital imaging patent portfolio it has been trying to move for close to a year, after reaching a US$525 million deal agreement with a consortium of investors.

  • That was the year that was – 2012

    That was the year that was – 2012

    As Print21 wraps up for Christmas, let’s look back at some of the key industry moments that shaped 2012. Printers and suppliers came face to face with their destiny in this drupa year  – win, lose or draw. Amazing how many times the same names cropped up, sometimes on the upside, other times not so good. 

    Some didn’t make it through but businesses such as Heidelberg, Kodak, GEON, SEMA, manroland and PaperlinX – to name but a few – survived market pressures and internal turmoil to fight another year. It’s been a tough time but the latest figures, released earlier this month suggest the industry is once again growing.

    For all of our readers, partners and supporters, on behalf of the Print21 team, I wish you a very merry Christmas, and look forward to joining you in an exciting and prosperous PacPrint year of 2013. See you back online with the first news bulletin in three weeks time – January 10, 2013.

    Leon Spencer,

    Online Editor.

    January           

    Benny’s Back! – drupa Snooper World Exclusive!

    Andy McCourt kicks a stunner in his 2nd drupa Snooper column with news on Benny Landa. The Indigo founder will launch new nanographic digital printing technologies at drupa – exactly 100 days away from today.

    Kodak Australia dodges bankruptcy bullet

    Kodak’s Australian operations have escaped any immediate ill effects stemming from the company’s decision to file for bankruptcy in the US this week.

    IPMG farewells Craft

    One of Australia’s largest print providers, IPMG, has announced it will close its sheet fed printing business, Craft, citing the industry’s aggressive sheet fed competition and narrowing margins as the core reason for the closure.

    February

    British industrialist rescues manroland sheetfed factory

    A privately owned British engineering group has emerged as the buyer of manroland AG’s Offenbach sheetfed operations in the printer manufacturer’s ongoing insolvency proceedings, heralding the first non-German ownership of a manroland AG business.

    Canon squeezes out last Océ shareholders

    Canon has finally concluded its buyout of Netherlands-based print machinery manufacturer, Océ, almost two years after it first made a takeover bid.

    Andrew Price makes his move on PaperlinX

    Former print management supremo of Stream Solutions, drives for a seat on the board of the ailing paper merchant in a move that likely heralds a major corporate makeover.

    Cameras out of the picture for Kodak

    The company that gave the world the tagline, ‘Kodak moment,’ will this year farewell its dedicated capture device business, which includes its entire range of digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames.

    March

    OPUS acquisition gets the green light

    The final hurdle for McPherson’s Printing Group’s acquisition of OPUS Group has been well and truly cleared, with the company’s shareholders voting ‘overwhelmingly’ in favour of the deal.

    Creditors chase Lamb Print for payment

    Industry suppliers are calling for a full and transparent review of Lamb Print’s merger with Vanguard Press and subsequent distribution of funds after Monday’s creditors meeting.

    Amcor gets green light for Aperio purchase

    Amcor has received unconditional approval from Australian competition watchdog to go ahead with its acquisition of the Aperio Group in a move that will see the packaging company substantially increase its market share of the packaging business in the region.

    April

    New local partnership for Heidelberg and Ricoh

    The long-awaited local partnership between Ricoh Australia and Heidelberg Australia has finally come to fruition with both companies this week formally inking an agreement that will see them move in line with their global counterparts.

    Australia Post loses first round to ban to Digital Post

    Salmat and Computershare have fended off Australia Post’s court injunction application to prevent the Digital Post Australia joint venture from using the name until trial next month.

    New Spicers brand swallows Dalton and iMedia

    Two of Australia’s most prominent graphic arts industry brands are set to disappear from the local landscape with Dalton Paper and iMedia to be rolled into a soon-to-be rebranded Spicers company by June this year.

    RMIT dumps print training – printing industry outrage

    RMIT University will close the book on its International Centre of Graphic Technology (ICGT) centre in 18 months as falling apprenticeship numbers force its hand. The Printing Industries Association of Australia said it was “shocked and dismayed.

    May

    Drupa kick-off – automatic for the printing press from manroland websystems

    From the first press conference of drupa comes news likely to transform how printing is done in Australia. Reaffirming manroland web system´s technology leadership, Peter Kuisle, director of the resurgent web press manufacturer, confirmed that at least one of the two huge web presses destined for Australia will be fitted with the latest in automated control, the autoprint system.

    Memjet acquires Silverbrook staff under agreement

    The $600 million lawsuit filed against Silverbrook Research has quietly been resolved as US-based Memjet assumes direct ownership of Memjet printing technology. The IP control agreement will see around 300 Australian print researchers shift from the employ of Silverbrook to Memjet.

    Time is running out for Sands Print

    Administrators are confident the beleaguered 150-year-old print group will be liquidated and sold within the next few weeks. Lawler Draper Dillon is negotiating with three preferred offers out of seven that were considered to be serious to buy the printer.

    Drupa Snooper – A tale of two drupas

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us…” Andy McCourt feels that Charles Dickens´ opening words from A Tale of Two Cities might well apply to drupa 2012.

    June

    Fairfax to end the age of broadsheet

    Fairfax Media is set to end the age of broadsheet in Australia, with this week’s announcement it will downsize its two leading broadsheet daily newspapers to a new ‘compact’ format and sell off its two largest newspaper print facilities in Chullora and Tullamarine.

    Creditors give SEMA management buyout the nod

    Australia Post, Fuji Xerox and other major creditors have given the nod to a SEMA management buyout led by industry consultant, John Stewart, which was decided upon this week following a creditors’ meeting.

    PaperlinX fire sale for profit return

    PaperlinX will sell off three of its largest international paper businesses in a bid to shed its poorly performing divisions and give the company the liquidity it requires to complete its ongoing restructure and return to profit.

    July

    Australia Post muscles in on transactional mail

    Australia Post has upped its stake in the transactional mail market with the purchase of two Océ ColourStream 3700 Twin high-speed digital presses, in a move that will see the country’s mail monopoly business go head to head for market dominance with the industry’s biggest players, Salmat, SEMA and Computershare.

    Marchant walks as PaperlinX sells off global assets

    PaperlinX chief, Toby Marchant, has announced he will part ways with the struggling company by the end of July, as it begins an extensive sell-off of its Eastern European and South African businesses.

    Goprint sheds commercial printing operation

    Queensland government printer, Goprint, will be dramatically scaled back, with the loss-making business set to lose around 40 staff and see its printing operation reduced solely to the production of ‘reserved services.’

    Schreier bows out for new Heidelberg CEO

    Bernhard Schreier, Heidelberg CEO, will leave the company by the end of the year, with his supervisory board-nominated replacement, Dr. Gerold Linzbach, to take the reigns from September this year.

    August

    Vic printing industry action group ‘betrayed’ by RMIT

    Two weeks to meet $1million demand by the college for equipment and learning assessment material in order for the industry to keep apprentice training alive.

    Price takes his position inside the tent

    PaperlinX shareholder activist and board agitator, Andrew Price, has been appointed as a non-executive director of the company, after a long battle over its leadership that saw Price attempt to oust chairman, Harry Boon.

    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.

    Salmat exits essential mail with $375 million BPO sale to Fujifilm

    Tokyo-based Fujifilm Holdings has purchased Salmat’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) division for (AU) $375 million, in a move that sees Australia’s biggest essential mail player exit the sector.

    September

    Joan Grace to head new Australian printing industry training organisation

    Printing Industries is moving to buy a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to establish a training facility for apprentice printers, with PrintNZ chief, Joan Grace, crossing the Tasman to head-up the new venture.

    ‘We believe in print’ – Bauer pays $500 million for ACP

    The Bauer Media Group, one of Europe’s largest magazine companies, has closed a deal to purchase ACP Magazines from the private equity-owned Nine Entertainment Co. (NEC) for $500 million, the German company’s owner saying, ‘we believe in print.’

    Bye-bye Boon – Price wins PaperlinX leadership struggle

    PaperlinX chairman, Harry Boon, will leave the company on 28 September, along with his supporters, non-executive directors Lyndsey Cattermole and Anthony Clarke, in a boardroom coup that sees shareholder lobbyist, Andrew Price, win his battle against the company’s leadership.

    GEON to cut labour costs for a sustainable future

    GEON is trying to slice its labour costs, with the company this week entering talks with employees with the aim of minimising its outgoing staffing expenses while retaining workers.

    October

    Heidelberg’s Andy Vels Jensen goes home

    Andy Vels Jensen, Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand (HAN) managing director, will head back to his native Denmark for good, following his departure from the company at the end of the month.

    Fairfax should ‘come clean’ over print closures – AMWU

    The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is demanding that Fairfax chief, Greg Hywood, ‘come clean on the real motivations’ behind the company’s massive job cuts and print production closures, after he told shareholders that the printed editions of its metro daily newspapers could remain profitable for up to another 15 years

    APN reviews NZ print assets

    APN News & Media is taking stock of its New Zealand print assets following market speculation it had found a buyer for the business.

    Heidelberg closes Australian showroom to cut costs

    Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand will close its Notting Hill press showroom in Melbourne in an effort to cut back on its local operation costs.

    November

    Geoff Selig regains Blue Star Print Australia

    Geoff Selig, former CEO of  Blue Star and current owner of Sydney-based CaxtonWeb has bought Blue Star Print Australia. After having the company on the block for months, Champ Private Equity finally sold the Australian part of the business to the former NSW Liberal Party president.

    PMP to cut jobs in $64m cost-saving drive

    PMP is moving to lay-off workers as it enters the second phase of its national transformation strategy, which will see its press fleet shrink along with its staff numbers in a bid to save more than $64 million over the next two years.

    PIAA takes on CLB with Intech training acquisition

    The Printing Industries Association of Australia is moving to outflank its newest training rival, CLB Training & Development, following the acquisition of registered training organisation (RTO), Intech Australia – a move that has CLB claiming the association has ‘lost its independent voice’.

    Barbagallo leaves Muller Martini in global restructure

    Livio Barbagallo, Muller Martini Australia’s managing director, will leave the company at the end of the year as it undergoes structural changes that see its Australian operations fall under a newly formed Asia Pacific Region division.

    December

    GASAA clears final hurdle in PIAA amalgamation

    The last hurdle in the long-awaited amalgamation of the Graphic Arts Services Association of Australia (GASAA) and the Printing Industries Association of Australia (Printing Industries) has been cleared, with GASAA members voting unanimously in favour of the merger.

    Fuji Xerox sells 40% stake in Digital Post Australia

    Computershare is taking charge of Digital Post Australia after acquiring Fuji Xerox Document Management Solution’s 40 per cent stake in the online essential mail platform.

    Ron Patterson goes from Printing Industries Association in Victoria

    High-profile industry identity is a casualty of the new national structure of the leading print industry association. Patterson, formerly the Victorian state manager under the old organisation, was GM for Sales and Marketing under the revamped national structure.

    Kodak sells patent portfolio for $525 million

    Kodak is finally selling off the digital imaging patent portfolio it has been trying to move for close to a year, after reaching a US$525 million deal agreement with a consortium of investors.

  • Issue 558 – 18 December 2012

    This week, in the last weekly Print21 newsletter for the year, the high-profile Printing Industries GM for sales and marketing, Ron Patterson, leaves the association amid consolidation operations. PMP ends a tough year with a big Woolworths print deal win. Fuji Xerox sells its 40 per cent stake in Digital Post Australia to Computershare. GEON upper management identities, Glen Draper and Kim Lykissas resign from the company. And, Richard Rasmussen reviews the year that was in the Australian and New Zealand printing landscape.

     

    This is your weekly printing news read by more than 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.

  • Rasmussen’s big year in review – 2012

    In a year that has been unusually chock-a-block with massive industry movements – consolidations, acquisitions, administrations, insolvencies, new products, breakthrough technology and plenty of equipment sales – Ascent Partners director, Richard Rasmussen, has kept his finger firmly on the industry’s pulse.

    Throughout the year Rasmussen has kept Print21 readers in the industry loop with his monthly Market Watch updates and now, with the end of 2012 upon us, Rasmussen’s Year in Review, paints the profile of an industry that is still in the throes of massive changes but with plenty of market players transforming themselves with the game as it changes around them.

    “It’s been very tough for the mum and pop commercial printers, but the ones with a specialty such as inkjet or web, or people who have embraced the new technologies and new business models out there, they seem to be doing alright,” says Rasmussen. “There are pockets that are doing very well in what can be described for most as a difficult market.

    “The statistics would show you that the level of investment dollar wise has gone down, but I think the profile has changed,” he says. “People are buying the longer presses and the digital presses. There’s been a lot of big inkjet presses that have been going into the major transpromo players, but also the digital shops have been buying up digital presses. The bindery gear is more around digital as well.”

    Rasmussen gives a nod to the local newspaper industry bearing the brunt of shifting market pressures, with extraordinary steps taken by both the country’s major publishers, Fairfax and News Limited, to stem losses and figure out a money-making model for the newspapers in the future.

    “The closing of the Fairfax Chullora plant in NSW and The Age plant in Tullamarine was a significant announcement in 2012. Another significant change is the propose shift from broadsheet to tabloid,” says Rasmussen. “It’s very significant in the newspaper industry. It’s an admission that they can’t go on expecting newspaper sales to stay as they are. They’ve got to build a business model around a digital model.”

    Welcome to the year as it was for Australia’s graphic arts and printing industry – a somewhat daunting number of stories for an industry as closely knit as this one can be. As Rasmussen says, “I don’t think anybody’s really collected all that data before.”

    The year in review – 2012

    November

    No prizes for guessing the leading news story over the past month – the sale of Blue Star’s Australian operation to Caxton Web / Wolseley Private Equity.

    Further consolidation of major plants continued with News Limited closing its Cairns facility and moving it into its Townsville plant. PMP also announced the closure of its Chullora Directories plant.

    November also saw further business liquidations – Good impressions (NSW), Brite Solutions (NSW), Kudos Colour (QLD) and a voluntary administration at Hyde Park Press (SA).

    In other news,

    • Across the Tasman, APN announced they were selling their South Island mastheads Christchurch’s The Star, The Oamaru Mail and Wellington’s Capital Community Newspaper Group)
    • Kwik Kopy City (Sydney) store was sold
    • Colorpak opened its Brandpak site in Victoria
    • Kosdown Printing (VIC) relocated to purpose built factory

    The suppliers were also active:

    • AIP Private Equity bought Presstek
    • EFI bought Technique
    • The Printing Industries Association bought Intech Australia
    • Pro – Pac bought Source and Sell and Stronghold Wholesale
    • Artref WA moved into a new showroom / warehouse

    Major Equipment Sales and Installations

    November provided a multitude of new machinery sales and installations.

    On the offset side, KBA reported 4 new Rapida 105 or 106 presses were installed in the financial year ending 2012, whilst Heidelberg reported they had sold 37 printing units of their new SX range including a sale to Apex Printing in Wellington. A Komori LS 29 installation was reported at Sydney’s Dominion Print Group and a KBA Genius 52 UV was installed at IBIS (QLD).

    There were also numerous multiple installations to single printers:

    • CMYK Hub (VIC) – Muller E90 gatherer, stitcher, trimmer, 3 x Horizon (PUR binder, folder and Stitchliner), Stahl TH 82, and Indigo 5600
    • Greenridge Press (QLD) – Indigo 3550, Polar system, Horizon folder
    • Maxam Printing (VIC) – 3 x Horizon (Stitch and trim, folder and PUR binder)

    Digital Presses and digital wide format installations included:

    • Admark Visual Imaging (NZ) – Epson Surepress (digital label)
    • Schoolpix (VIC) – Indigo 5600
    • Kawana Signs (QLD) – Oce Arizona 550 GT with Procut
    • Smartprint Group (QLD) – Oce Arizona 360 GT
    • Clegg Media (QLD) and Catalyst Graphics (NSW) – An Agfa Jetti 3220 Titan wide format each

    On the bindery / finishing side we saw Award Printing (QLD) install a KTM 92 guillotine and Centurion Print and Crucial Colour, both from NZ, each installed a Morgana Digifold folder/creaser.

    October

    There were some major multi-million dollar “market movements” in October:

    • Amcor – with the $22,000,000 sale of three Aperio sites (flexo packaging) to local player, Integrated Packaging and with the operational opening of their $300,000,000 recycled paper mill in Botany.
    • Book publishers, Penguin and Random House proposed a merger which may have a major effect on the local printers, PMP and Opus.
    • Geon’s bankers, Bank of Scotland International, sold off a portfolio of “distressed corporate loans” which included $80,000,000 to Gresham Private Equity.
    • The Salmat BPO $375,000,000 sale transaction was completed with Fuji Xerox taking over and renaming the business Fuji Xerox Document Management Solutions.

    Blue Star was also in the news with the announcement that TMA withdrew from looking at its purchase.  Rumours circulated as to other possible suitors.

    Opus announced that it was closing the McPherson’s Mulgrave site, with its major equipment being relocated to its ACT and Maryborough plants.

    On the acquisition front we saw Excell Printing (NSW) purchase liquidated printer, Bay Print, and Print Approach (QLD) purchase Nicholson Printers.

    There were two winding up applications: Universal Business Forms (NSW) and End Print Solutions (NSW), and one liquidation of print broker, All Can Print (NSW).

    On the Supplier side, Ricoh purchased IMC Communications and EFI purchased Online Print Solutions.

    Major Equipment Sales and Installations

    Some significant installations were reported including:

    • Computershare (Qld) – Ricoh Infoprint 5000
    • Media Point (Vic) – HP FB700 digital flatbed
    • Next Print (NSW) – Durst Rho P10 250 Inkjet printer
    • Alphabet Publishing (QLD) – Screen Truepress Jet 520 inkjet printer
    • Bokay Group (WA) – HP Scitex FB 7600
    • Megacolour (NSW) – IN mid 2012, a Heidelberg CD 102 – 6  and Screen Platerite HD 8900 Imager
    • Retail Communications (Vic) – Fuji Film Inca Onset SI 40 inkjet flatbed.

    Isn’t it interesting to see the change in the industry that the above sample of installations reflects? Also, the names/types of businesses that are buying? A few years ago, perhaps pre-GFC, the list would look very different.

    September

    The administrations continued in the month of September, with the largest being Tasmanian forestry group Gunns, which went into voluntary administration after the banks pulled their funding. That puts around 600 jobs at risk, and raises a big question mark against its (AU)$2 billion Bell Bay pulp mill investment. In FY 2012 Gunns made a $904 million loss.

    Other administrations included Printworld International, a print management firm in NSW, Printmode, an A2 commercial printer in Melbourne, and Kea Print (NSW) who went into liquidation. Allprint & Packaging in QLD is due to have a creditor’s meeting for voluntary creditor’s liquidations early in October.

    CBD Printing in Sydney fell into voluntary administration earlier in the month, with a later announcement stating that the four Snap centres under the group had been purchased by former chief executive, Richard Cook.

    On the acquisition front, the major news was that a German media company, Bauer Media Group, purchased ACP Magazines for around $500 million.

    A merger was announced between Melbourne digital printer, Docucopy, and long standing commercial offset Printer, Troedel. This merger will create a $6 million turnover business.

    Fairfax also announced during the month that they were planning to build a new press hall in their North Richmond premises.

    Major equipment sales and installs

    Perhaps the biggest news of the month was Southern Colour’s (Vic) purchase of two Heidelberg XL 106 presses, a ten-colour perfector and six colour and coater to replace two four year old XL presses.

    Also on the offset side came the announcement of a KBA 105 six colour press installed at Labelcraft in NSW.

    After a fire swept through it in February, Special Binding Service in QLD, made perhaps the largest bindery investment for many  years, announcing it had purchased:

    • Two Kolbus perfect binders
    • Two MBO folders
    • An Meccanotecnica Aster Sewing machine
    • Two guillotines with joggers and unloaders
    • And other ancillary bindery equipment.

    Gallus had success with installations of its ECS 340 Label Press at Dragon Print (NSW) and Impact Labels (QLD).

    Other sales / installations included:

    • Fineline Printing (Vic) installed a Kodak Nexpress
    • Prologica (Vic) installed an Oce Arizona double bed 550 XT
    • Central Imaging Technolgies (QLD) installed an Agfa Anapura M2540 digital flat bed
    • Discus (WA) installed the Jeti 3020 wide format press.

    July/August

    Blue Star, having fielded offers on their business, decided to engage Goldman Sachs to sell its business, announced on 24 August.  One component was in the process of being sold, Rapid Labels (NZ) to the Tiri Group.

    PMP also announced it cut TMA from the process of conducting further due diligence on its business because of lack of proof of its financial wherewithal.  TMA later announced they were going to open a factory in the Philippines and then PMP announced a 25% cut to their web press fleet. Whether these two later events are related to first is unknown.

    Acquisitions

    There were plenty of announcements in the first two months of FY 13:

    • Amcor buys Wayne Richardson Sales
    • Lorimer (VIC) buys Gumming and Varnishing Sales
    • CCL Labels buys Graphitype Printing Services’ pharma business (NSW) for $7 million
    • Champ purchases Eye for $120 million plus
    • Paperlinx buys Canterbury Packaging (NZ)
    • Brand Print Australia buys Visibility Event Signage
    • Prographica buys McDowell Creative (NSW)
    • Fuji Film buys Salmat’s BPO division for $375 million

    Management Buys Outs (MBO) and Mergers

    There were three MBOs reported – Zip Print (NT), Fineline Printing (VIC) and Doran Printing (VIC), one co – location proposal (McPersons into Vega), and one proposed merger (Good Impressions with Sydney Allen).

    Closures/Creditor’s meetings:

    These included Elephant Print Media VIC (Wound up), Mr Copy NSW (creditor’s meeting), Printergy VIC (Voluntary Administration).

    We also saw Goprint (QLD) announce they intended to close and the training facility/program at RMIT (VIC) was taken over by an independent, CLB Training and Development.

    Suppliers

    Here we saw Mathias Bauerle go into administration and a bid by AIP (owners of Mark Andy) to buy Presstek. Weddenrnburn (NZ) announced it would move to larger premises in Mt Wellington, and Anitech is to close its ACT premises.

    Sales and Installation of Equipment.

    There was a substantial volume of major plant sold and installed in the first two months of FY13:

    Offset Presses

    Heidelberg announced it had sold 18 Speedmasters in the last six months, locations undisclosed. KBA advised they have sold large format presses to Labelcraft (VIC) and PMS Lithography (VIC). Komori installed a press at Centurion Print (NZ).

    Digital

    • Xerox – 800 & 1000 presses installed at  Superprint (NZ), an IGen 4 to Complete Colour (VIC) and another 800 to Meteor Design and Print (NZ)
    • HP – Magnify Media (VIC), a Scitex FB 7600, Discus Digital (WA) an Indigo 7600, and Centurion (NZ) an Indigo 5600
    • Canon / Oce – A1 Instant Printing, a Canon ImagePress C7010VP, and Aust Post (2 x Colourstream 3700).
    • Ricoh, a ProC651 printer was installed at Icon Print (NZ)
    • Lanier, a PROC751 Ex digital printer was installed at Siris Printing (NZ).

    Bindery / Finishing

    • Kolbus – Special Equipment (QLD) ordered two Kolbus Perfect Binders and Hannanprint a third.
    • Special Equipment also ordered 3 new folders, and a sewing machine.
    •  Polar – KW Doggetts purchased a 137N and a 115N
    • Sitma – Future Sources (NSW) purchased a 950 E plastic wrapper
    • Ferag – An Easysert Inserter was sold to Future Sources

    June

    The 2012 financial year concluded with most sectors in the large end of town consolidating or fielding offers from frequently unnamed suitors.  Let’s hope they are not like the entity behind the recent bizarre offer on retailer DJ’s who received a $1.65 billion bid from EB Private Equity on Friday. DJ’s shares subsequently jumped 20 per cent and just as quickly dropped 20 per cent when the offer was withdrawn. Maybe it was an end of financial year thing.

    Anyway, back to the world of print.

    Perhaps the biggest news of the year came last month with the announcement by Fairfax it will be closing down its Chullora and Tullamarine plants, moving to tabloid format, and with it shedding 1,900 jobs.  It’s not so much the news, but the reason behind Fairfax’s announcement – the shift from print to digital. Some pundits are now predicting the demise of the major newspapers within five years.

    Other major movements in the big end of town in June include:

    • SEMA, Australia’s third largest transactional printer, headed toward a management buy-out.
    • The lack of news on TMA’s bid on Australia’s largest printer, PMP (six weeks elapsed since they were identified)
    • Amcor completed its acquisition of Aperio Group.
    • Aust Post identified as the likely suitor of Salmat’s BPO division – eventually purchased by Fujifilm Holdings.
    • Colorpak announcing it would consolidate its Villawood plant into its Regent Park facility.

    And at the start of July we had the unfolding news that Blue Star was fielding offers from a few unnamed sources.

    It wasn’t just the big end of town in the news. We also saw:

    • The end of the Sands Group, with their plant and equipment auction
    • NSW print broker, Octopus Solution being would up, leaving with it a 1.6 million debt. The liquidator said the creditors would end up with nothing as the company had no assets. Readers may well question how a print broker can have a debt of that size.
    • Kalamazoo NZ’s recent acquisition of K&M Print and Taieri Print
    • Two unidentified sales of commercial printers by Ascent Partners in Melbourne
    • North East Print and Copy acquiring Adelaide Image Printing
    • In Melbourne, Worldwide Blackburn – creditor’s meeting for voluntary creditor’s liquidation
    • In Queensland, ABC Printing’s client list sold to Print Approach.

    The suppliers were also busy with Domino acquiring Graph Tech and Quark buying Mobile IQ.

    Major Machinery

    With Drupa winding up in May, one would have hoped that there would be more news on the machinery sales side. News was however limited to:

    • Hannanprint purchasing a Ferag UniDrum 440 gatherer, stitcher trimmer
    • PDQ labels (NSW) installing an Apex 1290 Digital Press
    • Core Print (VIC) installing an Agfa Avalon N4 CtP unit
    • JP Printing (VIC) purchasing a Heidelberg SX and SM 52 press
    • K&B announcing they sold a 105-5 press to an unnamed Australian printer
    • Xerox installing the 100th regional 800 /1000 press to Immij (VIC)

     May

    Some major market movements took place in May across a large section of our industry – the web, large and smaller commercial printing, transactional and outdoor print markets. drupa 2012 certainly didn’t slow local market activity, with TMA identified as the bidder for PMP and Salmat receiving a $300 million bid for its mail division.

    The Sands Group, one of Victoria’s longest standing printers was eventually broken up and sold by the administrator – BPA Print Group purchasing the client list and the TIC Group the pick and pack section. The machinery went to auction with the Dominion Group on 14 June.

    The SEMA Group, reportedly Australia’s third largest transactional printer, went into administration during the month. The business is believed to turnover around $90,000,000 per annum, with around 700 staff. They recently bought two high speed Impika IPrint eVolution presses.

    APN Outdoor finalised its joint venture with Quadrant Private Equity. This now sees this division valued at $272,000,000.

    On a smaller scale, Kwik Kopy bought CityPrint (Sydney) from the liquidators and Australian Managed Print Services fell into voluntary administration. On the supplier side, Jet Technologies also made a move into the NZ market with the opening on a new branch in Auckland.

    Major Machinery Installations and Sales

    Curries reported four regional sales of the new A2 Indigos, 3 x Horizon AFC 566 cross folders and two Horizon Stitchmasters.

    GSP in NSW has installed an Onset S20 digital flatbed and an Uvistar 5032 Grand Format UV machine. Agfa reported a couple of installations of its Jetti 1224 wide format machines to Oxford and Catalyst Graphics in NSW.

    In Far North Qld, Lotsa Printing, the largest printer in the region, recently installed a Morgana Digifold and an HP 26500 Wide format latex machine.

    Other sales / installation stories were from

    • WA, where Graphic Glass installed a Screen Truepress Jet 2500 UV machine
    • Victoria, where Flow Printing installed an Agfa Avalon N8-12S CtP system
    • NSW, where Pure Colours installed a new Konica Minolta Biz Hub 8000 and Momento Pro installed a HP Indigo 7500 press.

    April

    April provided a wide and varied mix of market movements, starting with Focus Press, NSW, receiving a Federal Government grant worth $6 million to establish a new state-of-the-art printing facility in Wollongong that will employ 190 people.

    In Melbourne we saw Sands Print Group fall into administration with reported debts of $5 million. Pleasingly, yesterday came the news from the administrator that they had seven “hard offers”, so hopefully that will translate into some good news for many employees and creditors.

    Perhaps the biggest news in terms of possible transaction size was announced by one of Australia’s largest printers, PMP Limited. Here we heard that an indicative offer was made on the business for between 68 and 78 cents per share. On the previous day PMP’s share price was around 25 cents.

    There was also the now familiar round of liquidations / administrations / creditor’s meeting which included Print Associates (NSW), Heatprint Australia (VIC), AP Digital (NSW), Minit Print (VIC), Print Specifix (VIC) and Steve Parish Publishing (VIC, leaving 2.9 million in debt).

    Quantum Printing (NSW) and Miss Print (VIC) were also sold, both to local parties from within the trade.

    On the supplier side, Shinohara was sold to Hans-Gronhi. Under normal circumstances this would be front page news, after all Shinohara was one of the major A3 sheet fed offset manufacturers for the past two decades in Australia, possibly second only to Heidelberg. We await news as to what will happen with distributorship from Currie and Co.

    In other supplier news, we saw Dahaher propose to buy X-Rite and Autobox Machinery acquire Andrew and Suter.

    Major Sales of Equipment

    We had a relatively quiet month in terms of reported sales and installations of machinery, possibly because of that rather large German Trade Show beginning this month.

    What was reported was interesting though:

    • Assta Label House (NSW) installed a Indigo WS 4500 and a DIgicon label cutter
    • Photobook Shop a Unibind casemaker 750A to provide triple the output of photobooks.
    • AMR Hewitt (VIC), a specialist packaging company, purchased  new Heideleberg Dymatrix 113 diecutter.
    • And anther wide format machine, this time a Roland Versa UV LEJ-640, to Eye Tonic (NSW)

    March

    Liquidations and administrations dominated the month with six printers closing their doors, however positive lights always shine through, such as the case of a Worldwide Online Printing franchise in Adelaide purchased by two staff members for over $1,000,000.

    Market Movements

    The liquidation and administration activities called in during March were for Good Impressions (NSW), ABC Printing (QLD), Moorabbin Printing (VIC), City Print (NSW), Fortiori Publishing (VIC) and Elephant Print Media (VIC). ABC, many will remember, was a victim of the Brisbane floods last year.

    Amcor was given the green light to purchase the Aperio Group by the ACCC, which will see its flexible packaging share increase substantially in the Asia Pacific region.

    In other major news we saw that News Limited and Fairfax discontinued discussions about a $70 million joint printing deal. One could only imagine the effect that would have had on the industry had that gone through.

    Reed Business Information (RBI) put 19 local magazines up for sale, as part of a planned exit from print media. That’s a lot of titles that, if a purchaser couldn’t be found, would likely be discontinued, with only on line presence- i.e. more advertising dollars going away from print and into the web.

    Sales and Installations

    There was a good mix of installation stories, with NZ printers embracing the mid sized digital presses, but also CtP installation (Agfa to Flow in VIC), and a large MBO folder installed at one of Melbourne’s largest trade binders, Marvel Bookbinding. IN other stories:

    • Snap installed and Heidelberg SM 52-4 Anicolor press in its WA hub.
    • HP installed two latex machines – one to Briner in VIC, the other, claimed to be the widest in Australia to Spice Digital Imaging in WA.
    • In the market segment of “high end photo books”, a Canon DreamLabo 5000 press was installed at Picture Works in VIC. This is the very first of its kind sold in the world.
    • Finally the highest dollar value sale goes in the form of a $10 million investment in two Impika inkjet web presses, sold to SEMA.

    February

    February presented the industry with some significant changes on the supplier front, specifically with the UK-based Langley Holdings purchase of manroland’s sheet-fed division in the German city of Offenbach. The local PaperlinX leadership contest continued between former Stream Solutions head, Andrew Price and chairman Harry Boon.

    Fluid Technologies, a mid-tier consumable supplier in Sydney closed its doors, stating it was unable to compete with the larger groups in the present depressed market place.

    The trend amongst the larger players to consolidate manufacturing sites continued with PMP reported to be relocating its Clayton bindery to NSW, and shedding 60 jobs.

    Other market movements included the fall of Good Crowd Integrated Print Communications (NSW) liquidation and Impress Colour’s voluntary administration, whilst undergoing restructuring.
    Machinery Sales and Installations

    On the installation front the local industry saw Blue Star purchase a Gallus label press, the widest Gallus in New Zealand. In WA a couple of digital wide format machines to the The Bokay Group, with a HP Scitex FB 7600, and Discuss Digital Print with an Agfa Jeti 1224 UV machine.

    Fuji Xerox also reported installations of its 800 / 1000 presses to Snap Mackay (QLD) and Print Storm (NSW).

    In Print 21 KBA reported to have sold 20 A1 print units in FY12, and manroland, $40,000,000 of sales, presumably most of these were web presses.

    January

    It’s not often a major supplier goes public with how much it has sold. Market and competitive pressures usually ensure companies keep their success or otherwise close to their chests.

    In January, Alistair Hadley, former General Manager Sales & Marketing for Heidelberg Australia/New Zealand reveald that life was not so bad on the supply side. It’s a long way from the heady days before the GFC, but Heidelberg figures prove the industry still has the confidence to invest in new equipment.
    Heidelberg sales successes for the first nine months of their financial year (April 1st to Xmas) proves an interesting read:

    • 4 x A1 presses sold (36 printing units). So that’s an average of just under ten print units per press sold.
    • 4 x A2 presses sold (23 printing units) – an average of around six print units per press sold
    • 4 x A3 presses sold (20 printing units) – an average of around five print units per press sold

    So, while 12 press sales in nine months is a far cry from the heady pre-GFC days of one press per week, what can be seen is the definite trend to longer machines. It is reasonable to surmise that most of these purchasers are seeing the financial benefits of replacing multiple machines with one.
    Other reported offset press sales are;

    • 20 A1 units from KBA as reported by Dave Lewis
    • +$40 million in sheetfed and web sales reported by Steve Dunwell , manroland. Undoubtedly the majority of this is taken up by the IPMG and PMP 96-page offset web presses.

    On other equipment sales Heidelberg also reported a surprisingly vigorous level of activity. There were:

    • 13 computer-to-plate (CtP) sales (both Heidelberg machines and Kodak units sold by Heidelberg.
    • 38 Polar guillotines
    • 7 Stahl folders.

    The standout here is clearly Polar, with around one new Polar being sold every week. It proves that printers are upgrading their finishing departments.

    Other Sales and Installations.
    Label Force in WA installed an 8-colour P5 Mark Andy flexo label press, VRC an Agfa Avalon CtP, Snap Northwest (NSW) a Ricoh Pro C 901 and Kwik Kopy WA a Ricoh C901 and 1357EX.
    So these and Heidelberg’s reported sales showed that there was some confidence in the market place, and that the economics of investing in new technology still hold sway with many.

    January – Part Two

    January provided the industry with some major movements on the merger, sales/acquisition and consolidation front. The local market saw DIC buying Pacific Ink NZ, Paperlinx receiving a private equity bid and CSG rejecting acquisition offers.

    The New Year began with the news that Kodak had entered Chapter 11 and that manroland had started to split the sales of its manufacturing businesses – the web and sheet-fed sections have since been sold. Goss France merged two of its manufacturing sites, reinforcing its European customer base.

    Other international sales/acquisitions came from:

    • EFI buying Createprint
    • 3M buying Avery consumer products division
    • Zanders selling to Hahnemühle
    • Baldwin being acquired by Forsyth Capital
    • Xeikon acquiring RSD Technik and Flexolaser.

    Printers – takeovers, proposed mergers, auctions closures and amalgamations

    The first month of 2012 saw Champ (Bluestar’s PE funder) take over Ooh Media, Fairfax’s publishing arms proposing to merge with Metro Media Publishing, Unlimited Image’s auction in QLD, IPMG closes Craft and Lamb Printing and Vanguard Press in WA to amalgamate.

    The last two were major stories. Craft is no small business, and Lamb Printing and Vanguard are two of WA’s major players in the commercial print space.

    Ascent partners’ Market Watch

    Richard Rasmussen is Ascent Partners’ director, he can be contacted on the company’s web site, www.ascentpartners.com.au or on: mobile – 0402 021 101. For more information on these market movement and industry sales and installations, visit Ascent Partners web site: www.ascentpartners.com.au and Download a PDF which has links to each of the above stories.  You can subscribe to Market Watch for free, just completion the application form on the web site. Ascent Partners publishes the bulletin which tracks the Australian and New Zealand’s Printing and Graphic Arts industries at the start of each month. It covers:

    • Market movements, such as business acquisitions, sales, closures, liquidations, mergers, alliances and new starts.
    • Major machinery and sales installations
    • Businesses we have on the market
    • Businesses we are seeking

    You can download previous editions from the PDFs below, or you can receive your FREE copy of Market Watch, on the day of monthly publication, automatically via email, by completing the subscription that can be found here. 

  • Photobooks make a pretty picture for Christmas – Print21 Magazine feature

    ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the land, photobook printers were frantically fulfilling the last minute rush of orders from their customers. Well, that’s not exactly true but there’s no doubt this is the busy season for photobook purchases as everybody searches for that special, one-off gift. It comes at the end of an amazing year for this burgeoning print market, one in which it has garnered some impressive accolades. Simon Enticknap reports on a unique print product.

    It’s not exactly Santa and his elves in the Christmas grotto but, you know, it’s probably the closest the printing industry gets to it. At the Momento production facility in Sydney, it is all hands on deck in the lead-up to Christmas as last-minute photobookers submit their orders as eagerly as children sending wishlists to the North Pole. This is traditionally the busy season for photobook purchases, certainly in the retail market, and that means that, for one section of the printing industry at least, the presses will be running flat-out until the cut-off date for guaranteed deliveries (I’d like to say that’s the night before Christmas but, realistically, that’s not possible even with today’s turnaround times).

    The first eye-opener on visiting the Momento offices is that it really is a hands-on operation. In an age of computerised inline spectrophotometric colour quality control, it might come as a surprise to learn that every single print produced by Momento is individually checked by a real, living, breathing human being wearing soft, white cotton gloves, painstakingly poring over the pages. If any page doesn’t come up to scratch, it gets re-done. That in itself is a measure of just how seriously quality is regarded at the company, which is certainly reassuring given what they are handling – nothing less than people’s memories.

    Much of the finishing process too – the hard cover binding in a range of materials – is also done by hand, not just for quality purposes but also because the variety of finishing options offered by Momento doesn’t easily lend itself to automation. Again, it’s an odd sight in an industry where the dominant modus operandi in recent years has been to eliminate people from the production process; too many hands make for slow work, inefficient work, expensive work. Real people are not as ‘lean’ as the current manufacturing dictum requires.

    Do you see the irony here? In this instance, digital print output which, for so long, has been accused of causing the ongoing de-skilling of the industry is in fact re-inventing the ‘craft’ of print. OK I can hear the grinding of teeth from certain offset print sections of the industry but the fact is that the modern photobook, digitally-produced, is a work of great skill and ranks among the finest examples of print available today.

    The break-through winner at this year’s Galley Club awards produced by Momento, Postcards from Home by photographer Sam Harris (© Sam Harris).

    Seismic shifts

    In the case of Momento, the results speak for themselves. For the past couple of years, the company has been consistently winning awards for the quality of its work and not just because it is one of the country’s fast-growing companies. It has steadily accumulated a wall-full of golds in the NSW PICAs as well as consecutive golds and sponsor awards at the last two National Print Awards.

    It’s a similar story in Victoria where Michael Warshall of fellow photobook printer, Picpress, has worn a groove in the carpet on his way to collecting a swag of awards at the Victorian PICAs in recent years, as well as winning a top gong at the last three National Print Awards. These two friendly rivals are set to renew their battle for top honours at the next year’s NPA ceremony having both picked up gold awards at their recent respective state-based PICAs. Between the two of them, they have helped to redefine how digital print and short-run books are produced and perceived.

    Two recent wins for Momento are especially significant – the Australian Book of the Year and the overall Book of the Year awards at the recent Galley Club Awards. This was the first time that the company had entered the awards, going up against the big guys of book publishing, the people who have been doing it for eons, and so to win both the top awards was certainly pretty spectacular. It was also the first time an Australian-made book had won the Book of the Year award and, just as remarkably, the first digitally-printed book to do so. These are ‘momento-us’ shifts indeed.

    Results such as these must be especially satisfying for those people in the industry who, over the past decade or so, have been advocating how short-run digital print can enable local printers to compete with and out-do competition from overseas. At times like these, it is possible to see how the market is changing, not just in terms of the technology used but also the means by which content is generated; the intersection between the digital environment and niche, self-funded publishing is a new dynamic for print producers.

    Not for all printers

    The photobook market is one that has been identified for a number of years now as a growth sector for printers. At any printing trade show these days, it is possible to see photobook samples produced on a range of digital presses and, increasingly, a variety of automated equipment for gluing and binding the finished books. There are opportunities to be had, we are told, for those prepared to have a go.

    What’s interesting though is the number of current photobook companies that come from a non-printing environment. Geoff Hunt and Libby Jeffery, co-founders of Momento, have a background in digital media and publishing; in the early days of the business, the print component was actually out-sourced before the company moved production in-house when it acquired its own Indigo press. Michael Warshall is a portrait photographer (or, as he puts it, “I document people’s existence in life”) and Picpress itself is an off-shoot of Nulab, an well-known professional photolab service (Warshall recalls collecting his first PICA award and not knowing anyone in the room; “What are you doing here?” he was asked, to which he replied, “Diversifying”). Similarly, Photo Create, the photo-gifting wholesale supplier based in Glen Innes in NSW and one of the biggest digital printers in the country, is part of the Eastmon Group that pioneered digital photo-processing in Australia with the development of retail kiosks.

    Photobooks may be a growth print market but it’s not necessarily the print industry that is driving this growth. Rather its emergence derives from a convergence of different digital technologies in photography, digital media, imaging software – as well as print.

    The photobook market is different in other ways too. For instance, unless you are printing and supplying wholesale product to other retailers, it is primarily a retail market that involves selling print to people who would otherwise probably never buy it directly. Unlike the business of selling print to other businesses, large and small, this creates its own customer service demands.

    Geoff Hunt highlights customer service as a key area in which Momento works hard to differentiate itself from other suppliers. It employs dedicated staff whose task it is to liaise directly with customers, both retail and professional, to help them through the ticklish task of managing files and layouts and image quality. Even with professional photographers – perhaps more so – there is an expectation of a high level of attention to detail. Picpress, for instance, offers three levels of customer support – one for professionals and agencies, another for prosumers/consumers, and then there’s the ‘grandmother’ level where the purchaser knows nothing and it has to be very, very simple.

    In the main, photobook printers are dealing with customers with a print run of one. They may only order print once or twice a year and it has to be perfect every time. If you’re not set up to manage that type of market expectation – and many printers are not – then it might be a hard row to hoe. Customer service is the reason Hunt gives as to why some printers enter the photobook market and quickly discover that it’s not to their taste, not realising how much time they have to spend with customers in order to make it work.

    Software is the key

    Another characteristic of this market is that the print component is, to some extent, the least important. What really matters is the software that drives the whole process.

    For instance, while the post-print production at Momento is largely manual-based, it’s the total opposite at the start of the process. From the moment that the customer uploads their files for printing to when the sheets are fed into the HP Indigo 7500 press, it is a completely automated process. There is no prepress to speak of and no proofing – the files go straight to the press – and so the first time that anybody gets to see the jobs being done is when they are actually printed (for retail customers anyway, professional photographers get more guidance).

    This is mainly due to the sophistication of the Momento software which is downloaded and installed on the customers’ computers. I’ve used this software a couple of times to make photobooks and it is certainly a very flexible, intuitive layout tool. For anybody thinking about implementing a web-to-print solution, it is well-worth checking out as an example of how easy a client layout tool should be, and not just for photobooks. Michael Warshall agrees that the key is the software. “It all starts with how the customer delivers the work to you. It has to be simple and intuitive, drag-and-drop, otherwise they can get frustrated.”

    This applies just as much to professional photographers, particularly the new generation who have the latest DSLR cameras capable of taking great photos but who don’t want to learn the complexities of an editing program. Hence the need to be constantly working to improve the front-end interface. The latest version from the Picpress consumer site called NuShots <www.nushots.com.au> is all web-based so consumers don’t have to download large files to install but can do everything online. Apps and tablet versions are the next stage in the wake of the shift away from PC-based computing.

    Geoff Hunt talks about the “Holy Grail” of photobook software whereby it should be possible to just “throw a whole bunch of photographs” at the software and have it automatically create a beautiful, high quality, professional-looking photobook. There are some people who will always want to do that themselves and for whom the creative process of putting together a photobook is as important as the final result. Equally though, there are many other potential customers who would prefer to have it all done for them seamlessly and quickly. Most photobook packages already include design templates and themes to help users quickly create finished book but Hunt envisages this could go a lot further.

    Further education

    The easier it becomes for customers to make their photobook then the more likely they will be to do it and, by all accounts, there are plenty of people out there who are yet to do so. Warshall cites figures from the Photo Marketing Association which suggest that currently only about 7 per cent of local consumers know what a photobook is. That compares to Germany, for instance, where 25 per cent of consumers buy photobooks. That’s a lot of upside to the local market, but it also suggests that there is a lot to do in order to build public awareness.

    Certainly, Momento has worked hard over the past few years to encourage this awareness. It sponsors a number of awards and promotes its own competition, and it has a Momento shop were customers can sell their self-published work, much in the same way as Blurb or Lulu except with a local inflection and a focus on photography. These are all great ways of building a community and helping to foster a visual culture.

    Michael Warshall makes the point that there has been fundamental shift in photography whereby, today, most pictures are no longer printed. People don’t realise though that their digital files are not permanent – they can be erased, file formats change, disks get corrupted. Even printed photographs can quickly fade. Hence the need to educate people about the need to preserve their images not just on disk but also in high quality printed books.

    “People don’t understand. Nothing digital is permanent. Nothing,” he says.

    There are many photobook customers who will always shop around for the best price, as in any market, and there are plenty of outlets prepared to court them, offering big discounts and low prices. The quality is fine although there is probably less choice in terms of different formats and finishes. The likes of Momento and Picpress though offer a different service with an emphasis on high quality and a range of formats, stocks and bindings. They acknowledge they are more expensive than the mass market products but their customers are prepared to pay extra for a premium product.

    Photobooks at this end of the market are not cheap and they are not for everyday consumption but, for those special occasions, nothing beats getting a beautiful, permanent, one-off print item hand-made and delivered to your door. Not quite made by elves and brought by Santa but perhaps the next best thing.

  • Industrial plantation paper is not always sustainable

    Natural forest fibre sourced through appropriate harvesting delivers better outcomes for the environment and the printing industry – Industry Edge report.

    Sourcing paper by relying on paper companies’ chain-of-custody and certification of industrial plantations is not promoting true sustainable outcomes. The bad impacts of industrial eucalyptus plantations, especially in countries such as Uruguay, Thailand and Indonesia, can be far more damaging than the outcomes from sustainable harvesting of natural forests.

    A new report, Plantation Forest – The Sustainable Paper Perspective, details a litany of disadvantages from plantation and industrial forestry including the dispossession of people who are excluded from their once natural forests, destruction of the eco-system and the alienation of food producing land in a continuing battle of ‘food versus fibre.’

    The authors, industry analysts and commentators, Industry Edge, note that Australian paper buyers and consumers are unaware of the anti-social and environmental impacts of industrial plantations. They maintain that when paper buyers ask  – is this product from an industrial plantation and not from a natural forest? – they are asking the wrong question.

    The report questions whether it is sound to equate ethical, sustainable paper sources with industrial plantations. Over time, we have grown concerned at the characterization of imported paper sourced from industrial plantations as automatically and seemingly unquestionably sustainable, and we remain concerned that this is regularly, inappropriately and often incorrectly contrasted with paper sourced from sustainably managed natural forests.

    The report resonates with the local experience where much of Australian Paper’s pulp is sourced not from plantations but from native forests.

    The vexed question of natural forest versus plantations has grown to the stage internationally that Thailand’s Advanced Agro, a major supplier to Australia of a range of office papers under the AA brand, denies it has any industrial plantations. According to the report, its claims border on green washing and ignore the company’s prosecutions for illegal logging and land clearing. It maintains that despite the denials Advanced Agro is the largest single industrial plantation owner in Thailand.

    Plantation Forest – The Sustainable Paper Perspective, is a companion publication to the recently released Sustainable Paper Procurement Guide and the Cut Reams Report, both from Industry Edge. According to director, Tim Woods, it is in response to a near Orwellian assumption that ‘plantations are good, native forests are bad,’ which he describes as a bizarre domestic fixation. The report attempts to back up his claim that, especially in developing countries, plantations are often the problem and rarely the solution.

    Copies of the report may be had from www.industryedge.com.au

     

     

  • Ron Patterson goes from Printing Industries Association in Victoria

    High-profile industry identity is a casualty of the new national structure of the leading print industry association.

    Ron Patterson, formerly the Victorian state manager under the old organisation, was GM for Sales and Marketing under the revamped national structure. Following a recent review his position has been declared redundant as part of a consolidation of operations.

    No one is talking about the decision, which is seen as contentious in some quarters, with neither the Association nor Patterson making any public announcement. A memo to members is currently circulating advising that members will be advised of arrangements for the ongoing management of the activities of the Association in their state early in the new year.

    According to sources, the loss of Patterson will not affect the level of services to the membership in Victoria and Tasmania, with senior management taking up any slack. The redundancy comes as a result of the move away from a regionally based organisation to a national structure with a newly constituted board. Under the new regime the positions of state-based managers were abolished, replaced by national general managers for different functions. According to the memo, Patterson, while being responsible for sales and marketing nationally, was still state manager of Victoria and Tasmania.

    There are currently six general managers around the country covering such activities as research, member services, membership and finance.

    Patterson (pictured) has a long and distinguished career in the printing industry, with positions in Agfa-Gavaert and CPI as national sales manager before joining Printing Industries in 2006. He has been a stalwart on many industry boards, including PacPrint and the National Print Awards.

     

  • Issue 557 – 12 December 2012

    This week, IPMG looks to new leadership from CFO Kevin Slaven as the company’s chief, Stephen Anstice, resigns from the top job. GASAA clears the final hurdle in its amalgamation with Printing Industries, with a unanimous ‘yes’ vote from members in last week’s ballot. And, Staples Australia flexes its print management muscle, signing a three-year end-to-end print and marketing deal with Schweppes Australia.

     

    This is your weekly printing news read by more than 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.

  • AIP Technical Dinner 27 February 2012

    Retail giant shares packaging insights for AIP

    One of Australia’s largest retailers, Woolworths, will share its packaging trends at the next Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) technical dinner, which will take place on 27 February in Oatlands, Sydney.

    Kane Hardingham (pictured), Woolworths Limited environmental manager, will present a paper on the company’s packaging trends, looking at balancing efficiency, costs and sustainability for retailers and suppliers.

    Hardingham, who has worked in the field of environmental management and sustainability for sixteen years, has been the environmental manager at Woolworths for five years. He works with Sustainable Packaging Specialists to implement processes to review packaging on own-brand products and to introduce packaging improvements.

    Also presenting at the dinner, which will be held at the Oatlands Golf Course Club House, will be Daniel Bone (pictured below), global director of consumer insights at information and analysis company, Datamonitor.

    Bone will speak about ten new pack innovations from Datamonitor’s packaging innovation platform, PackTrack. Using the PackTrack platform, Bone will showcase packaging innovations from around the world using HD images and zoom-in capabilities, and share new ideas across a wide range of formats and product categories.

    Bone, who has worked with Datamonitor for over ten years in London, Copenhagen and Sydney, will explore and challenge the economic difficulties brands face with the real opportunities these packaging innovations offer.

    The dinner will be held on the evening of 27 February 2012, Oatlands Golf Course Club House, Bettington Road, Oatlands.

  • Issue 556 – 5 December 2012

    This week, Ferrostaal claims the sole distribution rights to MGI’s digital printing products Australia-wide. Livio Barbagallo, Muller Martini Australia’s MD, leaves the company amid a global restructure that sees its Australian operations report to a newly formed Asia Pacific division. And, Amcor’s Fairfield paper plant gets up and running a day after fire tears through its roll papermaking machine.

     

    This is your weekly printing news read by more than 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 – November 2012

    Ascent Partners director, Richard Rasmussen, reflects on November’s major business sales, acquisitions, closures, consolidations and relocations.  A large volume of machinery sales and installations are also reported.   

    Market Movements:

    No prizes for guessing the leading news story last month – the sale of Bluestar’s Australian operation to Caxton Web / Wolseley Private Equity.

    Further consolidation of major plants continued with News Limited closing its Cairns facility and moving it into its Townsville plant. PMP also announced the closure of its Chullora Directories plant.

    November also saw further business liquidations – Good impressions (NSW), Brite Solutions (NSW), Kudos Colour (QLD) and a voluntary administration at Hyde Park Press (SA).

    In other news,

    • Across the Tasman, APN announced they were selling their South Island mastheads Christchurch’s The Star, The Oamaru Mail and Wellington’s Capital Community Newspaper Group)
    • Kwik Kopy City (Sydney) store was sold
    • Colorpak opened its Brandpak site in Victoria
    • Kosdown Printing (VIC) relocated to purpose built factory

    The suppliers were also active:

    • AIP Private Equity bought Presstek
    • EFI bought Technique
    • The Printing Industries Association bought Intech Australia
    • Pro – Pac bought Source and Sell and Stronghold Wholesale
    • Artref WA moved into a new showroom / warehouse

     Major Equipment Sales and Installations

    November provided a multitude of new machinery sales and installations.

    On the offset side, KBA reported 4 new Rapida 105 or 106 presses were installed in the financial year ending 2012, whilst Heidelberg reported they had sold 37 printing units of their new SX range including a sale to Apex Printing in Wellington. A Komori LS 29 installation was reported at Sydney’s Dominion Print Group and a KBA Genius 52 UV was installed at IBIS (QLD).

    There were also numerous multiple installations to single printers:

    • CMYK Hub (VIC) – Muller E90 gatherer, stitcher, trimmer, 3 x Horizon (PUR binder, folder and Stitchliner), Stahl TH 82, and Indigo 5600
    • Greenridge Press (QLD) – Indigo 3550, Polar system, Horizon folder
    • Maxam Printing (VIC) – 3 x Horizon (Stitch and trim, folder and PUR binder)

    Digital Presses and digital wide format installations included:

    • Admark Visual Imaging (NZ) – Epson Surepress (digital label)
    • Schoolpix (VIC) – Indigo 5600
    • Kawana Signs (QLD) – Oce Arizona 550 GT with Procut
    • Smartprint Group (QLD) – Oce Arizona 360 GT
    • Clegg Media (QLD) and Catalyst Graphics (NSW) – An Agfa Jetti 3220 Titan wide format each

    On the bindery / finishing side we saw Award Printing (QLD) install a KTM 92 guillotine and Centurion Print and Crucial Colour, both from NZ, each installed a Morgana Digifold folder / creaser.

    For more information on the above market movement and industry sales and installations, visit Ascent Partners web site, www.ascentpartners.com.au and Download a PDF which has links to each of the above stories.  You can subscribe to Market Watch for free, just completion the application form on the web site. We publish the bulletin at the start of each month.

    Businesses on the market.

    Ascent Partners have five print related businesses on the market spread the Eastern states. We’re also talking to a few more. So if you’re in the market to buy or sell, contact me, Richard Rasmussen, on the web site, www.ascentpartners.com.au or on the mobile – 0402 021 101.

  • KIP toner press beds down with Konica Minolta

    Low-cost wide format poster printing from Anitech will feature as another solution in David Procter’s growing arsenal of digital imaging solutions.

    The innovative toner-based press will deliver cheaper prints than inkjet for high-volume jobs up to A1-size. Japanese company, KIP, released its colour technology last year and displayed it on Konica Minolta’ stand at drupa in May.

    Sydney-based Anitech, the long-term KIP agent in Australia, has enjoyed considerable success with the black & white version of the KIP machine over the years and has sold two units of the new four-colour engine since its release. The move to bring Konica Minolta into the mix reflects the international situation where the company represents KIP globally.

    New KIP team together; Barry Grant and Stephen Pratt from Anitech and David Procter, Konica Minolta usher in a new era of cooperation.

    “The KIP press uses the same CMYK toner technology we are accustomed to selling,” said David Procter, Konica Minolta, sales manager. “It allows us to provide a wide-format solution to our customers. I see it as a natural fit for printers wanting to supply the point-of-sale market. Because it’s toner-based the image quality will last and last.”

    The agreement will see Anitech continue to install and service KIP products on behalf of themselves and Konica Minolta. The two companies are committed to a cooperative working partnership in ongoing sales and service.
 According to Stephen Pratt, CEO, Anitech, the agreement will introduce KIP technology to a far wider industry base. “We are mainly focused on the sign and screen industries. The KIP 7600 has a much greater appeal to Konica Minolta’s customer base.”

    Konica Minolta will be focusing on two models to offer its existing and prospective customers; the KIP C7800 high production colour print system and the 700M high speed wide format monochrome printer with colour scanning.

    “KIP products have been at the forefront of technology and development, particularly with the dry toner print process, which offers efficient printer solutions that have huge ecological and cost effective benefits over competitors,” said Grant Thomas, product manager, Konica Minolta

    “Our aim is to supply leading wide format print products, which offer world-class technology, reliability and features that enable cost effective, wide format print production.”

    According to Barry Grant, sales director, Anitech, the economics of the KIP solution cannot be beaten in high-volume wide format. “To print an A1 poster on inkjet you need specially treated coated paper. With the KIP you can get the same result on normal bond paper for less than half the cost.”

  • Young Achievers Award – James Cryer’s clarion call to the future

    A proposed new awards system to recognise the winning qualities in young professionals across our industry will not even mention the term – apprenticeship.

    Imagine a gala event held at one of our capital city’s lavish hotels with TV cameras and the press jostling as glamorous young things strut the stage to the acclaim of an audience of thousands. Next day the media exposure is overwhelming with press and TV coverage.

    Hollywood? The final episode of Celebrity Detox? Australia’s Next Top Model? No – this is the grand final of the Printing Industries National Young Achiever of the Year Award! Fanciful? Maybe. Impossible? Possibly, but all it needs is vision, something the visual arts industries has in spades!

    Parents would be lining up outside printing companies demanding their offspring be given a job!

     Back to reality. Full marks to Bill Healey for appointing Joan Grace to head-up the new printing industry training initiative. Out of the RMIT train wreck may arise a better programme more suited to the needs of our industry.

    The printing industry is a collection of fiercely independent tribes with multiple training-streams and therein lies our strength and weakness when it comes to inducting new entrants. I’m not suggesting all these tribes should get crunched-up into one over-arching, supra-organisation – it’ll never happen! I am suggesting that there is an opportunity, bigger than the differences and it is the need to attract and retain new entrants. (Note my avoidance of the word, apprentices.)

    Joan’s arrival, and her focus on building exciting new training pathways, creates the perfect opportunity for us, as a multi-sector industry, to come together and work towards creating an industry-wide programme to recognise, reward and retain the best and the brightest. This would extend across all sectors; signage, labels, packaging, mailing, etc – not just offset. It would recognise all functional roles such as customer-service, production admin and sales, not just apprentices.

    It would be a fully integrated system of states’ awards leading to a national awards structure not dissimilar to the current National Print Awards. By bringing all the associations together to cooperate, it would also raise the profile of print, which would in turn, help attract new entrants!

    Where to start? The good news is we’ve already begun!

    I refer to the existing event known as the NSW LIA/Heidelberg Graduates Awards, which has been a great showcase of the best and brightest apprentices mainly from the offset sector. It contains the organisational expertise to enable an expansion. It could easily be re-defined to include all the other segments that go to comprise the greater printing church; labels, flexible, packaging, mailing, signage – reminding us that we are a collection of diverse tribes.

    Heidelberg has been a stalwart sponsor from the start. Nevertheless, with the need to broaden the award’s ambit and to present it as a true mirror of the industry, it would be more appropriate to re-brand it as the Printing Industries awards scheme. Individual suppliers could still sponsor a particular award category.

    The changing mix in training pathways. We have a unique opportunity to re-think the calibre and type of individuals we wish to attract and reward. Sadly, the need for factory-floor based apprentices is dwindling as other more exciting roles emerge. This is the story of our industry right now, not doom and gloom but readjustment. The contemporary industry is based on more capital, less labour, keeping the dream alive but with fewer bodies.

    Apprenticeships have zero resonance within the design or digital printing fields. The obvious response is to widen the definition of who can enter a new-look awards scheme and include all vocations within the broad visual-communications industry. Young Achievers can be any outstanding employee, according to certain agreed-upon standards of excellence.

    Taking ownership. This new, broad-based awards program should fall under the aegis of the Printing Industries (plural) Association of Australia, the body that purports, by its very name, to represent all the colourful tribes. Actual implementation would be via a body set up comprising all the participating sectors.

    Printing Industries’ Young Achievers Awards has a natural flavour to it and it’s agnostic; it doesn’t align itself with any sector, process, technology or commercial interest. This is vital; it must be free of commercial bias, like the ABC.

    A multi-sector approach like this also meshes perfectly with Printing Industries’ recent success in gaining federal funding to promote the attraction and retention of trainees. What better way to justify such a grant than to invest in a high-profile event, which showcases the best of the best across all sectors of our industry, not just the dwindling offset base?

    To quote from Worldskills Australia’s own website, the Young Achiever Awards would be:

    committed to the development … of vocational education … and to build a skills culture by inspiring young people, celebrating skills excellence and providing them with an opportunity to showcase their talent.

    There is nothing there about apprentices but everything about achievement. That’s the printing industry of tomorrow!

    James Cryer
    JDA Print Recruitment