Archive for June, 2015

  • ‘One big happy family’ – VC

    'A natural transition': Peter Harper, Visual Connections

    Melbourne’s Visual Impact show in September will be on top of the agenda when Australia’s newest graphic arts organisation Visual Connections begins its operations today.

    The new group – a merger of leading industry supplier groups the Graphic Arts Merchants Association of Australia (GAMAA) and the Visual Industries Suppliers Association (VISA) – will be based at VISA’s existing offices in Sydney’s north west.

    “GAMAA has moved its office into our offices in Epping and we’re all one big happy family,” said VISA GM Peter Harper, who will jointly manage the new entity with GAMAA executive director Karen Goldsmith. Both GAMAA and VISA will continue to trade under their individual names for 12 months in accordance with legal requirements.

    The new board will have equal representation from both associations. Board members will be: Mitchell Mulligan – Bottcher; Russell Cavenagh – DES; Ian Martin – WRH Global; Luke Wooldridge – Kodak; Mark Tailby – Graphic Art Mart; John Wall – Roland DG; Marcus Adler -Adler Digital; and Troy Macintosh – Sign Sheet Distributers.

    “From today, everyone will be answering the phone, Visual Connections,” said Harper. “We’ve still got a lot of paperwork to take care of but everything’s pretty much sorted and all of our members and directors have signed the relevant consent forms. Our first directors’ meeting will be on Thursday but it will still be a few weeks until our official launch event.”

    The Visual Impact show in Melbourne on 17-19 September would be the first trade show to be owned and operated by Visual Connections, said Harper.

    Much of the impetus for the merger has grown from the co-location of trade shows between the two bodies. GAMAA is half-owner, with Printing Industries, of PacPrint and PrintEx, biannual exhibitions that swap between Melbourne and Sydney. VISA on the other hand has grown proactive in promoting its Visual Impact show, running on average two a year between Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne. The arrival of wide-format inkjet has transformed these formerly screen-based shows into digital printing ones, ensuring a cross fertilization with many GAMAA corporate members. With the convergence of the technologies unlikely to reverse, over the years the merger took on an air of inevitability.

    ‘The merger was a natural transition and it’s just the way the industry is moving these days,” said Harper.  “You won’t have two separate organisations competing in the same market.  The money pool will flow back into one organisation and the additional savings will all go to association members and to the industry for trade shows, marketing and advertising.”

  • $90m QMS Media float reignites IVE speculation

    One of QMS’s newest digital sites at the intersection of Swanston and Flinders Streets in Melbourne’s CBD.

    One of Australia’s largest outdoor companies QMS Media has launched a successful ASX float just two weeks after print and marketing group IVE was forced to abandon its planned IPO citing market volatility.

    QMS began trading on the ASX yesterday after raising $90 million at $0.65 per share, implying a market capitalisation of $163.5 million. Shares opened at 68 cents, a three-cent premium to its issue price, and closed at 71 cents.

    The company’s outdoor media assets include digital and static roadside billboards across Australia, as well as retail and transit outdoor advertising assets in New Zealand and Indonesia. QMS said it planned to use the money to fund acquisitions and expand its presence across the Asia Pacific region.

    ‘Today is a major step in the growth and development of the QMS Media business,” said Barclay Nettlefold, QMS Media founder and managing director. “We have been greatly encouraged and energised by the strong support for our IPO, and we are pleased to welcome our new shareholders to the business. QMS Media has secured an extremely attractive platform of outdoor media assets, and the team remains focused on growing and enhancing our portfolio over the coming years to deliver a compelling offer to our customers and strong and sustainable returns for our shareholders,” he said.

    QMS expects to have 33 landmark digital billboards in operation by 30 June 2016, according to a company statement:

    Following the successful completion of the pre-IPO acquisitions, a proportion of funds raised through the IPO will be applied to the execution of the business’ growth strategy, which will be underpinned by the organic development of the Company’s Australian portfolio of landmark digital and static outdoor assets. This will be achieved through new digital asset development in high profile metropolitan locations and the selective digital conversion of strategically located static sites.

    The Company’s development strategy is well underway, with the launch of five new digital developments in the past five weeks, including: Barry Parade, Brisbane (launched 27 May 2015); Hindley Street, Adelaide (launched 29 May 2015); Westgate Freeway, Melbourne (launched 1 June 2015); Flinders Street, Melbourne (launched 15 June 2015); and Cnr Toorak and Warrigal Roads, Camberwell, Victoria (launched 20 June 2015).

    Following the completion of the above developments, QMS Media now has 21 digital landmark billboards operating in Australian major capital cities. The Company expects to have 33 landmark digital billboards operational by 30 June 2016.

    Meanwhile, as speculation continues about IVE’s plans for a second IPO attempt, the Australian Financial Review reports that several key members of the corporate advisory team of Evans & Partners are understood to be leaving the Melbourne-based stockbroker. Evans & Partners was appointed to handle the $100 million IVE Group float, which was cancelled earlier this month.

    IVE executive chairman Geoff Selig said at the time that the company would try again when market conditions improved.

  • FOR SALE – Digital/Offset Printer in Adelaide.

    Long standing, well known Adelaide digital / offset printer. Circa $2 million of profitable sales. Quality equipment – complete pre-press incl. CtP, late model digital plant, automated B3 multicolour offset, automated B2 offset, complete finishing.

    Very good client base, well spread, and mostly direct (very few intermediaries).
    Premises available for lease or purchase.  Perfectly positioned to grow.
    Sell price $795,000 plus SAV.
    Phone Richard Rasmussen, Ascent Partners, 1300 887 648 or at






  • Kiwis snare the first Cheetah

    'Groundbreaking' Xeikon CX3

    A New Zealand company has become the first printer in Australasia to sign up for the high-speed Xeikon CX3 label press, formerly known as the Cheetah.

    Xeikon announced the sale today in Sydney at the conclusion of its three-city Xeikon road show that also visited Auckland and Melbourne.

    Xeikon's Filip Weymans, in Sydney

    “The Kiwis got in first so it’s up to the Australians to catch up,” joked Belgium-based Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Labels & Packaging director.  “By the end of the day there will be one confirmed sale in New Zealand and the machine will go out later this year.  But there certainly has been a lot of interest amongst Australian printers.”

    The road show, organized in conjunction with Port Melbourne-based Absolute Innovative Solutions, featured speakers from leading UK label company CS Labels, who took possession of a Cheetah in March 2015, as one of five ‘pilot sites.’

    “The Cheetah is operating brilliantly and we’re excited by the improved workflow that allows us to run job after job after job and minimise human interaction,” said Simon Smith, CS Labels MD.  Smith told local printers attending the event at the Rydges Parramatta that his West Midlands-based company, now running five digital presses including the Cheetah, had delivered a 25% growth year on year over the past several years.

    'Operating brilliantly': Simon Smith, MD CS Labels, speaking in Sydney

    The Cheetah, recently rebranded as the Xeikon CX3, will become commercially available after Labelexpo in Brussells in September.

    “The majority of CX3 machines that we’ve sold already are headed to North America and Europe but we thought it made sense to come over to Australia and New Zealand because there’s a lot of potential here,” said Weymans. “We’ve had a very good response and have spoken to about 50 companies over the past few days. The NZ sale is first one we have confirmed but it’s up to the company itself to decide when they want to announce it.

    “We don’t want to step into the marketing hype type of stuff about digital printing. Our intention is just to make people aware of what can be done and what can’t be done so that they can make a decision based on facts and figures.  We’re not going around saying, if you’re not doing digital you’re going to be dead in a few years, because I think that’s just stupid.  There will always be a compliment between digital and conventional and that makes a printer stronger.  However, the CX3 really is a groundbreaking machine and it’s simply the fastest and most productive digital five-color narrow-web label press on the market in the top quality range.

    “We rebranded the CX3 from its previous name Cheetah just two weeks ago for our launch  but since then we’ve had a lot of people saying they had become quite attached to the previous name.  So, who knows?  Maybe the Cheetah might be headed back our way some time soon.”

    Grish Rewal, director of Absolute Electronics, speaking at the Xeikon road show.

    (l to r) Filip Weymans, director Xeikon Labels & Packaging; Mike Cowan, MD Le Mac Australia; Bent Serritslev, MD Xeikon Asia Pacific

  • Issue 718 – June 27 2015

    Nothing enlivens the civility of Australia and New Zealand more than the other’s close proximity. In sport and business the rivalry between the two brings that extra edge of excitement and satisfaction. From the Bledisloe Cup to the adoption of new printing technology Aussie vs Kiwi competitiveness frames significance. But the argy bargey should never obscure the close ties that bind the two countries and the amazing amount of cooperation and shared resources across the Tasman.

    After all, who wins this round is all in good fun … isn’t it?

    You’re one of almost 7000 industry professionals across Australia and New Zealand reading Print21.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor


  • Australian Paper to claw back envelope volumes

    Following the failure of Australian Envelopes in 2011, the printing industry has doubled its consumption of imported envelopes despite a revival of local manufacturing.

    When the primary envelope producer went broke, Australian Paper picked up some of its manufacturing equipment and reconstituted the business. In the years since then it has fought to win back market share after a dramatic increase in imported envelopes.

    According to a report in industry bible, Pulp & Paper Edge, the surge in imports went from an average in 2011 of 156.7 million per quarter to a peak of 476.6 million tonnes the same year. Since then Australian Paper has brought the imports back to a new average of 350.5 million per quarter with the trend heading south. In the first quarter this year Australia imported 340.2 million envelopes with 39% coming from New Zealand.

    However, the strength of the Kiwi dollar against the Aussie has eaten away at New Zealand’s share of the pie with imports from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore all increasing. Even so, the overall price of imported envelopes to Australia continues to increase as the Aussie weakens against the US dollar. This has led to a 9% drop in imports this year so far. With no sign of the local currency staging recovery, printers can expect the cost of envelopes to continue to rise even a demand continues to slump.

    Pulp & Paper Edge poses the question whether the local manufacturer, Australian Paper, has suffered a similar contraction or if the weakening dollar is giving it a larger share of the shrinking envelope market.





  • SWUG NZ invites Aussies across the ditch

    In the absence of a local Single Width Users Group conference this year, Dan Blackburn invites Australian newspaper printers to Rotorua.

    “With SWUG Australia not having a conference this year, we have invited and had a really good uptake from the Australian print fraternity. This will certainly add to what is expected to be another fantastic conference,” said Blackburn (pictured below).





    This year themed Print with Passion and being hosted at the Qualmark Hotel Rotorua, the showpiece event of the web offset print sector is expected to attract towards 150 delegates and suppliers.

    “We have never before taken the SWUG conference to Rotorua and the fact that it is an attractive tourist destination and centrally-located certainly assisted in the decision,” he said.

    “We have a great line up of presentations covering a myriad of interesting print topics along with a few Who Am I addresses. There will also be several informative print site presentations, given there has been a fair bit of upgrading and moving of plants in New Zealand in recent times,’ said Blackburn.

    Guest speaker Sir Ray Avery will discuss his life and latest invention – incubators designed for Third World countries.

    The two-day event will include a gala Wednesday Awards Evening at the spectacular Skyline Rotorua, at which attendees will bear witness to the quality being produced by print sites throughout the sector as well as sharing in the bestowing of the Apprentice of the Year.

    Thursday’s programme will include an educational tour of the paper-making plant of Norske Skog in Kawerau (formerly known as the Tasman Pulp and Paper Company) as well as an entertaining networking dinner/quiz night in the evening.

    Speakers will also entail:

    • Anthony Payne, Human Resources Director for Fairfax Media Print and Logistics division and Director of Health Safety and Environment for Fairfax Media, OH&S standards in Australia and what the potential legislations changes will mean to you
    • Chris Smallwood, Managing Director, Thermal Imaging Services    –preventative resource for your plant
    • Russell Wieck, Operations Manager for NZME Ellerslie – Changes happening at Ellerslie and the challenge of continuous improvement for quality and what the IFRA club challenges were
    • Andy Stephens, Managing Director, Global Press Technologies –importance of Blanket cleaning and difference between UV and conventional printing
    • Molisi Saulala, SWUG Apprentice of the Year 2014 –Molisi will present on his prize trip for winning the award
    • Steve Packham, Technical Service Manager Web, DIC Australia –optimising the benefits of participating in quality competitions
    • Mitchell Mulligan, Managing Director, Bottcher Australia –impacts of running half webs and suggestions for improvements
    • Malcolm Lochhead, Application Specialist for Fujifilm New Zealand   –getting consistent colour across multiple devices and print technologies.
  • Winds of Change – Mike Boyle to HP from Canon

    Mike Boyle

    Former Canon Professional Print (CPP) GM Mike Boyle has been appointed head of HP’s graphic services business (GSB) for Asia-Pacific.

    The former senior general manager of CPP Australia takes over from Gido van Pragg, who has been named vice president HP GSB for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

    “We wish Mike all the best for the future and thank him for all that he has contributed to Canon during his tenure,” said Tom Sullivan of Canon Business Services, in announcing last week that Tim Saleeba would take over as head of Canon’s Professional Print division.

    Australian-born Boyle, a prominent industry figure who returned home in 2013 to take the top job at CPP after a four-year stint as international marketing director for Oce in the Netherlands, will now be based in Singapore.

  • Print push back against the digital wave

    Four out of five people prefer reading print on paper than on a digital device, according to a new survey by global print media initiative Two Sides.

    UK and USA-based consumer research found that 84% of respondents understood, retained or used information that had been printed and read on paper much better than information received on a digital device. About 79% found printed media more relaxing to read and 83% stated a clear preference for reading print on paper for more complex topics.  Overall, 79% of respondents preferred to read print on paper when given the choice.

    The survey also revealed that 60% of mobile/smart phone users were concerned about how those devices were damaging to their health because of eye strain, headaches and insomnia.

    “While on-screen reading occupies an increasing amount of consumer time, people’s preferences are still for a physical reading experience and a ‘safe’ medium that is more informative, less distracting and less harmful to their health,” said Martyn Eustace, Director of Two Sides UK. “This indicates there is still a more fundamental and human way in which we react to the physicality of paper-based print. The results have lessons for all those who choose the way in which information is distributed, particularly for advertisers, marketers and educators who need to understand how information is being delivered, received, processed and retained.”

    The findings have been backed by Pablo Del Campo, worldwide creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, who said that print was a more powerful medium than most people realise. “It’s time to question whether digital media delivers the better return on investment,” Del Campo told The Australian at the Cannes Lions International Festival. “We are seduced by digital media and it’s not necessarily because it’s more effective.  I feel it’s because it’s new. The movement online has gone too far. Maybe advertisers don’t know exactly what to do. They are experimenting because they need to and I understand that. Let’s wait a couple of years and see, but I feel print is not extinct.

    “Print is still powerful,” said Del Campo. “The thing about print is that a consumer will be in silence and you have time to be exposed. Of course you have to catch the attention of somebody but if you get that attention then the type of relationship you can establish with the idea and the ­target audience is very good. Digital is more interactive but sometimes you want to read a print newspaper. It’s totally engaging and very effective.”

    Two Sides Australia executive director Kellie Northwood said the survey confirmed what other research had already found.  “Consumers like paper. They trust print more than digital communications, they remember print messages for longer and with greater accuracy and they are less likely to immediately discard printed collateral.

    “Roy Morgan Research, Nielsen, Australia Post, KMP Economics and more all find that people connect better with print and that print is a strong media channel for marketers. A KMP Economics survey earlier this year found that people are three times more likely to immediately discard an email than a printed letter. Nielsen’s Consumer and Media View research found that people spend on average 26 minutes a week reading catalogues, brochures and leaflets delivered through the letterbox, and Roy Morgan’s Media Most Useful sees print as a top three performer across all market segments.” said Northwood. “Print continues to deliver results and customers engage with it. As an industry, we need to use the Two Sides surveys and other research to challenge the myth that print is not relevant or effective,” she said.

    The new study, commissioned by Two Sides UK and undertaken by research company Toluna, surveyed 500 consumers in the UK and 1,000 in the US on a number of issues relating to the switch from paper-based to digital media.

  • Deluge for 2015 Packaging Design Awards

    Tea by Birdy, Best of Show 2014

    Entries are pouring in from manufacturers, brand owners, designers, retailers and raw material suppliers for the 2015 Australian Packaging Design Awards (APDA) run by the Packaging Council of Australia (PCA).

    “We’re a notoriously last-minute industry but entries are going very well this year and we had a flood of registrations in April before the cut-off date for the early bird special,” said Jennifer Salem, PCA’s Awards & Divisional Manager. “The final closing date for registration is Wednesday, July 29.”

    The APDA is an annual competition targeted towards the entire packaging supply chain and recognises companies who are ‘imaginative, innovative and creative’ in producing packaging. The event is designed to assist companies launch new products into the market, increase their business profile and build media and brand awareness.

    There are six categories to choose from when registering: Food, Beverage, Health & Beauty, Household & Office, Industrial & Supply Chain and Seasonal & Promotional.

    More details here.



  • Plastic packager Pact takes Jalco for $80m

    'Ideal strategic fit': Brian Cridland, CEO Pact

    Australia’s largest plastic packaging manufacturer Pact has signed an $80m deal to take over leading supplier Jalco Group, a manufacturer for prominent brands including Colgate, Ajax and Sunsilk.

    “Jalco is an ideal strategic fit and will allow us to deepen existing customer relationships and enter new areas of growth,” said Brian Cridland, CEO of Pact Group. “We are extremely excited about the Jalco acquisition, an adjacent and highly complimentary business to the Pact Group enterprise. We have been a supplier to Jalco for many years, we understand the business and I am delighted to see these two companies come together.”

    Pact has just secured a debt financing deal that will diversify its funding base and give the company access to further capital to fund potential growth opportunities.

    “It’s in our DNA,” said Darren Brown, Pact CFO. “We have made 45 acquisitions over the past 13 years and have been very active, especially in the Australian and New Zealand markets.  I don’t see any reason why that would change in the future.  The debt refinancing deal extends our current facilities and will provide continuing support to extend our expansion plans.”

    In an ASX announcement on Tuesday, Pact Group said it had extended and amended its bank debt facilities, which comprise a A$590m facility and a NZ$180m facility. Pact Group has also entered into a new $100m receivables purchase facility.

    Melbourne-based Pact was established in 2002 and has a major presence in Australia, New Zealand and numerous Asian markets, manufacturing plastic packaging products for clients including Woolworths, Coles, Schweppes, Unilever and other major multinationals.

    Sydney-based Jalco, established in 1973, makes products ranging from plastic bottles to washing powders, shampoo, automotive fluids and diet supplements for leading brands including Unilever, Sunsilk, Avon and Colgate. The company employs 500 staff across six sites in NSW and comprises a number of divisions, including homecare and personal care.   Jalco’s annual sales are estimated at $165m.

    Pact will acquire Jalco for approximately $80m, which includes a conditional deferred component.  Acquisition costs were likely to total around $1m this financial year and would be funded through Pact’s debt facilities. The takeover is expected to be completed by 1 September, 2015, subject to a restructure of Jalco to retain its health and wellness division.

    Analysts are tipping that Pact will continue with an expansion strategy over the next three years.

  • Andrew Price to sue PaperlinX over sacking

    Former CEO threatens to launch a Federal Court challenge as early as this Friday for unpaid salary and expenses following his shock dismissal in March this year. “They even cut off my phone,” he said from his London home.

    After almost two tumultuous years at the helm of the ailing paper merchant in London, Andrew Price is on the outer with the Australian-based company establishment and its chairman, Robert Kaye. He maintains he was dismissed from his post after refusing to resign following a disagreement over a potential $100 million capital raising to restructure the business and pay out the $280 million hybrid shareholders that have long been a thorn in its side. Opposition from one of PaperlinX’s largest shareholders is claimed to have put the kybosh on the ambitious scheme.

    About to take up a position in Hong Kong with print management firm HH Global as its CEO for Asia-Pacific, Price claims he got short shift from the company with an abrupt dismissal. He has not received any of the salary, expanses or superannuation owed to him for the months leading his sacking. He says the board marginalised him during the period before he was sacked, refusing even to allow him as CEO to scrutinise payments to consultants or executive expenses.

    In a wide-ranging critique of the strategy that has the company in a fire sale situation in Europe, Price identifies a number of decisions that he believes have cost the company dearly. He is especially scathing of the prices the company has received for its international businesses, including the sale of PaperlinX Canada, which he says was sold for “almost half price” against his advice.

    Since March this year PaperlinX Europe has imploded with the Benelux, UK and Austrian companies sold out of administration with the Scanindavian, Spanish and Irish companies mostly subject to management buyouts at rock-bottom prices. PaperlinX has not received any material direct benefit from the sales with the proceeds going to other European stakeholders.

    The sales are still going ahead with only the German and Czech operations still remaining from the European businesses of the once mighty paper merchant. When completed the company will have effectively exited the Europeans market completely to concentrate on its profitable Australian, New Zealand and Asian operations..

    Price believes PaperlinX in Europe was on track to negotiate its way out of a defined pension scheme deficit in the UK and Holland when the board decided to cut the European operations adrift after its shares were suspended from trading. With less than three months to go on his contract when the board moved against him, he maintains agreements in principle were reached with financiers to raise the required capital.

    The far-reaching restructure would have seen considerable dilution of the stakes of existing shareholders, a flaw that proved fatal to its fulfillment. The disagreement became personal when Price was dismissed in a manner he describes as being “as brutal as you can get.” Later, an agreement was reached in mediation about his remuneration but then fell apart. He believes he has no other option but to bring the matter to the Federal Court in Australia.

    PaperlinX has appointed Andy Preece as its new CEO following the departure of Price with a remit to build the company’s Australia-centric business into a diversified graphic arts supplier. As part of the reorganisation in the past two week the local operation has moved its Scoresby HQ to Dandenong.

    Print21 sought comment from PaperlinX about the proposed legal challenge but has not received any response at time of publishing.

  • Quality trumps price in Heroprint survey

    Higher quality printing rather than the cheapest prices is the ‘most important’ requirement for customers of the long-established national ‘for trade’ printer.

    More than 10% of its thousands of professional printing clients responded to a detailed questionnaire with the majority ticking the quality of print as their most important requirement. Alex Coulson, manager at the Sydney-based production centre, was especially pleased with the focus on better printing.

    “It reinforces our belief in the way we operate our business. We’ve always put quality control first and that seems to be what clients are most interested in,” he said.

    Respondents to the survey that sought to rate client expectations, put cheaper prices a poor second. To Coulson’s delight customers gave the printer an overall rating of 8.9 out of ten on all the main criteria such as service, quality and price. “We even got forty percent of our customers ticking ten out of ten, with over ninety percent giving us over eight,” said Coulson. “It was a very satisfactory response.”

    The relatively high rate of engagement with Heroprint’s customer survey also validates Coulson’s philosophy that a good printing business is based on relationships. The family-owned business is on a consistent growth path that emphasizes personal engagement even as it provides easy online ordering.

    “We make it possible for all our customers to place their orders easily online, if they don’t need to talk to us. At the same time we encourage them to come in and deal face to face, whatever they prefer,” he said.

    "We’ve always put quality control first," Alex Coulson.

    Notably Heroprint produces proofs for large amounts of its work, with many customers coming in personally to the Euston Road, Alexandria, plant to do a press check. Coulson is happy to facilitate these visits, actually encouraging them to come and see the scale of the Sydney-based operation.

    “Many people are surprised at how large our operation is. Many still think of us as being a Perth company, while we’ve been Sydney-based at this site for over a decade,” he said.

    The hugely productive, 24/7, printing plant runs three Komori Lithrones – a ten-colour A1 perfector, a five-colour A1 as well as a four-colour A2. A Kodak Nexpress, one of two with the other in Perth, takes care of digital orders. A comprehensive finishing department churns turns out every form of printed product.

    The family-owned business has refined it processes and its locations. It has an offset and digital operation in Perth as well as digital sites in Melbourne and Brisbane. Firmly focused on ‘for trade’ printing, Heroprint’s range of products is constantly growing as it meets its customers’ requirements.

    “It’s important that we are all things to our customers. That’s why we’ve taken things like die-cutting in-house. Because quality finishing is so important, everything we produce is coated. Nothing is too hard for us,” said Coulson.

    Heroprint operates its own custom-built MIS and most jobs are turned around within two-three days. In the highly competitive ‘for trade’ space it keeps focused firmly on what it does best – quality printing for a recognised clientele.

    And it seems to be a formula for success.



  • Issue 717 – June 24 2015

    It’s Groundhog Day in the Australian printing industry with Andrew Price, founder of Stream Solutions, getting back into print management after an interesting time at the helm of PaperlinX. Meantime Bob McMillan, is ‘not’ getting back into printing by lending John Mangos and Chris Wallace of Sydney Allen enough money to revamp the business and move to the old McMillan Printing site at Granville. The more things change …

    You’re one of nearly 7000 industry professionals across Australia and New Zealand reading Print21.
    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • Barnsley touted as GM of Sydney Allen

    Bob McMillan

    A cone of silence has descended on the machinations at Sydney-based printing company, Sydney Allen, following an extraordinary detailed statement from industry identity, Bob McMillan, that he was lending the company’s principals money to pay off debts and relocate to his old printing premises in Granville.

    The normally reclusive McMillan broke his silence, speaking at length with a trade journal to confirm his engagement after months of speculation from the industry. While denying he was getting back into printing, McMillan will wind up being the money behind a revamped operation run by current directors, John Mangos and Chris Wallace.

    Industry sources maintain that Lee Barnsley, once executive GM of McMillan Print Group before it was sold to Blue Star in 2007, will take the helm of the relocated business. It’s likely there will be extra investment in new equipment as Sydney Allen moves from its Condell Park premises across town. With a turnover of $13.6M and 59 employees, Sydney Allen has not been known to invest in technology in recent years, part of the reason it was floundering.

    McMillan reportedly has a number of businesses on the Granville site but does not have equity interest in them all.

    A spokesperson from Sydney Allen, while confirming the thrust of the article, denied that any of the loan was to pay off an equity partner there.  The move to Granville is expected to take place over the next few months.

    If Barnsley is appointed to run the printing side of the operation, it will be an exceptional ‘Groundhog Day’ experience for all concerned.



  • Apprentices keen on digital: PIAA (video)

    Printing apprentices at the forum in Melbourne, with AMWU`s Lorraine Cassin (l) and PIAA chief Bill Healey (r).

    A revamped printing apprenticeship program has struck a chord with digital-savvy young people unwilling to commit to the traditional four-year apprenticeship.

    Printing Industries CEO Bill Healey said that 230 apprentices now involved in the federally funded Future Print Apprenticeship Project – a two-year joint venture between Printing Industries and the AMWU – had confirmed the project’s strategy at the recent Future Print Apprentice Forum in Melbourne.

    “The most encouraging feedback from students was that they were keen to adopt digital and other new technologies to help meet what they believe is a growing, but changing, demand from clients. The apprentices at the forum agreed that they could see a bright future ahead in the industry and were keen to be part of it. In fact, a number said that they not only wanted to progress in their trade, but also to build a wider career in the industry, working both here and overseas, and ultimately to own their own business. They showed a keen appreciation of the challenges ahead and a real enthusiasm for meeting them,” Healey said.

    “The roles of the Future Print advisers in providing support to apprentices and their employers and the work we do with RTOs and employers to increase the level of support was highlighted as being of key importance, and while most apprentices are satisfied, it’s probably an area where things need to improve even more,” he said. “About 230 apprentices are now involved in the training system, with many well on their way to achieving their qualifications.”

    Young people unwilling to commit to a set four-year traditional apprenticeship and both trainees and employers were keen to explore alternatives to off-site study blocks which left businesses short-handed and was particularly challenging for students from regional and rural areas, he said.

    “The first challenge for the industry is to attract new people.  We know that the print and graphic communication sector is experiencing unprecedented change, and that the pace of change is, if anything, likely to accelerate rather than stabilise,” Healey said. “The challenge for us as an industry is to continue to attract, inspire, train and mentor people to take their place in the industry, even as that change is happening all around us.  But we have already seen great improvements through the establishment of this project, which has launched a number of communication and support activities for employers and job seekers via website resources, social media and direct contact with schools, businesses and other key stakeholders.

    “This is particularly so with competency based training where apprentices are rewarded for hard work and dedication by being able to advance in their training. They enjoy pay progression as they reach each competency level at their own pace and this has greatly increased motivation and satisfaction.

    “With mentors and supervisors identified as having a very large influence over the apprentice’s progress and their job satisfaction, the Future Print Mentoring Program we ran earlier, as well as the recently introduced Future Print Supervisor Training Courses, are clearly going to contribute positively to the ongoing success of industry training,” Healey said.

    Future Print released a 15-minute video report from the National Apprentice Forum:


  • Next winner at HP Awards

    Sydney's Next Printing accepts HP Print Excellence Award

    Sydney digital printer Next Printing has taken out the grand prize and four other major awards at this year’s sixth HP Digital Print Excellence Awards for Sign and Display in Singapore.

    As well as winning the overall Grand Winner award, Next Printing won four of seven categories, including Creative, Corrugated Packaging, Retail POP/POS and Green Digital Printing.  Bokay Group from Perth won the Vehicle Graphics category.

    This year’s event attracted more than 380 entries from 16 countries across Asia Pacific and Japan and included the HP Digital Print Excellence Awards for HP Indigo.  Supastick Labels from Perth shared the HP Indigo Grand Winner prize and won the Labels – Wine & Spirits category.

    Nulab Group from Melbourne

    Melbourne’s Nulab Group won the Limited Edition and Art Reproduction prize and received special recognition in three photo book categories.

    Labelmaker Group won the Labels – Pharmaceutical & Neutraceutical category, and New Zealand’s Hally Labels won Labels – Non-Alcoholic Beverages and was recognised in Labels – Health and Beauty.

    Bokay Group from Perth won the Vehicle Graphics category