Archive for August, 2015

  • Commercial Notice: Printing Business for Sale, Victoria

    Are you keen to escape the city and enjoy a tree change? Alternatively, are you a local in the Northern Victorian area (roughly in the greater area around Shepparton) who would like to run your own printing business? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, this could be the opportunity you are looking for.

    This well-established business has been operating in the area for thirty years. It is effectively a one-stop shop for customers’ print and graphics requirements. Products supplied include flyers, catalogues, booklets, business cards, business stationery, signage, promotional items and more.

    This business has a broad repeat customer base. It has customers from a variety of different industries, including manufacturing, retail, farming, wholesale, tourism, healthcare, education etc. This means that the business is not dependent on any particular customer or industry. This gives good stability to sales.

    Whilst some experience with print or graphics would be helpful, it is not essential. Staff are in place who are able to perform the technical functions. It is more important for the new owner to have some sales or business skills.

    The owner of the business is able to enjoy a healthy work-lifestyle balance. Not only is the business located in a pleasant, bustling regional town, it is also offers five day trading, leaving your weekends free.

    For the 2015 financial year, this business achieved a return to the owner of $175,000.

    This quality business is being offered for sale at $299,000 negotiable.

    If the above businesses is of interest, please contact David at Argus Business Brokers on 0425 329 765 for a confidential discussion.

    You can view our other print and graphics listings (plus advice on buying or selling a business) at





  • Issue 736 – August 28 2015

    It’s not often disputes over the suitability of printing technology make it into the public arena. Most suppliers bend over backwards to keep the issue out of the spotlight, not only for their own sake but also for the customer. But now and then it gets nasty. Integrating a new technology is a partnership between customer and supplier. It needs good will on both sides to make it work. It’s always unfortunate when that doesn’t happen.

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

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • Digital press stoush claims 5 Star unit

    A long-running dispute over a digital printer at one of South Australia’s largest print companies hit the fan this week as Graf-X – trading as 5 Star Print – went into voluntary administration.

    Amid the sound and fury of claims and counter claims, Carolyn Cagney, managing director of award-winning 5 Star Print at Netley in Adelaide’s south west, says she was forced to wind up the Graf-X entity because of the dispute but maintains the 5 Star Print business is continuing under another entity – Tone Block. She blames the digital press, a NexPress, for forcing the closure of the business, a claim vigorously denied by the supplier.

    According to the supplier, the press was certified by the manufacturer as “100 percent in working condition” and it has since been sold on behalf of the company in administration.

    “There’s nothing wrong with the machine as far as we’re concerned,” said a spokesman. “We believe most of the trouble came from operator error. The manufacturer has looked at the machine and found nothing wrong and a buyer has been found. I’d be very disappointed if it hasn’t been recognised that we have done all that we can.”

    Carolyn Cagney, 5 Star Print

    Cagney said the voluntary administration of  Graf-X is entirely legal “because Graf-X was involved in the original purchase. This has cost me millions and millions of dollars. The trouble started four years ago when I bought a digital printer at a trade show. We had budgeted that the new machine would generate about $1.2 million dollars worth of business each year but it has done nothing.

    “I can’t identify the press and I can’t name the supplier because the matter is now with the lawyers,” she said. “But the machine was atrocious and the work it produced was not commercially acceptable.  We got a lemon and it has caused us so much grief and almost destroyed part of the company. It has cost me more than $800,000 in payments and $300,000 in click rates but most of that work jammed in the machine or went into the bin.

    “I just want my money back.  The problem is that one company sold it to us but another company was responsible for the service contract and their techs couldn’t get it running.  They said they’d pick it up two weeks ago and it’s still sitting here in the corner and turned off. If it was the only machine that we had then we wouldn’t even have a company but luckily we bought a couple of Fuji Xerox digital machines and they’ve been fantastic,” said Cagney.

    Administrators BRI Ferrier have called the first meeting of creditors of the company Graf-X Ltd, which formerly traded as 5 Star Print, on 01 September in Adelaide, according to an ASIC notice. Items on the agenda include: whether to appoint a committee of creditors; and proof of debt and proxies.  Appointed administrators Andre Strazdins & Stuart Otway of BR Ferrier have been unavailable for comment.

    Over the past 22 years, 5 Star Print has grown from a two-person operation to being one of the largest print companies in South Australia, with a staff about 40.


  • IPMG a big winner at ACA awards

    The ACA board at Crown Palladium

    Print communications group IPMG dominated the Australasian Catalogue Awards, with clients Whybin\TBWA winning Agency of the Year and David Jones winning a Retailer of the Year award.

    The Judges Choice award went to Reece for its The Spring Bathroom catalogue, produced by Trout Creative and printed by Franklin Web.

    “IPMG has a long and proud history with both the ACA and the Australasian Catalogue Awards and it provides an opportunity for us to celebrate with our clients all of our collective achievements in catalogue marketing,” said Craig Dunsford, CEO, Print at IPMG.

    Almost 700 retailers, creatives, agencies, printers and distributors attended the 24th annual awards hosted by The Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA) at the Crown Palladium, Melbourne.

    “These awards are a true celebration of our collective industries,” said Kellie Northwood, CEO ACA. “I truly believe one of the reasons the catalogue and letterbox marketing industries are so resilient and vibrant is because of the entire industry working as one and celebrating together. With an audience reach higher than any other media channel at 19.7 million and readership at 77% of Australians, the catalogue is very much back in vogue.

    “The ACA Awards is not a manufacturing awards, it is a media and marketing awards night. The entries are assessed based on their effectiveness rather than print specifications and this gives greater inclusion to the wider industry stakeholders including creative agencies and brands.”

    The Major Australasian Catalogue Awards Winners and Finalists:

    Catalogue Retailer of the Year – Up to 1.5M (Sponsored by Norske Skog) WINNER – David Jones. FINALISTS – Chemmart, Myer, Nutrimetics

    Catalogue Retailer of the Year – Up to 3.5M (Sponsored by Norske Skog) WINNER – Domayne. FINALISTS – Harvey Norman, Telstra, The Good Guys

    Catalogue Retailer of the Year – Over 3.5M (Sponsored by Norske Skog)  WINNER – Dan Murphy’s. FINALISTS – Chemist Warehouse, Kmart, Woolworths

    Best Young Designer (Sponsored by Sierra Delta and Offset Alpine Printing) WINNER – Joshua Wallace of Chemist Warehouse. FINALISTS – Amanda Ellis of PFG Australia, Erin Wheeler of Generic Publications, Teya Evans of Ideaworks

    Best Young Talent (Sponsored by Stora Enso) WINNER – Justin Pigozzo of Rivers. FINALIST – Carly Sexton of Kmart, Carlo Mezzini of Stratco, Sarah Bragg of Kmart

    Agency of the Year (Sponsored by Fairfax Media) WINNER – Whybin/TBWA for David Jones. FINALISTS – Red Jelly for Dan Murphy’s, Clemenger BBDO for Myer, Generic Publications for Domayne and Harvey Norman

    Judge’s Choice (Sponsored by Australia Post) WINNER – Reece produced by Trout Creative. FINALISTS – Castle Towers Shopping Centre produced by Plump and Spry, David Jones produced by Whybin\TBWA, Peter Alexander produced by Paper, Stone Scissors and Haven Licensing

    For a full listing of winners go to   


  • Falling $A hits Amcor profit

    The strong US dollar cut into the profits of Australian packaging giant Amcor for the 12 months to June 30, with the company posting a small 0.4% rise in net profit to $A947 million ($US680.3 million).

    The company added that net profit had actually jumped 7.2% – when currency swings from a strengthening US dollar were excluded. Revenue was down 3.5% at $US9.61 billion.

    Ron Delia, CEO Amcor

    “The full year results represent another year of higher profits and returns despite a depreciating Australian dollar,” said Amcor CEO Ron Delia. “Earnings per share, on a constant currency basis, increased by 7.5 per cent, and dividend, in Australian dollar terms, increased by 23 per cent to 53 cents. Though growth is lower, change is happening more quickly and we are adapting to our environment and accelerating to meet new opportunities. The key drivers of our increased earnings were the benefits from recent acquisitions and continued improvement in operating performance.”

    Over the past year Amcor announced acquisitions in South Africa, Brazil, China and India, as well as new plants in the Philippines and Indonesia.

    Delia emphasised the importance of the Australian market, which makes up five per cent of its business.

    “We have the market-leading flexible packaging business in Australia and New Zealand and the presence we have here is important. Australia holds an important part of our operating business, which will continue to prosper, and it is also our listing location and a great source of equity capital. We don’t see any reason to shift the listing of our company anywhere else.

    “The rigid plastics business had a strong year, with earnings up 8% and returns at a record 20%. There was continued growth in Latin America and the North American operations had a solid result, with higher volumes in all the main product segments,” he said. Amcor’s flexible packaging segment saw record returns of 25.5% and its operating sales margin increased to 12.5%.

    “The outlook for the 2015/16 year is for higher earnings, expressed in constant currency terms,” said Delia.

    The final dividend was 28.6 Australian cents per share, unfranked, up from 23.5 cents.

  • Profit jump for Amcor spinoff Orora

    Packaging company Orora increased annual net profit by 25.9% despite ‘subdued’ conditions in major markets including North America and Australasia.

    The company, which was spun off from packaging giant Amcor in December 2013, reported a net profit of $131.4 million, up from last year’s $104.4 million. Earnings before interest and tax rose 17 per cent to $225.1 million.

    'Strong earnings': Chief executive Nigel Garrard

    “Operationally the Group delivered strong earnings before interest and tax growth of approximately 17% despite subdued market conditions in both Australasia and North America,” said chief executive Nigel Garrard. “This was driven primarily by benefits from business improvement programs, which are slightly ahead of target, and increased market share in the glass and North American businesses.”

    “Orora’s customer focus and innovation will continue to underpin future growth,” said Gerrard, who added that 2015/16 earnings were expected to be higher. “Orora continues to actively pursue acquisition opportunities in preferred markets to enhance geographic footprint, extend the value proposition and achieve greater economies of scale.”

    The company declared a final dividend of 4 cents a share, bringing the total payout for the year to 7.5 cents a share.

    Orora also announced it’s signed a $17 million deal to acquire Jakait, a Canadian-based supplier of packaging, logistics services and label products to the greenhouse produce sector.

    Melbourne-based Orora employs about 5,500 people in 39 manufacturing plants and 83 distribution sites across seven countries, producing packaging products ranging from corrugated boxes and folding cartons to glass bottles and jars.

  • Future Print launches online training

    'Excited about the potential': Michelle Lees, PIAA project consultant

    Future Print released its first online training program that was developed with the support of Printing Industries and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU).

    “We are very excited about the potential of online training, which works beautifully as part of the self-paced training model and is particularly valuable for smaller businesses and those in rural and regional locations,” said Michelle Lees, PIAA training approaches project officer, who has overseen the development of online components for Future Print.

    “It’s important for us to ensure that the training effectively equips the apprentice to do their job and meet qualification requirements, but it’s equally important to recognise the need for businesses to meet the very real imperatives of productivity and profitability. This move will allow for the delivery of flexible training integrated with an apprentice’s work, delivering consistent results and reducing the need for apprentices to be off site. Today’s training models need to reflect the needs of our rapidly changing industry, and should be delivered in a way which makes the best use of current delivery methods,” she said.

    The new modules were developed in consultation with five Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) currently delivering print training across the country as partners in the Future Print Apprenticeship Project. They helped to define future training needs and identify the most useful e-learning modules to be incorporated into the early stages of an apprenticeship. Future Print then worked with Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) to develop the first eight units of competency that met the identified requirements and could be used as a pilot.

    The result is the release of the initial eight online training modules covering a number of core units across Certificate 2, 3, 4 and 5 including:

    ·        Participate in environmentally sustainable work

    ·        Communicate in the workplace

    ·        Inspect quality against required standards

    ·        Maintain a safe work environment

    ·        Apply knowledge of print production (NB: this is a consolidated unit)

    ·        Introduction to colour management

    ·        Manage digital files

    ·        Set up and produce basic digital print

    Future Print is now developing the next 12 online units and actively looking for additional content to take advantage of the new online capabilities.

    Those interested in finding out more about the online components or about apprenticeships in general should contact a Future Print advisor through their local Printing Industries office by calling 1800 227 425.

    Future Print is funded by the Australian Government and is a joint initiative of the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) and the AMWU and is aimed at developing the skills and capabilities of businesses in the print and related communications, creative and information sectors to respond effectively to meet economic, demographic and technological change.

  • Issue 735 – August 26 2015

    It’s annual reports season, when the corporate entrails are laid out on the altar of analysis for public inspection and prediction. Making sense of the figures is sometimes as arcane a practice as the ancient art of hepatoscopy (reading the future from the entrails of animals). Deciding whether a company’s result is good, mediocre or disastrous is sometimes a fine judgement call. If a business has narrowly avoided going broke or has finally shucked a bucket load of debt, then even a break even result is acceptable. When profits are announced it’s always worthwhile looking at the percentage to see how they relate to the overall revenue. Sometimes there’s a lot of effort for one or two percent return, a rounding up figure really rather than a real result.

    In printing, most businesses are privately owned and their results are held tightly from creditors. Public companies operate in a different way. But if you’re using someone else’s money you must expect scrutiny.

    You are one of almost 7000 industry professional across Australia and New Zealand reading Print21.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor


  • New chapter in Opus Group revival sees it exit NZ outdoor business

    Less than a year out of a major capital restructuring, Opus Group has posted an initial six monthly profit of $4.8 million and paid out 20% of it in dividends.

    After surviving a near-death experience in 2014, the group was rescued by Hong Kong-based printing company, 1010 in a deal with the Commonwealth Bank that saw a write off of almost $30 million in debt. Relishing its new relatively debt-free situation the company, under Richard Celarc, executive chairman and Cliff Brigstock, CEO, is back on track.

    It posted revenue for the six months to July of $55.5 million, mostly from the publishing division with the outdoor business accounting for $10.5 million.

    Cliff Brigstocke CEO

    As part of its new focus on core activities it is in the process of closing a deal for Omnigraphics, the New Zealand outdoor signage business. It goes hand in hand with a comprehensive technology investment strategy that will see almost every division get upgrades.

    However according to Brigstock, the new investment will not result in extra capacity. “We’re not looking to increase capacity. We have sufficient capacity now. The whole industry has enough capacity,” he said.

    Among the items due for upgrading will be a major offset press, possibly for the old McPherson business in Maryborough. It follows an intense installation period for new high-speed colour inkjet that has transformed its digital offering.

    Thanks to its new financial situation, Opus Group is now looking at a combination of organic growth as well as mergers and acquisitions to expand. According to Celarc, while the synergy with Hong Kong-based 1010 is already delivering extra services for customers, the company is on the lookout for suitable takeover targets.

    Richard Celarc, executive chairman

    “The connection with 1010 has given us extra business and allows us to enhance the offering to our customers, with a mix of local and offshore production,” he said. “It is rewarding to see the benefits now flowing from the hard work all of our team have put into our plan. We are now ‘back’ and fully focused on the future. There is much to be done however and we are all focused on what is required to ensure our results can be maintained.

    “We have returned, as promised, to a much more hands on approach, which is a proven formula in many ways and how we used to operate before our public listing. Our businesses have a great niche and are leaders in their field and we will continue to support each business to drive value and growth.”

    The falling Australian dollar is also helping Opus bring book printing back to Australia from overseas. However Brigstock cautions that the revival , while satisfying, is still a work in progress.

    “Our June 2015 half-year result highlights that the financial restructuring has progressed according to plan. Operations wise, it is still a work in progress as we face the challenges of margin erosion and rising costs of material brought about by the depreciation of the Australian dollar which in most cases, were not able to be passed onto customers.

    “However, we’re is optimistic of the future prospects of the Group. Each of our businesses has strong underlying fundamentals, which with the Group free of the shackles of a high debt load and having completed an operational restructuring, have started to produce benefits for customers and shareholders.

    “We will take advantage of our debt-free status, not only in terms of focus to deliver results, but also to further drive value to our customers. We will increasingly be a Group that delivers high quality services faster, that drives greater efficiency in our processes and will share these benefits with our customers.”

  • Pact posts strong result, flags more acquisitions

    'Committed to growth': Brian Cridland, CEO Pact

    Australia’s biggest plastic packaging manufacturer Pact reported a profit of $67.63 million for the year to June 30, up more than 17% on the previous year. Revenue grew by 9.3% to $1,249 million, underpinned by new sales from acquisitions and favourable currency movements in Pact International.

    Pact Australia reported sales revenue of $890 million, up 8.2% on FY14, and EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) of $86 million, up 5.0%, driven by the contribution from the Sulo business and ongoing efficiency improvements, which were negated by the higher post IPO costs. The company listed on the ASX in December 2013.

    Pact International also reported both growth in sales revenue and growth in EBIT. Sales revenue increased 12.1% to $359 million, assisted by an increased contribution from Sulo New Zealand, the Asian businesses acquired at the time of IPO and favourable currency movements.

    In an ASX statement, Pact said the establishment of a joint venture in Thailand (with Weener Plastics) and construction of the new facility in Indonesia to support multinational customers businesses in Asia, were both expected to deliver benefits next year:

    Through the year Pact acquired Sulo and four smaller bolt-on businesses, providing access to new markets and greater diversity within its customer base. The Sulo business, acquired in August 2014, has been performing above expectations. The remaining acquisitions were mostly completed towards the end of the financial year, with benefits to be delivered in FY2016.

    In June, Pact announced the $80 million acquisition of Jalco, a contract manufacturing business with operations in New South Wales. The deal is expected to be completed on 1 September 2015.

    “Pact continues to build on its very long history of successfully acquiring and integrating businesses to deliver growth in earnings,” said Brian Cridland, Pact MD and CEO. “These acquisitions have and will broaden our business into new markets, increasing the scale and diversity of our business and opening up growth opportunities for the future. We remain committed to our strategy which is to focus on resilience, innovation and growth. The Board and management continue to assess a range of M&A opportunities focussing on adjacencies, geographical expansion, and acquisitions that will bring about transformational change and deliver long-term shareholder value and returns.”

    Pact will pay a final dividend of 10c per share, 6.5c of which will be franked. Combined with an interim unfranked dividend of 9.5c, Pact’s total dividend comes to 19.5c per share.

  • PMP doubles profit despite revenue slump

    Australasia’s leading printer PMP says its resurgent catalogue business has driven ‘a major uplift in profit after several years of unsatisfactory performance.’

    The region’s biggest print company announced a 134% increase in profit to $8 million for financial year 2015 – compared to $3.4 million in the prior corresponding period – and has declared a dividend to shareholders.

    However, revenue was down 9.7% – or $87.5 million – to $811.7 million, with $38 million of the loss attributed to lower volumes at distribution unit Gordon and Gotch. A statement to the ASX said sales in the core Australian business were down $49 million or 8.7%, with $30 million due to a print customer buying their own paper, the exit from the Directories business and the company not pursuing low margin print contracts. Underlying sales were down $19 million or 3.4% partly due to lower customer frequency and an insolvent distribution customer.

    'Another solid result': Peter George, CEO, PMP

    “The company has delivered another solid result, ahead of guidance,” said PMP CEO Peter George. “It was pleasing to see the company more than doubled net profit compared to last year, albeit off a low base. Net debt has been reduced by 68% over the last 12 months and is at a new all-time low, a clear indication of our cash generating capability.

    “The printing and distribution of catalogues in both Australia and New Zealand accounts for the majority of PMP’s earnings. Catalogues continue to be a key marketing channel and effective media for driving sales for retailers and remains the company’s core activity.

    “We are continuing to focus on building a more profitable and sustainable PMP by focusing on the company’s core expertise in print and distribution. We offer a compelling competitive advantage to our customers through our unique nationwide bundled printing and distribution solution. An increasing number of our large customers are taking up this offering as it provides increased speed to market and lower overall costs.”

    George said the company had now largely completed the major transformation programme that started in 2012. “The first two of our three strategic priorities – cost base reduction and financial risk minimisation – have been delivered, and the third is ongoing. Our balance sheet has been substantially improved with net debt at June 2015 reduced to $16.3 million. PMP is on track to be net debt free in fiscal 2016, in accordance with our three year goal.”

  • 5 ways digital printing can change your business – and your life

    James Cryer reckons it’s too easy for printers to get bogged down in technical arguments about digital printing, such as dye-sublimation v’s toner, or whether a thermal inkjet heads are preferable to piezo. He argues we should focus on what digital technology can do for us.

    Our industry, like all bricks-and-mortar industries that were built on the back of the Industrial Revolution, valued manufacturing excellence and technical prowess over everything else. We built bigger and better machines, with quaint names like Heidelberg and Komori, to produce printed matter ever faster and more efficiently. The drive was for lower costs through production efficiency. Longer runs were the order of the day to help drive down the cost base, which kept persistently defying gravity. The answer was always obvious – rush out and buy another press and that surely will drive down costs.

    Terms like economies of scale were bandied around and the notion that big is beautiful had a seductive attraction as some firms embarked on take-over strategies to form print mega-centres where the magic of larger volumes and a more efficient workflow would surely achieve those elusive profits that had so far eluded smaller operations.

    Underlying all of this, too, was the notion of specialisation. However, we may have become too specialised in our quest for production efficiency. We forgot that most customers have a vast spectrum of print requirements, if only we stop to look around us. BJ Ball’s latest GSM magazine lists 14 printed items at view in a typical room, and that’s only the soft furnishings and promotional products, without even starting to include traditional printed items like books, stationary or magazines.

    When we talk about digital printing we usually refer to the method of production, and in so doing we overlook its real benefit, which is to view it as a marketing tool, rather than a production device. If digitisation teaches us one thing, it’s that if you want to increase your turnover DON’T increase your plant size, just embark on more outsourcing!

    I attended a seminar by HP where they referred to the digital landscape. But if we redefine it more broadly as the printing landscape, I suspect the pendulum is swinging back to small is beautiful as trumpeted by the economist, EF Schumacher back in 1973. There are now small, no tiny, micro-businesses springing up, all occupying little niches in the digital landscape and craving to be used as outsourcing partners. Why? Because you, as well-established printing companies, have the sales force which they don’t! I visited one recently – Sublitech in Sydney’s inner-west which has just won a contract to print football jerseys for the NRL in the USA. Why? Because it can deliver consistent colour, where Chinese suppliers can’t!

    Which brings me to, the five, never-before revealed, benefits of digital printing. They have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with relationship-building!

    1. Digital printing allows you to partner with your client earlier-on in the creative process and then work with them across a broader range of print collateral. Not only that, it allows you to have more points-of-contact with your clients, thus making it more difficult for them to source work elsewhere! Offset, on the other hand, is a narrow-spectrum process , although calling it a ‘one-trick pony’ is a bit harsh.

    2. Digital printing allows you to collaborate with a wide array of suppliers, like our friend who prints on fabrics. He’d love to hear from you! You’re in the box seat in that it’s your rep, calling on your clients. But your rep can say ‘yes’ more often if they just look around the room and grab as many print opportunities as they can. It doesn’t matter whether you print it or outsource it, you can make money on it!

    3. Digital printing encourages us to venture into other sectors that we just can’t do with an offset press. We can now venture into packaging, or point-of-sale, or display or signage  – especially with the new breed of Scitex equipment – or even direct marketing. We have stayed in our traditional silos too long. It’s time to demolish these artificial barriers!

    4. On that point, colour-management is increasingly becoming the defining difference in determining which printer clients deal with. As more and more print is being ordered as part of a larger campaign, often involving non-printed media and more frequently by intermediaries such as agencies, designers or print managers, the decider is no longer quality. It’s all about ease of doing business and often it’s easier to share prepress or colour-management software with the client, where they can actually control the printed output. This can only be done when the print device is digital, rather than analogue (i.e., an offset press).

    5. Digital printing enables you to encourage, not discourage, your clients to order more frequent but smaller quantities. Test-marketing and improved speed to market are benefits digitisation can deliver.  I know it tips conventional wisdom on its head, but there’s a global trend towards smaller runs with more versions – think direct marketing.

    So get used to the changing topography. The trend is towards a more fragmented landscape consisting of smaller, more specialised niche players, all of whom crave to be remembered next time your sales rep calls on your existing clients.

    Remember: if you SELL it, you don’t have to MAKE it.

    So next time you look at a digital device, you’re not looking at a lump of metal – you’re looking at new ways of doing business! That’s the digital message.’


    James Cryer is principal of JDA Print Recruitment. An industry veteran he welcomes feedback on any of the thoughts and suggestions in his columns. <>


  • Visual Impact a hit with exhibitors

    More than 60 of the industry’s leading players have signed up to showcase their latest technologies at next month’s Visual Impact and inaugural Exhibitions Expo in Melbourne.

    Peter Harper, Visual Connections

    “We are absolutely delighted with the calibre of names on our exhibitor list and believe it will be a very important event for anyone who is seeking the best information, ideas and innovative technologies,” said Peter Harper, general manager, trade shows, for Visual Connections – the new suppliers’ association which is hosting Visual Impact and Exhibitions Expo.

    Visual Impact stands will feature latest technology, systems and materials from companies such as Australian Visual Solutions, Canon, Graphic Art Mart, Jetmark, Mimaki, Multicam Systems, Neopost, Roland DG and Trotec, alongside displays from a range of suppliers covering most aspects of the industry, including ADI Displays, Alfex, Australian Laminating Company, beMatrix, Celmac, DES, Display Systems Australia, Epson, Impression Technology, Tommotek and Willenco.

    Free ‘Windows, Walls and Floors’ workshops will show how to apply the range of window, wall and floor films available from Avery Dennison, Arlon and Aslan, and free vehicle wrapping workshops will be available from Avery Dennison and Graphic Art Mart (pre-bookings must be made – email

    A seminar program will feature experts on topics ranging from building engagement, developing your team and managing change, to building successful social media campaigns, sponsorship management programs and exhibitions.

    Visual Impact 2015 is co-locating with the inaugural Exhibitions Expo – the new expo for trade show products and events – which will include latest offerings from names like ADI Displays, beMatrix, Display Systems Australia, Exponet, LED Works, Showgizmo, Showtime Events, SAS Signage Accessories and Visionary Digital.

    Hundreds of sign, display, wide format print and exhibition professionals have already placed a vote of confidence in the shows by pre-registering online, said Harper.

    “To continue to prosper and grow your business in an increasingly competitive market, industry professionals need to stay ahead of the game and that’s where events like Visual Impact and Exhibitions Expo can play such an important role,” Harper said. “With a strong track record gained over more than 25 years of delivering the ideas, solutions and technology that businesses need to build success, Visual Impact is looking better than ever in 2015, both in terms of exhibitor numbers and expected visitor turnout, and this year it will be complemented by the co-location of the new Exhibitions Expo.”

    Visual Impact and Exhibitions Expo will run from 10am to 5pm on Thursday, September 17 and Friday, September 18, and from 10am until 4pm on Saturday, September 19, at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

    Visitors are encouraged to pre-register online for the shows to ensure entry into prize draws to win trips to Florida or Fiji. To find out more, or to register for Visual Impact or Exhibitions Expo, go to




  • The Recyclability of Everything

    We have been much occupied of late with a project to ensure that printed matter can be effectively recycled. It has to be said that standards work, and this work in particular, can be tedious beyond words. Other so very much more tempting options beckon. There’s the temptation to straighten ones speaker wires or rearrange the cutlery draw in age order, to name but two. It requires a will of iron to resist such urges.

    Laurel Brunner

    We are not alone in working on documents that are an aid to recycling, though we may be alone in finding this work so deeply uncompelling. The only hope is that awareness of the value of recycling is rising around the world, not least because one man’s (or woman’s) waste is another man’s (or woman’s), raw material. Within printing we have all manner of juicy controversy surrounding the deinkability of digitally printed matter which influences its recyclability. This basically comes down to the fact that if the print isn’t deinked using modern deinking technology, it might pollute the pulp used to create new papers. Obviously this is not good, but isn’t reluctance to invest in modern deinking technologies worse? The problem persists elsewhere, with other industries facing equivalent problems, which is where ISO/TR 17098:2013 comes in.

    This Technical Report (TR) is a comprehensive overview of materials and substances that can wreck or otherwise impede a recycling process. It covers the “materials, combinations of materials, or designs of packaging that may create problems in collecting and sorting before material recycling; substances or materials that have the potential to create problems in the recycling process; and the presence of substances or materials that may negatively influence the quality of the recycled material.

    The list includes materials that influence the quality of packaging products made from recyclate and for which it is unlikely that technical solutions can be expected any time soon. But there is a problem with relying on a list like this. Different regions have different recycling operations and it is virtually impossible to keep track of all technology developments everywhere. And packaging materials are very often mixed up which can make it hard to produce new packaging materials that are reliably fit for purpose.

    Sustainability depends on understanding and controlling environmental impacts, so business owners need to keep up with both international legislation and technological advances. It’s important to quantify product requirements and to design products so that their components can be recycled. In addition we need much more sophisticated and consistent sorting routines, especially across large geographies, where recycling policies can vary from town to town. Investment into such organisation will help cut negative environmental impacts and provide the basis of transparent supply chains for recycling and raw material quality control. It’s a long and slow road, and it’s work that must be done, no matter how numb and bludgeoned it leaves the little grey cells.

    – Laurel Brunner

    Verdigris supporters who make the Verdigris blog possible include: Agfa GraphicsDigital Dots,  EFI,  Fespa,  Heidelberg,  HPKodakMondiPragati OffsetRicohShimizu PrintingSplash PRUnity Publishing and Xeikon.

  • Winds of Change – Mark Fletcher joins EFI APAC

    Print technology developer EFI has appointed marketing specialist Mark Fletcher to its Asia Pacific (APAC) marketing team, beginning next week.

    Mark Fletcher, EFI APAC

    “Mark is our new associate marketing specialist based in Sydney and will be responsible primarily for all EFI Marketing in Australia and New Zealand, as well as assisting APAC outbound marketing activities,” said Bernard Sun, senior manager, marketing, EFI Asia Pacific.

    “Mark comes to us from The Mailing House where he was cross media marketing manager and in charge of all campaign development and marketing automation for The Mailing House, implementing complete multichannel marketing workflow.” Fletcher has also worked at PROGRAFICA, Konica Minolta Australia and Fuji Xerox Australia.

    “Mark’s skills and knowledge will help move our marketing activities in Australia and New Zealand to the next level,” said Sun.

  • Issue 734 – August 21 2015

    The fallout continues for PaperlinX in the wake of its ill-fated and pricey European adventure. Maybe a change of name is the line in the sand that’s required for the paper merchant to step forward into a better future.

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

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor.

  • $392m loss and name change for PaperlinX

    Paper merchant PaperlinX has reported a loss after tax of $392.3 million for the year following the collapse of its European operation.

    The company said its Spicers businesses in Australia, New Zealand and Asia (ANZA) continue to operate profitably and later this year it will seek the support of shareholders to change its corporate name from PaperlinX Limited to Spicers Limited.

    During the financial year, PaperlinX withdrew from operations in Europe and sold its Canadian business. The business in Germany continues to trade but the Company is pursuing options to divest or realise the assets of that business.

    Paperlinx CEO, Andy Preece

    In an ASX statement, the company said the failure of its European business resulted in losses and write-offs of $303.3 million:

    The statutory results include a loss after tax for discontinued operations of $(365.6) million which largely represents: 

    · The impairment and subsequent write off of the book value of the Group’s two largest European businesses, the UK and Benelux, which entered administration  following their continued poor performance, and the subsequent sales of other European businesses – $(300.3) million; and · The net loss from the divestment of Canada – $(64.6) million.

    PaperlinX blamed a serious decline in the performance of the European business in the December quarter of FY15 on  poor trading and restraint of terms by key suppliers, which triggered a critical decline in the cash and liquidity position of the UK operations and led to a sharp drop in European profitability, which in turn put pressure on Europe-wide liquidity.

    The state of the European businesses prompted the Company to commence a Strategic Review announced in December 2014. Once the full impact of the financial position of the European businesses emerged… it was imperative to protect the interests of shareholders and preserve the stability and quality of the ANZA businesses.  The businesses in the UK, Benelux and Austria were placed into administration and businesses in Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden) and Spain were sold.  Following the administration of its parent, a Dutch holding company, control of the business in the Czech Republic passed to the Trustee. PaperlinX is pursuing options to divest or realise the assets of its last remaining European business in Germany.

    The Company reported an underlying profit for the ANZA businesses of $14.7 million, compared with $15.3 million in the prior corresponding period.

    The Spicers merchant businesses in the ANZA region generated sustainable returns in difficult trading conditions within an industry in structural decline. While revenue was down 5 per cent due to Commercial Print, gross revenue from the diversified segment increased by 33 per cent in FY15. This reflects the strong performance and further potential in the Sign & Display segment, which was supported by the recent acquisition of a leading sign industry supplier in New Zealand.

    PaperlinX said it would focus on ensuring that its Spicers businesses continue to develop and deliver sustainable profitability.

    “Our ANZA businesses have been adapting to changing circumstances for a number of years, making the necessary, hard decisions along the way to right-size costs and invest in new areas like Sign & Display,” said Andy Preece, PaperlinX Managing Director & CEO. “These businesses are now in good shape and provide a solid foundation for the Group to recover its momentum and pursue prudent opportunities to further diversify and grow.”

    The net assets of the Group as at 30 June 2015 were $128.7 million, including net cash of $43.0 million.