Archive for December, 2017

  • Signing off for Christmas. Issue 973 – December 21, 2017.

    It’s been a  huge year for the printing industry across Australia, New Zealand and indeed the entire globe. If ever we needed a reminder of how we’re engaged in a dynamic and changing industry, 2017 made it extra clear. To refresh your memory, Graham Osborne, online editor, has put together a marvellous almanac of the events and personalities that shaped the year. It’s well worth a good scroll through before you close down for the summer break.

    This is our final news bulletin for the year. We’ll be back on deck with the first issue of the New Year on January 10, 2018. Until then, on behalf of all of us at Print21, I wish you a happy, enjoyable and safe Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.

    Welcome to you latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service to the printing industry across Australia and New Zealand.

    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor


  • 2017: The year in printing

    Franklin Web’s catalogue plant at Sunshine, Melbourne.

    12 Jan 2017: IVE grabs lucrative Coles catalogue contract
    IVE Group fired the opening salvo in what could be a catalogue war by swiping from rival IPMG the multi-million-dollar contract to print Coles Supermarkets’ monthly catalogue.

    19 Jan 2017: ‘Overwhelming’ billboard campaign
    An online campaign to reinstate an Australia Day billboard featuring two Muslim girls that was removed after threats has raised more than $150,000. “We are now setting our sights on full page ads around Australia on Australia Day and on many, many billboards over the next week,” said Dee Madigan of Campaign Edge.

    (l-r) Trump inauguration, 2017; Obama inauguration, 2009.

    24 Jan 2017: A fight for press freedom – McCourt’s ReVerb
    Forcing myself to listen to President Trump’s inauguration address, I remained nonplussed until I heard: “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly …” Huh? Just a few days before, we had all heard Trump refuse a reporter from a major network the right to even ask a question.

    24 Jan 2017: PIAA slams latest postal price hikes
    Printing Industries said the latest round of Australia Post price increases on plastic wrapped articles – i.e. magazines and catalogues – was unacceptable and unfairly targets commercial mailing businesses.

    1 Feb 2017:

    PIAA backs PMP/IPMG merger

    8 Feb 2017: AusPost defends 5.6 Million Dollar Man
    Australia Post lost its bid to keep secret the $5.6 million salary paid to its managing director Ahmed Fahour.

    10 Feb 2017: 

    Industry turns out to farewell Steve Dunwell

    17 Feb 2017: 

    From five to two: Big end of town gets bigger

    22 Feb 2017:

    Landa – delivery of 1st nano presses

    24 Feb 2017: 

    Fahour quits, industry ‘delighted’

    1 Mar 2017: 

    $multi-million super print site set for Sydney

    2 Mar 2017: Grassroots pushback against ‘unfair’ paper fees
    Angry customers launched a petition calling for an end to charges imposed by banks, telcos and other service providers on those who choose to receive paper bills.

    7 Mar 2017: 

    Hannans take pole print position after merger

    8 Mar 2017: 300 jobs: the human cost of merger
    Three hundred print workers in NSW, Victoria and Queensland will reportedly lose their jobs in the PMP/IPMG merger deal, according to the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union (AMWU).

    15 Mar 2017: Equity giant swoops on Staples, OfficeMax
    US private equity firm Platinum Equity has agreed to buy the Australian division of office products business Staples and is now sizing up OfficeMax, which would give the California-based investment company two of the three major office supply chains in Australia.

    22 Mar 2017: Walking away: the hardest decision
    Print veteran Peter Hutchinson’s choice to close up shop and walk away from his 37-year-old Brisbane printing business Colony Printing was the hardest decision because it was his life, according to his son, Paul.

    30 Mar 2017: 

    Let the sunshine in: Perth printers

    5 April 2017: 

    Time for ‘radical’ new print training model

    5 April 2017:

    LIA gets close up with the latest addition to Sydney’s printing arsenal at Centrum Printing.

    6 April 2017: Here comes the next revolution in print: Landa rolls out 1st nano presses in 2017
    The first three of Landa’s groundbreaking S10 Nanographic Printing Presses will go into beta sites around the world later this year. “I am thrilled that after many years of development, we are now reaching the milestone of delivering our first Landa Nanographic Printing Presses to customers,” said Landa chairman, Benny Landa.

    7 April 2017

    Consolidation is the new norm: Rasmussen

    12 April 2017:

    Japanese pulp & paper giant buys controlling interest in BJ Ball and KW Doggett

    21 April 2017: Paper dumpers must pay duty on imports
    Australia’s only office paper manufacturer, Australian Paper, welcomed the government’s decision to impose dumping duties on A4 copy paper exported from Brazil, China, Indonesia and Thailand, and has called on government departments to stop buying the dumped paper.

    2 May 2017:

    Battle of digital processes looms at PacPrint – Andy McCourt’s ReVerb

    2 May 2017: 

    Preserve our print heritage: James Cryer

    3 May 2017: 

    “Stoked!” A wedding anniversary at PacPrint

    10 May 2017:

    Mel Ireland becomes first woman to lead LIA

    19 May 2017:

    It’s off: APN and oOh!Media abandon $1.6bn merger after ACCC concerns

    26 May 2017:

    Currie leads the way with $7m sales at PacPrint

    9 June 2017: Bragg forced to auction after vacate order
    Bragg Printing was forced to auction off machinery and finishing equipment after finally reaching a compromise with the NSW government over the compulsory acquisition of its inner-city printing factory as part of the Sydney Metro rail project.

    14 June 2017:

    Fuji Xerox AU linked to $450m Fujifilm scandal

    16 June 2017: 

    Breakthrough in Spicers deadlock

    28 June 2017:

    Whittaker paid $1m to exit Fuji Xerox: report

    30 June 2017: 

    Warning on ACM Panels – McCourt’s ReVerb

    5 July 2017:

    Melbourne printers take control of Waratah

    7 July 2017: Mike Minahan bows out – sells to Finsbury Green
    South Australian-based printer and print management company Finsbury Green acquired Adelaide commercial print business Digiwedoo following the retirement of owner Mike Minahan.

    12 July 2017:

    Power prices threaten print businesses: PIAA

    12 July 2017:

    AusPost made letters business ‘look worse’: report

    4 Aug 2017: Packager Hannapak sold for $75 million
    US packaging giant WestRock paid $A75 million ($US60m) in cash to buy Australia’s largest privately-owned packaging manufacturer, Hannapak.

    9 Aug 2017:

    Fuji Xerox tightens control at FX Australia

    17 Aug 2017:

    It’s official: Packaging Council joins PIAA

    23 Aug 2017: Rawson Print buys Burwood Press
    Sydney printing company Rawson Print acquired commercial printer and packaging specialist Burwood Press, based at Yagoona in Sydney’s south-west, with an eye on the packaging market.

    25 Aug 2017:

    Fuji Xerox wins giant same-sex vote print job

    25 Aug 2017:

    Towards a blue chip printing company

    1 Sept 2017:

    Massive boost for Sydney catalogue capacity

    6 Sept 2017: US private equity duo voted onto Spicers board
    Shareholders voted to remove Spicers finance director Wayne Johnston and have elected six new directors to the board including Vlad Artamonov and Todd Plutsky, the managing partners of New York private equity firm Coastal Capital.

    13 Sept 2017: Pro-Pac signs $177m merger with IPG
    ASX-listed Pro-Pac Packaging, chaired by former Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour, has announced a $177.5 million merger deal with flexible packager Integrated Packaging Group (IPG).

    26 Sept 2017:

    ‘Old’ Dave Marshall, 59, fights Fujifilm sacking

    18 Oct 2017:

    Whirlwind storms into Sydney

    20 Oct 2017: Fuji Xerox targets Whittaker in High Court case
    Neil Whittaker, the former high-profile MD of Fuji Xerox NZ (FXNZ) and Fuji Xerox Australia (FXA), was named in court documents as one of two defendants in a civil case launched by Fuji Xerox New Zealand following a $450 million accounting scandal.

    26 Oct 2017: 

    FPLMA wraps up forum with awards dinner

    1 Nov 2017: Apprenticeship system in ‘crisis’: PIAA
    Printing Industries’ CEO Andrew Macaulay called for a new national apprenticeship system to combat a disturbing collapse in apprenticeship numbers in recent years.

    3 Nov 2017:

    Aust Post CEO reaches out to whistle blower

    7 Nov 2017: 

    Caminiti again crowned King of Wrap

    8 Nov 2017:

    Presses roll at IVE’s Franklin WEB NSW

    17 Nov 2017:

    Blue Star buys Dominion Print

    22 Nov 2017: PMP shares crash on earnings downgrade
    Shares in the region’s largest printing company fell by more than 31% in one day after PMP warned that higher volumes of short run work had contributed to a $20m downgrade in profit forecasts.

    22 Nov 2017: 

    Government considering paper bill fee ban

    23 Nov 2017: 

    Lockley retires from Fairfax Media

    24 Nov 2017:

    ‘Just too tough’: Western Graphics shuts down

    29 Nov 2017: Printer slashes power bills with solar panels
    Commercial printer WHO Printing has reduced its electricity bills by 50 percent after installing more than 300 solar panels on the roof of its factory at Newcastle, NSW.

    6 Dec 2017:

    Amazon launches with printers, paper, ink…

    8 Dec 2017:

    World-1st cover on Print21 summer issue

    13 Dec 2017: SafeWork inspects mixer blade in fatal accident
    The NSW workplace safety regulator has called in engineering experts to examine an ink mixer blade after an accident at the DIC Australia factory in Sydney that left one man dead and two injured.

    15 Dec 2017: 

    Selling off the farm: ‘diabolical’ power bills after global giant buys Australian energy assets

    20 Dec 2017: 

    Paper buyers lose control of prices



  • Issue 972 – December 20, 2017

    2018 promises to be a radically different year for the printing industry, if for no other reason than the massive hikes on the way in the price of paper. Industry guru Tim Woods of Pulp & Paper Edge says an industry watershed has arrived for paper prices.


    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service for the printing industry in Australia and New Zealand.


    Patrick Howard
    Publishing Editor

  • Paper buyers lose control of prices

    Some local paper merchants have been caught flatfooted by the rapidity and scale of pulp and paper price rises around the world with some having to play catch up next year issuing three, four and five price rises.

    Tim Woods, Pulp & Paper Edge.

    The unprecedented surge in pulp and paper prices will turn the printing industry upside down with long-standing expectations of continuous lowering prices consigned to the dustbin of history. According to Tim Woods at Pulp & Paper Edge, an industry watershed has arrived for paper prices.

    In the latest issue of the industry bible, he reports that in China, the largest pulp market, chemical pulp prices for softwood have risen in 2017 by 48% with hardwood closely following at 38%. Globally pulp prices have already exceeded previous peaks.

    Adding to the pulp prices are rapidly escalating shipping and chemical price hikes. In addition China is taking out of production many environmentally disastrous small pulp factories further reducing the amount of pulp available.

    Paper mills are in many cases now receiving significantly higher prices for printing and communication papers in China than in the Australian and New Zealand market. Woods makes the point that as a very small, albeit significant market in world terms, the local region is a price taker, not a price maker.

    Australian and New Zealand printers have long benefitted from a hyper competitive local market. This has seen paper prices fall as the supply chain – manufacturers, merchants, agent and importers ­ – absorbed increases, especially in CWF grades, over the past three to four years, even as inputs have steadily risen.

    In the face of the impending perfect storm, this can no longer be the case. All major merchants are already jacking up their prices with most indicating there’ll be more to come next year.

    This means printers have to adjust to a new and novel environment. Volumes may already be under pressure but paper prices will rise to the extent that they simply cannot be absorbed without the risk of going broke. Everyone, printers, mills and paper merchants alike are going to have to get used to asking for higher prices from their customers in 2018.



  • Electrical safety notices issued at DIC

    Workplace safety regulator SafeWork NSW has issued a number of notices in relation to electrical safety and work systems as it continues its investigation into a fatal accident at DIC Australia in Sydney that left one man dead and two injured.

    The three male workers became trapped in a mixing tank at the DIC ink manufacturing plant on Chisholm Road, Auburn, on Thursday 7 December. Contractor Craig Tanner, 42, a father of three from Engadine in Sydney’s south, died despite rescue efforts by emergency workers.

    “Inspectors from SafeWork’s engineering team have inspected the mixer in an effort to determine the cause of the incident,” said SafeWork NSW in a statement.

    “Initial inquiries indicate the mixer activated while two workers were undertaking maintenance on the tank. A third worker, aged 28 is reported to have gone to their assistance and been injured.

    “A 29-year-old worker that was undertaking maintenance on the tank was freed by emergency services while the other worker, aged 42, was trapped by the mixer’s blade and passed away from injuries he sustained.

    “SafeWork NSW has issued a number of notices in relation to electrical safety and systems of work. SafeWork’s investigation remains ongoing.” The safety regulator declined to provide details about the types of notices that have been issued.  NSW Police and the AMWU are also investigating the accident. 

    DIC Australia today issued its first public statement about the incident:

    Firstly our thoughts and condolences are with Craig Tanner’s family during the extremely difficult period. DIC are profoundly sorry for this tragic loss of life. DIC’s policy in regards to Confined Space Entry, is simply we do not do it. We sub contract that activity out. DIC are working closely with Safe Work, the Police and the AMWU as investigations continue to determine the exact cause of the accident.  At this stage the precise circumstances are unknown. DIC are fully cooperating with Safe Work to address any risks that may be identified, and will act to rectify immediately.

    Friends have launched an online fundraiser to help Tanner’s wife and their three young children. As of Wednesday morning, the Tanner Family Foundation had raised more than $68,000.

  • Australia Post invests $3m in solar panels

    Australia Post’s Sydney Parcel Facility at Chullora.

    Australia Post has installed the country’s largest single rooftop solar power installation at the Sydney Parcel Facility in Chullora.

    The $3 million project spans over 11,000 square meters and is set to save over $800,000 in energy costs a year.

    ‘A strong example of our commitment’: Janelle Hopkins, CFO Australia Post.

    Covering the equivalent area of nine Olympic swimming pools, the 2.1MW installation will save 2,200 tonnes of carbon emissions from the environment every year, the same as taking 468 cars off the road.

    Australia Post Group chief financial officer, Janelle Hopkins, says the solar panels will directly power the country’s busiest parcel sorting centre.

    “The solar power installation will reduce our operational costs, enabling us to invest more in the products and services our customers want from Australia Post.

    “This installation is the 49th solar-equipped site within Australia Post’s network, which combined will generate 5,000MWh of renewable electricity every year – enough to power over 820,000 homes.

    “Our investments in improving energy and cost efficiency of our buildings have already saved us $40 million. This project is a strong example of our commitment towards leading with environmentally sustainable business outcomes,” Ms Hopkins said.

    The installation was completed last month and the solar panels are set to go live by the end of the year.



  • Kmart spreads the love for digital labels

    Kmart will use desktop digital label printers powered by HP technology to produce personalised labels for Vegemite and Nutella jars over Christmas this year, with the aim of promoting its bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

    Available exclusively for in-store purchases, the Vegemite ‘name your jar’ products, as well as personalised Nutella jars, will feature labels printed on the Afinia Label L301 Industrial Colour Label Printer (pictured below), more than 200 of which were purchased from Rawson Print Co for the campaigns. The L301 employs HP’s Scanning Imager 850 OEM technology, described by HP as an affordable print mechanism offering a small footprint, excellent print speed, and ease of use with snap-in, snap-out insertion and removal of ink cartridges.

    The fast and high-quality HP Thermal Inkjet technology delivered by HP Specialty Printing Systems solutions offers brands the flexibility and freedom to deliver personalised labels on-demand, anywhere they need them, HP said in a statement.

    Jason Beckley, HP.

    Kmart will use these promotions, and similar campaigns in the future, to entice customers into its bricks-and-mortar stores and away from online shopping. “As brands continue to look for ways to connect with their audiences, we are seeing a growing trend of mass personalised packaging, including desktop label printing campaigns in stores,” said Jason Beckley, business development manager for Indigo, HP South Pacific. “HP is powering the trend with flexible and affordable in-store printing solutions that make it possible to offer an individual, memorable experience for its customers.”


  • High Court rejects Fairfax/NZME appeal

    NZME headquarters in Auckland.

    The NZ High Court has upheld a decision by the Commerce Commission to block a proposed merger of the country’s two leading newspaper publishers, NZME and Fairfax New Zealand.

    In May, the corporate regulator ruled against the merger saying it would “concentrate media ownership and influence to an unprecedented extent for a well-established modern liberal democracy.”

    In its decision today, the High Court said: “We agree with the Commission that a substantial loss of media plurality would be virtually irreplaceable.”  The court also dismissed criticisms by Fairfax NZ and NZME about the process adopted by the Commission, and ruled that the Commission was entitled to costs.

    The two companies are now considering whether to appeal the ruling.

    Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood said: “The High Court’s decision is disappointing. We will review the court’s full judgment in detail when it is available.

    “While the merger brought synergies that would have sustained journalism at scale in New Zealand for many years, our New Zealand business has continued to implement its own strategy and shape a separate future. I would like to thank all our people for working so rigorously and effectively through a lengthy period of uncertainty.”

    NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said the company was reviewing the judgment, including the option to appeal.

    Boggs said he was disappointed with the decision because NZME believed the merger was in the best interests of both shareholders and the industry as a whole. “It would have improved the efficiency of news and entertainment content generation and distribution to New Zealand audiences.”

    NZME’s assets include the flagship New Zealand Herald, six regional daily papers, the NZME radio network and e-commerce sites GrabOne, HeraldHomes and Fairfax NZ’s assets include, more than 60 metro, Sunday, regional and community newspapers, and a share of

    Under the proposed merger, NZME would have paid $NZ55 million ($A38m) for Fairfax’s New Zealand operations and issued new shares to allow Fairfax to hold a 41% stake in NZME.




  • New digital label presses from Screen

    For a complete end-to-end solution, the Trojan T4 includes laminating and die-cutting.

    Screen GP Australia will introduce two more ’mini’ digital label presses into Australia in 2018, under the Trojan brand name.

    As with the existing Trojan-made press sold under the Screen name – the Truepress Jet L250AQ, the new presses will also be available through Jet Technologies, Screen GP’s channel partner for narrow web digital presses.

    The Trojan T2-C is a desktop label printer that performs like a bigger machine. Using Memjet printhead technology, it runs at up to 18 metres per minute with a maximum print width of up to 223mm across a 250mm web. It can print on pre-diecut or continuous label reels, for offline finishing.

    Peter Scott, managing director of Screen GP Australia says: “The Trojan T2-C has proper web feed and take up with tensioning and yet fits any size print department due to its compact desktop footprint. Ink supply can be either by internal 250ml cartridges or, for higher productivity, external 2 litre tanks. At either 1600 x 1600dpi or 1600 x 800 dpi, the image quality is superb.”

    The other new label press is the Trojan T4, an all-in-one label press line with top class inline finishing. Print speed, resolution and width is the same as for the T2-C but the T4 is a 1200Kg floor-standing unit with very robust printing, laminating, die-cutting, slitting and rewind for an end-to-end solution.

    “It’s a mini-marvel unlike any other solution for short-run and variable versioned labels,” says Scott. “The engineering standard is first class and the die-cutter can be fully or semi-rotary and used alone to create die-cut blanks or to finish labels from another press. Best of all both the T2-C and T4 are fully supported by Screen GP’s local engineers and Jet Technologies’ expertise.

    “We now have a complete range of digital label presses from desktop 18 metres per minute to high-end UV at 60 metres per minute, which I believe is the most complete line-up of such presses available and fully supported in Australia.”

    The new Trojan T2-C from Screen GP and Jet Technologies.

  • EU to tighten plastic packaging rules

    Since drupa 2016 and even prior to that show, there has been a lot of interest in packaging printing. Several manufacturers have introduced digital presses for this application, most notable EFI and HP. Printers can be confident that they will have solid support if they decide to get into this business. But all parties should be aware of the tightening regulatory framework and in Europe this means the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).

    The PPWD has recently been reviewed and it is likely that the 22.5% recycling target for plastic packaging will be increased when the EU publishes its update. The increase is part of the EU’s drive towards green development and circular economies. We can only expect these targets to get more restrictive over time.

    More than any other print application, design matters for packaging. Graphic designers not only have to think about colours and content placement, but they must also take into account functionality, the nature of the package contents and how the packaged goods will be transported. Designers also need to think about their choice of inks and substrates and how well the materials can be expected to perform at extremes of temperature and pressure. For graphic designers to also factor in regulatory compliance, recycling and environmental impact makes packaging design even more of a challenge.

    The European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW), the European Association of Plastic Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO), Petcore Europe, Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) and the European non-alcoholic beverages association (UNESDA) are trying to help. They obviously want to encourage responsible use of plastics and to ensure that packaging materials comply with the PPWD. Together they have come up with the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) which consists of a group of technical experts operating across Europe. The experts evaluate new technologies and use proprietary test procedures to assess impacts on PET recycling processes. The tests confirm whether or not a PET bottle can be recycled without causing any difficulties, such as discoloration, during the recycling process. The platform can also be used to measure the environmental impact other forms of packaging, particularly those involving recycled PET materials.

    The EPBP also supports packaging designers who need to design for PET so that it can be recycled. They must for instance consider the use of additives and barrier materials, and the recyclability of label substrates and ink deinkability. The EPBP has developed guidelines (see for how to design the body, cap and label of a bottle, according to average expectations for recycling. Given that plastic bottles are such a widespread source of pollution, this can only be a positive step and one that could soon apply to other forms of packaging such as films and flexibles.

    – Laurel Brunner

    This article was produced by the Verdigris project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.


  • Issue 971 – December 15, 2017

    At a time when the issue of power prices is front and centre for the printing industry (and for Printing Industries), it’s good to know that old-fashioned people power can still win the day. After Melbourne’s Fishprint contacted Print21 with a story on yet another hike in its power bill, energy provider United Energy moved the printer onto a ‘more favourable’ tariff. Here’s hoping that not only provides some relief to Fishprint, but encourages other printers to look for a better energy deal over this busy holiday season.

    Welcome to your latest issue of Print21, the premier news and information service for the printing industry in Australia and New Zealand.

    Jake Nelson
    Editor – Labels and Industrial Print

  • Selling off the farm: ‘diabolical’ power bills after global giant buys Australian energy assets

    Fishprint at Brighton East, Melbourne

    Peter Booth, director of Melbourne’s Fishprint, recently invested $1.4 million in a new low-energy offset press in a bid to cut soaring electricity charges. But despite managing to reduce its power usage by one third, the business has been hit by yet another substantial increase in its power bill.

    ‘It’s all smoke and mirrors’: Peter Booth, director Fishprint.

    “It’s diabolical really because we’re doing all we can to cut power consumption,” says Booth. “We’ve reduced our energy use by a third, from 3,000kwh to 2,000kwh a month, but this latest bill is $1400 – $150 higher than the previous one and $600 more than we calculated we’d be paying. And that’s just for one of our two factories. I’m still waiting for the bill for the other one, which uses a bit more power. We’re looking at paying $2,400 a year more for that.”

    Booth contacted his local power company, Momentum Energy, a retailer owned by Hydro Tasmania, and was told the increased charges were the result of a new summer surcharge being passed on from Victorian electricity network United Energy, part of the Duet Group.

    In April 2017, Duet was acquired in a $7.4 billion takeover by Hong Kong-based global infrastructure giant Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI), after Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said he had no objection to the deal and it was cleared by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

    Li Ka-Shing, chairman CK Asset Holdings.

    In the same month, CKI announced that Paul Tighe, the former Australian Consul-General to Hong Kong, would be joining the company as a non-executive director on HK$75,000 per year. ANZ Banking Group is listed as one of CKI’s principal bankers.

    The company – led by Hong Kong’s richest man, billionaire Li Ka-Shing, and with its registered office located in popular tax haven Bermuda –  has steadily increased its Australian assets over recent years, paying $2.4 billion in 2014 for Envesta, which distributes gas through Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Li-controlled companies also own stakes in SA Power Networks, Powercor Australia, Australian Gas Networks and CitiPower.

    In its interim 2017 report to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in July, CKI said the value of the DUET business was approximately A$13 billion.

    During the period under review, CKI made a milestone investment with the acquisition of DUET. DUET is an owner and operator of energy utility assets which are mostly located in Australia. Its businesses comprise regulated network businesses, contracted gas pipelines, and power generation projects.

    The enterprise value of the business is approximately A$13 billion. CKI now owns a 40% stake in the business, with associate companies of the CK Group – Cheung Kong Property Holdings Limited (“CKPH”) and Power Assets Holdings Limited (“Power Assets”) – holding 40% and 20% respectively. This acquisition is the largest acquisition ever made by CKI.

    The DUET transaction successfully addressed concerns of the Australian Government, paving the way for further investment opportunities in Australia for the Group. 

    CKI is one of the biggest overseas infrastructure investors in Australia. It has investments in electricity and gas distribution, gas transmission pipelines, electricity generation, as well as renewable energy power transmission businesses in Australia. CKI owns SA Power Networks, a primary electricity distribution business for the state of South Australia; CitiPower, a company that supplies electricity to Melbourne’s CBD and inner suburbs; Powercor, Victoria’s largest electricity distributor; United Energy, a company that supplies electricity in Victoria; Australian Energy Operations, a renewable energy power transmission business in Victoria; and Australian Gas Networks Limited, one of Australia’s largest natural gas distribution companies; Multinet Gas, a gas distribution company in Victoria; Dampier Bunbury Pipeline, a gas transmission pipeline connecting the Carnarvon/Browse Basins with Perth; and Energy Developments, a provider of low greenhouse gas emissions energy solutions.

    ‘Against the national interest’: Treasurer Scott Morrison, 2016.

    CKI signed the deal for Duet in April, nine months after it was prevented from buying NSW-based Ausgrid because of national security concerns.

    Treasurer Morrison said at that time it would be ‘against the national interest’ to allow CKI and the State Grid of China to acquire half of Ausgrid, which supplies power to 1.6 million NSW businesses and households. 

    According to The Age, the State Grid of China already controls electricity distribution in north-western Melbourne and, along with Singapore Power, owns Victoria’s network of poles and wires, as well as electricity distribution in eastern Victoria, and gas distribution in western Melbourne and regional Victoria.

    “How can the federal government let them do this?” says Booth. “It’s all smoke and mirrors. My first thought upon seeing the bill was: this must be a mistake. We have a strong sustainability focus, we recycle 98 percent of our waste, we’ve installed low energy lighting and low energy equipment, we have little or no air conditioning, we’re doing all we can to cut our power usage…it’s the final straw.

    “They call it a ‘summer’ surcharge’ but this bill included the month of November and that’s not even technically summer. I don’t understand how this surcharge works, how long it goes on for, where the money’s going and why it’s been charged to us.

    “What about the bloke up the road who hasn’t managed to cut his usage? It’s no wonder we’re hearing stories of printers being forced to cut staff numbers because they can’t afford their power bills.”

    After Print21 provided United Energy with details on Thursday morning, Momentum contacted Booth to inform him that Fishprint can be moved onto ‘a different and more favourable’ tariff.

    “They told me there is normally a charge to this, but they will waive it,” says Booth. “They are working on my complaint, apparently. I think they know how bad it looks, when you reduce usage so much and your bill goes up so much. A political hot potato?”

    CK Infrastructure Holdings is a global infrastructure company with a market capitalisation of about HK$180 billion. The group has investments in energy infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, water infrastructure, waste management and energy management services in Hong Kong, mainland China, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.

    Fishprint, based in Brighton East, specialises in blue chip corporate work that includes brochures, reports newsletters, point of sale items and posters. The company employs about eight full-time staff members. In 2010, Fishprint installed Australia’s first waterless KBA Genius 52UV press.

    Update: On Friday, United Energy released this statement:

    We are contacting Fishprint to discuss their concerns and what tariff options are available to them.
    United Energy has a tariff that includes demand charges for small to medium-sized businesses. Business that typically use 40-160MWh per annum are able to opt out to an alternative tariff without demand components.
    While the demand charge occurs throughout the year, it is adjusted according to the season. The summer demand charge occurs from 1 December to 31 March.
    Cost reflective charges can reduce energy demand and therefore reduce the need to build expensive infrastructure to cope with large spikes in electricity use.
    In Victoria, network charges are regulated and are approved by the Australian Energy Regulator. The Australian Energy Regulator approved these pricing structure last year.
    If business customers have any questions about their pricing, we’d encourage them to phone their retailer or us on 1300 131 689.

  • ‘Busiest Christmas ever’: Australia Post delivering two million parcels per day

    Australia Post is expecting its ‘busiest Christmas ever’, with online purchases driving a surge in parcel deliveries. The national mail carrier is delivering more than two million parcels per day, or 2700 per minute, at its peak this holiday season.

    However, don’t expect any news on the state of commercial and personal mail this season. Amazingly, a spokesperson told Print21 that Australia Post was unable to say how many letters were going through the system. He said the figure of two million parcels per day was intended to highlight the popularity of the company’s parcel services and no full breakdown of letters was available.

    Australia Post also announced expanded delivery options over Christmas, including weekend deliveries and extended trading hours, as well as parcel pick up options from parcels and letters facilities.

    With American e-commerce giant Amazon launching in Australia earlier this month, a survey of more than 2000 Australia Post customers revealed that more than half of respondents planned to buy gifts online to avoid the crowds. Ben Franzi, manager for e-commerce at Australia Post, (right) said toys and games were the most popular category of gifts at 35 percent of total spend, followed by fashion and jewellery at 27 percent. “More Australians are shopping online than ever – with purchases surging 15 per cent in the past 12 months – because it offers choice, range and convenience,” he said.

    In a separate statement, Australia Post announced that it was laying on extra capacity to keep up with demand, and that 95.6 per cent of parcels were delivered on time or early in the last financial year. Our posties and delivery drivers work hard to deliver the vast majority of parcels on time or early across the country, consistently exceeding our targets, the statement read.

  • Power print people celebrate industry alliance

    Celebrating print in Sydney this week were (left to right): Kevin Slaven, CEO PMP; Michelle Levine, Roy Morgan; Sally Wright, Medium Rare; Kellie Northwood, CEO Two Sides and convenor of the event; and John Walker, MD Sappi Australia.

    A cross section of the great and the good of the printing industry came together this week in Sydney as three allied organisations, Two Sides, Australian Catalogue Association (ACA) and Australian Paper Industry Assocaition (APIA) showcased their work in promoting printing.

    Under the auspices of industry notable, Kellie Northwood, the alliance demonstrated its power, clout and influence with a turnout that included representatives of most major players across a wide range of sectors. It reflected the importance of cooperation between advocacy groups and industry representative organisations.

    Catalogue printers were represented by such enterprises as IVE Group, PMP, Fairfax, and Finsbury Green. Commercial printers included Jossimo Print and Bambra Press, while suppliers such as Konica Minolta, Starleaton and Fuji Xerox had their own Visual Connections representation there. Australia Post’s Mark Roberts flew the flag for the often maligned postal service, while paper mills and merchants from APIA, such as Sappi and Ball & Doggett completed the spectrum of industry attendance.

    The Sydney meeting reinforced the importance of promoting printing to the wider community with presentations from content publisher, Medium Rare on the efficacy of printing as a communication channel while drill down stats were supplied by research firm, Roy Morgan.

    The gathering emphasized the shifting influences that are shaping the printing industry and the need for groups such as Two Sides to continue the fight against ‘greenmail.’ At closing, Northwood, encouraged everyone to disseminate the good news about the virtues of printing and take pride in being part of a vibrant industry.

  • From blog to print – Print21 Magazine

    Luc Weisman, D’Marge.

    Magazines are going online right? Not if you are men’s style oracle D’Marge with its ‘Shut Up & Take My Money’ blog, where the reverse is true. The bits, bandwidth and HTML have become ink on paper and even a major airline has taken it up. Doris Prodanovic checks out the irony of it all.

    Print publishing is an environment splashed in ‘enter with caution’ signs. No matter the sector, this tumultuous industry has mostly decided that: ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ and embraced digital online equivalents that, since the turn of the century, have seen both successes and failures. So, when an established online men’s style and culture blog decides its next move is to expand by launching a print magazine, the question is, why now?

    Doris Prodanovic takes a look in the latest issue of Print21 magazine.

  • EFI invites Aus printers to ‘must-see’ Connect

    Guy Gecht, CEO EFI, at the opening of Connect 2017.

    Registration is open for EFI Connect 2018, which will be held in Las Vegas from January 23-26. Australian printers are being urged to attend what EFI describes as a ‘must-see’ user conference and networking event.

    Mark Fletcher, EFI APAC

    Now in its 18th year, the conference at Las Vegas’ Wynn hotel next month is being promoted as a good way to prepare for the year to come. Mark Fletcher, Associate Marketing Specialist APAC at EFI, said attendees will benefit from expert speakers and the chance to meet fellow industry members. “It’s one of the largest conferences of its type in the world, where we bring together a whole range of industry leaders and suppliers to share their knowledge and expertise – and, with all these people in one room, it’s a fantastic networking opportunity,” Fletcher said.

    Educational and hands-on sessions at Connect 2018 are organised into customised ‘tracks’:

    • Corrugated Track
    • Enterprise Commercial Print Suite Track
    • Inkjet Track
    • Midmarket Print Suite Track
    • In-Plant Track
    • Packaging Track
    • Publication Print Suite Track
    • Soft Signage Track

    “Inkjet, with the expanding market in high-value inkjet services, is a must-attend track,” said Fletcher. “Soft signage is also topical, for the way sign and display is developing in Australia, and with the Nozomi now in full production, the packaging track is worth seeing as well.”

    Fletcher says the conference will give Australian printers a look over the horizon at the ‘next big thing’. “It’s an amazing resource – it’s like looking into a crystal ball for the future of the industry to see where new opportunities might come from and how they might be applicable to Australian printers.

    “Our goal always is to have a collection of Australia’s leading print providers at the event – it’s a must-see for them,” he said.

    Registration is open at

  • Salmat offloads SMS to focus on catalogues

    ASX-listed direct mail and marketing services company Salmat has sold off its SMS business MessageNet for $14.8 million to Message4U, trading as MessageMedia. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down Salmat’s existing debt facility.

    Rebecca Lowde, CEO Salmat

    Salmat CEO Rebecca Lowde, who was confirmed as the new chief executive one day before the announcement, said the sale aligns with Salmat’s current strategic priorities of strengthening and achieving growth in its core business. “Salmat continues to focus on ensuring that it has the right mix of solutions to deliver on its promise to clients, employees and shareholders in a way that is profitable and sustainable.

    “With catalogue at the core of our Marketing Solutions business, Salmat’s digital focus in this segment in on solutions that help us extend the reach of our clients’ marketing campaigns, to help them reach and convert more customers,” she said.

    Lowde said MessageNet was a great fit for new owner MessageMedia, and continuity would be maintained throughout the sale process. “MessageNet provides SMS-related services such as appointment confirmations, billing reminders and surveys: services that are not core to our Marketing Services proposition. As such, when the opportunity arose to sell MessageNet to a new owner, Salmat agreed to negotiate a sale,” she said.

    A Salmat spokesperson told Print21 that this sale would help Salmat provide better solutions for customers of its core catalogue business. “Our digital focus in this segment is on solutions that help extend the life of clients’ campaigns – such as Search, Email and eCommerce. The sale ensures Salmat has a much more focused offer for its clients that brings together the power of Catalogue (both print and online via Lasoo) and Digital, to help its clients reach more of their customers through their marketing activities and also convert more sales,” the spokesperson said.

    In August, Salmat posted its first net profit since 2014 after launching its transformation program to focus on key strengths that include digital and traditional direct mailing.

    FY17 revenue was down 3.4 percent to $435.3 million but earnings before tax jumped 16.3 percent to $22.8 million and net profit after tax was $4.3 million – compared to a loss of $6 million the previous year.

    Founded in 1979, Salmat has evolved from a small letterbox distribution business to an ASX-listed marketing services company that manages billions of customer interactions every year.