Archive for December, 2018

  • 2018 news wrap: Print moving forward

    While the year 2018 saw its fair share of companies hitting the wall, there were just as many if not more printers moving ahead, investing and finding great opportunities.

    Super automated: new $50m Franklin Web NSW site

    Biggest print spend of the year is the new $50m Franklin Web NSW site, officially opened last month, which is a case study in focus and automation. Two huge 80pp manroland Lithoman presses are operating 24/7 pumping out print at 16 metres a second for catalogues and long run magazines.

    Major Melbourne player Waratah Group consolidated its business, moving Waratah Direct Communications into its main Port Melbourne premises from Preston, consolidating it with Waratah Digital and Commercial Brand Communications.

    High five: CMYKhub CEO Trent Nankervis and communications manager Glen Francis at the Melbourne print hub with the B2
 HP Indigo 10000 and the HP Indigo 5600

    Digital contimnues its march, well known operations Scott Print and Digitalpress were among those buying the new six-colour Fuji Xerox Iridesse, while trade printer CMYKhub ordered a further five HP Indigo printers from Currie Group to join the four it already has.

    Brisbane outfit Platypus invested in a new 10,000sqm site with a new press and finishing kit. Offset press sales are thin on the ground these days, but also in Brisbane Allclear was among those installing a new Heidelberg CX102, which will replace three older presses.

    Energy was top of the agenda during the year as Aussie printers faced stratospheric pricing. A number of printers turned to solar power to beat the crisis including Vivad, Impact, Goldcraft and Complete Colour. Vivad also invested in a new Durst wide format printer, as did trade shop Media Point.

    Sign franchise Signwave saw its sales rise by 18 per cent, with two new stores opening, in Adelaide and Perth. MBE also opened its first store in Perth. And in the WA state capital Artcom took the first Massivit 3D printer. Brisbane wide format operation Bailey emerged as the top print in the Asia Pacific for HP. Cactus bought the country’s first ultra wide Fujifilm Acuity Ultra. Avonlea Labels rebranded itself as Luminar and invested in a HP Indigo 2000 digital flexible packaging system.

    Easy Signs took the first flatbed HP Latex printer, Active Display Group installed robot fed Inca Onset printers in a major upgrade of capacity, while Rip Graphics was among those buying a new Oce Arizona.

    In the digital textile printing world which is predicted to be a boom area Create Apparel bought a new Kornit press, while Next Printing set up a whole new company, Textile Hub, for quick turnaround short run fashion jobs, however that closed just before Christmas, the company saying it was probably ahead of the market.

    In labels QLM opened a factory in Cambodia and invested some $2.5m in its Australian business with new conventional and digital presses for Brisbane and Melbourne. Label Factory in Perth invested in a new Xeikon, while ExelPrinting bought a new Screen digital label press, while multi-site label giant Hexagon is looking to exit its label business altogether.

     

  • 2018 news wrap: Print comes out of the shadows

    Making mates in Canberra: Andrew Macaulay with prime minister Scott Morrison, crossbencher Bob Katter was never far away

    2018 will be noted as the year print came out of the shadows and into the Canberra spotlight, thanks in large part to the tireless lobbying of the PIAA and Andrew Macaulay.

    Invigorated by a new Board with some of the country’s most dynamic printers around the table the PIAA CEO Macaulay and its president Walter Kuhn made multiple trips to the nation’s capital, to convey to the legislators and policymakers the big six vital issues facing print; energy, skills and training, IR, sustainability, AusPost pricing, and Aussie first print procurement.

    Due to its fragmented nature print has always had a low profile, even though it employed as many people as the car industry had, and is now the country’s largest manufacturing industry.

    However that profile is rising rapidly, and the inaugural Print2Parliament held in October saw more MPs and Senators turn up than for any other industry event, according to the politicians present.

    More MPs and Senators at Print2Parliament than any other industry event

    Print2Parliament was the highlight event of the year’s lobbying, which saw Macaulay and printers use plenty of show leather walking the corridors of power, and talking with everyone from the prime ministers and other government minsters, their opposition shadows, and the powerful crossbenchers, most of whom were also at Print2Parliament.

    By any measure Print2Parliament could be judged a serious success, certainly in raising the profile of the print industry and creating a new level of engagement in Parliament, with both printers and politicians taking the opportunity to dialogue together. Senator Wayne Swann – who says he has more printer in his constituency than any other – told the crowd that printers and politicians were joined at the hip.

    Amid all the warm salutations coming from the platform Media Super boss Graeme Russell gave the politicians a volley, calling on them to tell the nation’s banks to support manufacturing, especially print, which he said they had ‘virtually abandoned.’

    Real Media Collective was also spending plenty of time in Canberra on the trail of politicians, including engaging with them over AusPost, and running the Keep Me Posted campaign, scoring wins including seeing Consumer Affairs Ministers telling telcos, banks and utilities that they have 12 months to get paper billing organised, or the government will intervene, and may totally ban charging for bills.

    Print also played its part in mental health coming out of the shadows at long last, with many industry leaders making it clear than there is no need to hide, with great initiatives like Man Anchor and the Media Super mental wellbeing scheme.

  • 2018 news wrap: Gone but not forgotten

    A million stories: Norman J Field with partner Elly Wilson

    The year ended with some notable names no longer in the print industry; printers, vendors, and individuals.

    Among the more heart warming is Norman J Field, just retired at the age of 86 after more than six decades in print. He was latterly working at Eastern Press. Also retiring was Graeme Young, the general manager at Perth’s Quality Press, after 40 years in the industry. Well known industry identity Karen Goldsmith, general manager at the suppliers association and a leading light in Women in Print movement, moved to pastures new.

    Sadly there were those who made their way to the great printworks in the sky, among them print pioneer Cliff Royle, Peter Tailby, founder of Graphic Art Mart, and Paul Taylor, managing director of supplier PES for the past 41 years, surely a record amount of time in the top seat. Tragically two maintenance workers at Norske Skog in Albury Wodonga lost their lives due to escaping gases. It was also goodbye to Ipex, the once iconic UK trade show beloved by Aussie printers.

    Disastrous move to London: Ipex will be no more

    Print companies that went during the year included those that were bought by others, with some of the big names of print such as John Ferguson and Bob Gardner no longer active in the industry. Great names are gone such as Fergies in Brisbane, now part of Printcraft, and SOS in Sydney, now part of Pegasus.

    Green and Gold is now part of Special T, Enviro Print is now part of Bright, Label Magic is now part of QLM, Qld Trade is now part of LEP, Westend is now part of Westman, Ragi Packaging and Printing Department are now both part of Focus, Lindall & Wall is now part of Imagination Graphics, and Future Sources is now part of D&D Mailing

    Printers hitting the skids included Gopher (for the second time), the Print Studio, Purple Press, Goode Continuous, Panther Print, Posh Print, Print Supply, STS, Trojan Press, Saunders, and Graphic Impressions.

    On the supply side Goss became part of manroland, which now claims 100 per cent of the heatsetweb market outside Japan. MBO became part of Heidelberg, Plockmatic bought Watkiss, Muller Martini bought Kolbus, while here in Australia Bottcher bought out Brissett, Avon Graphics bought Rotoflex Coatings, and Starleaton bought Uniscreen.

    Consolidation: outdoor media

    Consolidation was the story of the year in outdoor media, with the top four infrastructure suppliers becoming the top two, JC Decaux buying APN Outdoor and oOh! Media taking over Adshel. Across the Tasman Media Works took over the QMS Kiwi operations.

    Consolidation was also seen in industry associations, with Two Sides, the Australian Catalogue Association and Australia Paper Industry Association no more, as they merged to form Real Media Collective, with Kellie Northwood at its hub.

    Turmoil continued in the newspaper world as the world turned digital, Fairfax and News came to a print sharing arrangement, or rather Fairfax asked News if it could use its presses so it could close some of its own, and later in the year Fairfax was sold to commercial TV outfit Channel 9. Contract newspaper printer Horton pulled out of Aus altogether, claiming it is uncompetitive. And in a sign of the newspaper times GX Press, Peter Coleman’s newspaper trade magazine, produced its final print edition.

  • Print21 Issue 1070 – HOLIDAY SPECIAL END OF YEAR WRAP

     

    The year is over, time to pull on the boardies and get into the pool with the kids and grandkids, and when you have a quiet moment – which I hope you find – reflect on another rollercoaster year in the world’s most dynamic industry. Enjoy the recap.

     

    From the team here at Print21 – the premier source of news and information for the Australian and New Zealand print industries – we wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

     

    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor

  • 2018 news wrap: If it flies again is it a phoenix

    Phoenix business are the bane of any industry, as they effectively shed their debt for next to nothing and start again, or carry on, while competitors have to operate paying their way, which means they have to charge more for their print.

    Two high profile cases, both of whom denied they were phoenixes, occupied the minds of rival printers this year, Chameleon in Queensland, and Picton Press in WA.

    Haven’t phonenixed anything: Chris Krieger, Chameleon

    Chameleon was part of the Krico Group, owned by Kevin Krieger. It went belly up in May owing $4m to unsecured creditors, but a new company soon emerged, Chameleon Group Australia Pty Ltd, owned by office admin worker Emma van der Pluym, who also happened to be the long time girlfriend of Krieger’s son Chris Krieger.

    Chris Krieger himself is currently banned from being a company director on account of being convicted of an insurance fraud involving a fire and a printer which did not exist. Krieger told Print21, ‘Mate we haven’t phoenixed anything’.

    Across the country in WA Picton Press owners Garry Kennedy and Denis Hague put the business into voluntary administration in May when they failed to come up with the cash for the $1.3m they owed to the ATO, which then sought a winding up order.

    Deed of Company Arrangement sees a $3.6m debt become maximum $72,000: Picton Press

    Four months later the administrator managed to get a Deed of Company Arrangement into play, despite almost all the unsecured creditors voting against it, hardly surprising as they were offered between just 1c and 2c in the dollar on the $3.6m they were owed.

    The rest of the Perth printing community is up in arms at the prospect of Picton competing again when it has managed to translate a $3.6m debt into a sum of between $36,000 and $72,000.

  • 2018 news wrap: Strikes return to print

    Envelope workers were out for two months before claiming victory over Australian Paper

    It has been a long time since strikes hit the printing industry, but they returned in 2018, with the staff at Australian Paper’s envelope factory and at the nation’s banknote printer Note Printing Australia both taking industrial action.

    The 90 envelope workers at the Nippon Paper owned Preston site of Australian Paper were out for more than two months, the strike coming after nine months of failed negotiations. Both sides claimed victory in the end, as workers fought back against proposed changes to their RDOs and pay increases.

    The site is Australia’s largest envelope making business, it produces some two billion a year. The envelope world is in decline in the internet age, Candida closed its Sydney plant a year ago and now manufactures only out of Adelaide, while overseas the biggest envelope manufacturer in the US Cenveo collapsed under a mountain of debt.

    Staff at Note Printing Australia (NPA) were taking industrial action for three months, in an attempt to up their pay increase and have leave to deal with domestic violence. The action caused delays in the release of the new banknotes. A new deal was agreed ten days after NPA locked out staff for a day, and threatened to lock them out permanently.

    2018: Banknote printers took industrial action

    Note Printing also found itself in the news over a massive $23m fine it received, together with its polymer supplier Securency, over payments to officials in various SE Asian countries which helped it gain valuable banknote printing contracts. The fine was actually issued in 2012, but only came to light this year when a suppression order was lifted.

  • 2018 news wrap: Packaging goes green

    End of Waste: Raphael Geminder, Pact chairman and Dr Leyla Aracoglu at the launch of the company’s white paper.

    The packaging industry hit the headlines in 2018 thanks to a global focus on sustainability, with plastic taking the title of enemy of the people.

    At least one print business postponed its plans to establish a new flexible packaging operation as the world recoiled from plastics.

    The big packaging companies made serious commitments to a sustainable future, a commitment that Rafi Geminder, majority owner of Pro-Pac and of Pact described as ‘terrifying’ as he launched the company’s End of Waste white paper.

    The packaging giants were all investing, the big daddy Amcor finding $6.8bn to buy long time rival Bemis, although it did nothing for the Amcor share price which slid all year ending 15 per cent lower.

    Amcor spin-off Orora was also active in the US, spending big in Texas, buying two companies for $140m to build on its US platform. Orora also installed Australia’s first EFI Nozomi corrugated digital press, and took one for its Californian operation at the same time.

    Gone: Grant Harrod CEO Pro Pac

    In the local market ProPac spent $177m on Integrated Packaging and Perfection, although it was not enough to save CEO Grant Harrod’s job, he was out on poor results. And in more investment Oji invested some $72m in a new cardboard factory on the Gold Coast.

    The Print21 and PKN LIVE event, New Frontiers in Packaging Print, was packed with print industry professionals, the first time the print industry has had the opportunity to hear from packaging specialists in a dedicated focused forum. Packaging remains an area of high interest to printers – especially with the move against plastics potentially sending work back to cartonboard.

    New Frontiers: Lindy Hughson, publisher of Print21 and PKN Packaging News, at the LIVE event

  • EXCLUSIVE: Mitchell leaves PIAA over curry texts

    Gone: Paul Mitchell

    The PIAA has workplace relations manager Paul Mitchell has left the association, a day after news broke in the Fairfax press of his texts referring to Liberal party members in Victoria with Indian heritage as as curries.

    Mitchell continues to deny the texts were his, but offered profuse apologies regardless. He did offer to resign, which was at first refused. However PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay and the Board met last night, and concluded Mitchell must go.

    Macaulay says, “When the news broke the PIAA needed to follow due process, especially as we set the standard for employment in the industry. We needed to investigate the situation fully, and give Paul the opportunity to explain himself.

    “I told him that these comments, regardless of whether they were in a private context, do not align themselves with the values of the PIAA, which does not discriminate on race, religion, sexual orientation or anything else, and told him he seems to have transgressed on all of these.

    “The Board – as representatives of the membership – and I then took decision, unanimously, that he had to go. There could only be one outcome.”

    In his role as Victoria Liberal party steering committee chair Mitchell was exchanging the texts with Marcus Bastiaan, Victoria Liberal party vice president, discussing how to bolster their, conservative, faction.

    Bastiaan – who in the texts referred to ‘fag catholics’ – was also working for the PIAA, contracted since March in a lobbying role, although he had handed in his notice on November 5.

    The texts were doubly embarrassing to the PIAA, as not only were they from one of its senior employees, albeit not in his PIAA role, but the Melbourne print industry has a sizeable number of company owners with heritage from the sub-continent.

    Responding to comments that the the PIAA is too closely aligned with the Liberal party, as Mitchell and Bastiaan were both party powerbrokers Macaulay says, “The PIAA is determinedly apolitical. We have people who are active in both the ALP and the Liberal party, as a great many other organisations do, but I tell all staff to leave their political positions at the door on their way in.

    “In our lobbying role it is natural that we would hire politically connected people – we had an ex-senator on the books – but their sole focus is on working for the benefit of members and the print industry.”

    Mitchell’s departure will not affect the availability of the PIAA’s industrial relations advice, with the hotline open every day over the holiday period bar Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Macaulay says, “The service will be 100 per cent, there is no change there.”

     

  • Print21 issue 1069 – MIDWEEK SPECIAL

     

    Printers around the country will be as perplexed as those in Perth at the outcome of the Picton Press saga. It seems the company in question has had a virtual free ride when it comes to tax and paper payments.

     

    Welcome to the Print21 midweek newsletter, the the premier source of news and information for the Australian and New Zealand print industries, brought to you by the people who know print.

     

    Wayne Robinson
    – Editor

  • Perth printers outraged as Picton sees off ATO

     

    Unencumbered with unsecured creditors debt: Picton Press directors Gary Kennedy (left) and Dennis Hague                                                                                                            The WA printing community is in uproar as debt-ridden Picton Press has managed to get the ATO’s winding up order against it dismissed, so finally ridding itself of 98-99 per cent of what turned out to be its $3.6m debt to 72 unsecured creditors.

    Local printers were ‘in absolute shock’ and ‘furious’ as the Commonwealth Court dismissed the ATO’s application, slamming the decision as ‘disgusting’, ‘disgraceful’ and ‘a travesty’.

    In a bizarre twist the court awarded the ATO’s costs against Picton. It is not yet known if the ATO will appeal the decision to dismiss its winding up application.

    The $3.6m in debt Picton has racked up to the ATO, the paper merchants and other unsecured and trade creditors has now been translated to a maximum of just $72,000, and as low as $36,000.

    Picton is no longer in administration. In the six months Cor Cordis has been running the company from May 22 to November 29 receipts in were $3.12m, payments out were $2.95m.

    The Perth printing community is seething as the court’s ruling effectively means that while they have all been writing cheques to the tax office and paying their paper bills in full for the past four years, and pricing their jobs accordingly, Picton – owned by directors Dennis Hague and Gary Kennedy – has not, and now does not have to, having shed itself of more than $3.5m of its $3.6m debt.

    Rival Perth printers claim Picton has been undercutting the market for years, so taking jobs from them based on unrealistic prices, and say they are the ones who are paying for it, as insurance will rise, market expectations of pricing is lower, and Picton is free to carry on as before.

    The ruling means that Picton will be able to operate under its Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) prepared by administrator Cor Cordis, which will see unsecured creditors receive between just 1c and 2c in the dollar.

    Back in October virtually every unsecured creditor voted against the DOCA, and that would normally have killed it off, but the 27 employees – who were spoken to at a separate meeting just before the creditors meeting – all voted for it, with administrator Jeremy Nipps from Cor Cordis then shocking the creditors by declaring the vote deadlocked, and using his casting vote to get the DOCA over the line.

    Nipps says the DOCA is a legitimate tool to help a struggling business move forward. However one local print identity told Print21, “If this is the outcome then the ATO’s new anti-phoenixing unit is a gigantic waste of time and money. It beggars belief.”

    Picton does face issues of supply, all three main paper merchants Spicers, Ball & Doggett and local WA outfit Stockman were on the creditors list, so will be unlikely to get insurance, even if they wanted to. Rumours are swirling around the Perth printing community as to where Picton is now getting its paper from.

    Picton put itself into voluntary administration in May when the ATO initiated its winding up order as Picton failed to pay its $1.3m tax bill. The company had been in trouble for four years, ever since 2014 when it put in a new B1 ten-colour press, which even at the time was viewed as optimistic for the Perth market, and it was compounded by the WA economy tanking virtually as soon as the press was commissioned.

    The press was installed on a business plan with sales of minumum $12m, at the time they were around $13.5m. However three years later they were less than $8m.

    As well as the $2.25m in unsecured debts Picton has around $5.5m in loans from banks, secured against various properties.

  • Next closes Textile Hub

    Tom Tjanaria, chairman (centre) with Romeo Sanuri and Andrew Oskar of Next Printing at the opening of The Textile Hub

    Newly launched short run on demand digital textile printing business The Textile Hub has closed, with owners Next Printing citing lack of demand as its reason to shut up shop.

    The new venture aimed to revitalise the Sydney fashion industry by enabling short runs of printed fabrics, as an alternative to offshore production in China.

    However Romeo Sanuri, general manager at Next says, “Fashion is a logistics business, with print is just one part of the supply chain, and Australia does not really have the infrastructure yet, with a lack of cutters and sewers for instance. In Europe by contrast, particularly Eastern Europe where digital textile printing is taking off, they have all the necessary surrounding infrastructure.

    “Australian fashion also operates on a two season basis spring/summer and autumn/winter, and while we had plenty of premises of work to come there was not enough eventuating to sustain the business. Clients also did not want to lose their place in the China production line.

    “I think that Textile Hub was also maybe ahead of the pace, and that in a few years time Australia will be able to sustain a short run on demand digital textile printing sector.”

    The factory in Alexandria is adjacent to Marrickville, which is at the centre of local designers and fashion producers. The business officially opened in March this year with Julian Lowe in charge, but had been running since the previous July.

  • Mitchell to move on from EFI

      Moving on: Kathy Mitchell

    EFI’s Director of Operations for ANZ, Kathy Mitchell has made the decision to move on to the next chapter in her career.

    Kathy will be well known to many in and around the print world having worked in the industry for most of her career.  She has had an impressive career working locally in ANZ and internationally, and has been working for more than seven years with EFI, and 20 years prior to that with Prism.

    “I’m excited for this next stage of my career and am looking forward to working as a subcontractor within the industry I know so well,” says Kathy. 

    “My role has been to build a customer care structure for the EFI Midmarket Print Suite, including Pace and Digital Storefront. We have some marquee customers currently making the move from Prism to Pace, with more to follow in the next few months.” says Kathy. “It is comforting to move on knowing EFI’s Australian and New Zealand software business is in a very strong position.”

     “The industry has changed so much since I started and it is really exciting to see how far we have come and with a real focus on production workflows being increasingly automated. The EFI ecosystem will deliver to the marketplace the next generation of automation to the industry and this is exciting,” says Kathy.  

    Stephen Buss, EFI’s Senior Director of Worldwide Customer Operations described Mitchell’s decision to transition to partial retirement as a loss for the company. 

    “Kathy has been a valuable member of EFI’s ANZ team. She has been with EFI for more than seven years and in that time has contributed enormously to growth and client development in the ANZ region,” Stephen says. “We wish Kathy all the very best in this next exciting chapter of her life. We’ll miss her passion and enthusiasm for the printing industry.”

  • Paper imports plummet, down by 11% Aus, 13% NZ

    Plummeting imports: printing and communications grade paper

    Latest data from Pulp & Paper Edge reveals that printing and communication grade imports into both Australia and New Zealand fell by double digits in the year to October.

    According to the Tim Woods authored report Australia’s imports of printing and communication papers, including Newsprint, combined to deliver a drop of 10.9 per cent over the year-ended October 2018, as imports fell to 616.6 kt for the year.

    New Zealand’s imports of printing and communication papers declined an aggregate 13 per cent over the year-ended October, falling to 149,719 tonnes. This data is all the more important, because New Zealand’s supplies – with the exception of newsprint – are delivered entirely by imports.

    In Australia, unsurprisingly, newsprint recorded the largest decline, with imports collapsing almost 64 per cent and totalling just 20.3 kt for the year.

    However, the major surprise, is that the grades suffering the largest import declines are those made from chemical pulps (Uncoated Woodfree [UCWF] and Coated Woodfree [CWF]). This is exactly the opposite situation to that experienced in New Zealand over the same period.

    By contrast, the grades made from mechanical pulp (Uncoated Mechanical [UCM] and Coated Mechanical [CM]) experienced increases over the year to the end of October.

    Australia’s imports of Coated Woodfree (CWF) papers fell 22.2 per cent over the year-ended October, compared to the prior year. Imports totalled 156,708 tonnes, with the annualised outlook appearing more consistent, but inevitably, continuing to point down in a market that most consider is already lower than the import data suggests.

    Three of the four major grades experienced sharp declines, with the largest falls recorded for Reels less than 150 gsm, imports of which collapsed by almost 50 per cent, to just 21,863 tonnes over the year.

    Imports of the other two major grades declined by largely uniform proportions. Almost bizarrely, the smallest volume grade – Reels greater than 150 gsm – experienced a rise in imports of 28.7 per cent, but at 784 tonnes, it does not amount to anything much.

    In New Zealand all grades experienced import declines, with the smallest falls recorded for Uncoated Woodfree (UCWF) paper, that includes A4 Copy Paper and related office products.

    Coated Woodfree (CWF) grades experienced a modest decline, relative to the total. It is the grades containing mechanical pulp that experienced the largest fall in imports over the year-ended October. Uncoated Mechanical (UCM) and Newsprint were hardest hit, but the Coated Mechanical (CM) grade that is so linked to print advertising, fell at a rate greater than the average.

    Go to the Pulp & Paper Edge website for the full report.

  • Konica Minolta receives Australia Human Rights Business Award

    Human Rights Award: Dr David Cooke, managing director, Konica Minolta, with Suzie Brett, people and legal director, Konica Minolta.

    Konica Minolta has been awarded the top honour in the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Award 2018 in the Business category, for showing leadership in the people-centred policies that promote human rights in its business and supply chain.  

    The Human Rights Commission says its Human Rights Award is the pinnacle of human rights recognition in Australia, highlighting the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms.

    Dr David Cooke, managing director, Konica Minolta Australia, said, “Konica Minolta has been actively involved in supporting human rights and has made significant efforts to not only ensure it has practices in place to ensure the ethical management of its own supply chain, but has also provided resources, raised awareness and worked with the government for changes to be made to address the issues of modern slavery in Australia and internationally.

    “As well as ongoing community partnership programs, we’re dedicated through our efforts and influence to improve the quality of life for people affected by modern slavery or unfair work practices throughout the supply chain. Increasingly, we’re finding customers and employees are moved to work with companies that have purpose and diversity, and are committed to doing the right thing.

    “We’re humbled to have received this Australian Human Rights Commission Award, and we thank all of the nominees for their initiatives and commitment to human rights. Doing what we can to uphold human rights isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a necessity if we’re going to build a society where every individual is empowered to achieve their full potential.

    “This not only provides a platform to demonstrate the inspiring work the team at Konica Minolta is doing, but also to encourage other businesses to look inward at the impact of their core business and operations, as well as those of their suppliers or business partners, to avoid negatively affecting human rights.”

    The Commission said that Konica Minolta is delivering on its commitment to human rights in three key areas: people, customers and community.

    In people by respecting and promoting the human rights of its employees through its diversity and inclusion strategy, and the implementation of progressive policies such as domestic and family violence support and Indigenous procurement strategies.

    In customers by engaging with human rights in its value chain through the launch and implementation of its ethical sourcing roadmap and supplier code of conduct.

    And in community by supporting human rights through its non-profit partners including Breast Cancer Network Australia, Landcare Australia, The Smith Family, and Project Futures, business and human rights networks; and in pursuing its vision of being a business leader in human rights in Australia and the region, advocating for important policies such as the Modern Slavery Act, which was passed by the federal government on November 29.

  • Vic printing rort: ‘Nothing to do with us’

    Victoria business F and M Printing told Print21 that an alleged printing rort involving a long-time, just retired, state MP, which has now resulted in charges being laid, is ‘nothing to do with us’, before abruptly ending the call.

    Charges have been laid on four people over kickbacks from alleged inflated invoices sent by East Keilor based F and M Printing to the office of former Victorian Labor MP Khalil Eideh.

    The money was allegedly used to buy party memberships to fund branch stacking in Eideh’s favour. The amount in question is understood to top $200,000.

    Two former staffers of Eideh – who allegedly has linkes to F and M –  are among people charged with 13 counts of fraud, perjury and conspiracy by the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) in the case.

    The trio allegedly ordered pamphlets from F and M Printing, but received either none or far fewer than ordered. F and M then allegedly sent inflated invoices to Eideh’s office, then when F and M received the payments most of the money was allegedly funnelled back to Eideh’s office, and was then used to buy memberships and stack branches in Eideh’s favour.

    It is alleged the printing company took between just 3 per cent and 10 per cent of the invoice before handing the rest back to the office.

    A company spokesman told Print21 that the allegations ‘have nothing to do with us’ and said ‘I can’t make any comment’ before abruptly ending the call.

    Khalil Eideh – who retired from politics last month after a 12 year stint in Parliament – is linked to F and M Printing. Eideh said his retirement was nothing to do with the ongoing investigation. He did however change the locks on his parliamentary office and place his staff on indefinite leave.

    The son of Eideh’s former electorate officer, whose family home was among those raided last year, was preselected to take his place in the safe seat, but suddenly withdrew citing ‘family reasons’.

    “The charges relate to conspiracy to attempt to pervert the course of justice, perjury, conspiracy to mislead IBAC, and disclosure of IBAC information,” IBAC said.

    The trio are due in court on January 9.

    The alleged methodology is not new, several high profile court cases have revealed various political figures using the tactic of using fake or embellished invoices for their print allowance to receive cash.

    Former Victorian Liberal Party director Damien Mantach is currently serving five years at Her Majesty’s pleasure for stealing more than $1.5m by this method, although in his case it was from his state party coffers.

    Just three months ago NSW Minister of State Alex Hawke was found to have spent more than half a million dollars with print management company Zion Graphics, which is owned by political ally, party donor and local Liberal branch president Rudy Limantono.

    Nor is it limited to politicians, one union boss was given gold credit cards with unlimited spend by a small printer in Pam Beach, cards which were used to fund his own personal lifestyle, with all union print work funnelled through the small printer.

     

  • Print package stocks ride ASX storm

    The share prices of listed print companies have been largely unaffected by the current volatility affecting the stock market, instead they have been going in every direction possible.

    After rising by five per cent in the first eight months of the year the ASX 200 has dropped by 12 per cent since September.

    The country’s biggest printer, PMP, has in fact been going the other way, it has picked up by 10 per cent over the past month to 22c, although compared to a year ago of 47c the price is not a pretty read.

    IVE Group’s share price has however shown volatility over the past two months, bouncing around between $2.13 and $2.00 since October, it is currently at $2.10. It began the year at $2.17 and reached $2.30 at one point.

    Wayne Sidwell’s Wellcom Group has bucked the down trend of the ASX, it has been on a continual upswing all year, apart from the last week, rising 15 per cent since this time last year. Beginning the year at $4.25 it is currently $4.86, although on Monday it was $5.10.

    Paper merchant Spicers began the year on 4c, and since it divested its Asian operations six months ago it has been on a steady climb, now sitting at 5.5c.

    The big packaging companies all struggled to get traction on the ASX, Amcor spending the year sliding in value, beginning at $15.27 and ending at $13.24. It did briefly rally at the beginning of August back to its starting price, but negative sentiment soon took over again.

    Amcor spin-off Orora rose from $3.29 to $3.69 in August but then spent the rest of the year in retreat mode, ending 3 per cent below its starting price at $3.21.

    Pro Pac saw its share price drop by more than half, to 20c from 47c, eventually costing CEO Grant Harrod his job. Harrod blamed the drought for its loss of business in the agricultural bags sector.

    Finally stock market darling Red Bubble saw its stock price start well, up from $1.25 12 months ago to $1.97 three months later, remain steady all year, then fall off a cliff in the last two months, ending up at the $1 marker.

  • Citywide gets in the saddle with Horizon

    Worthwhile investment: George Efthimiou, Citywide Print.

    Sydney digital printer Citywide Print has boosted its production capacity with the addition of a second-hand Horizon SPF-20A saddle-stitcher and FC-20A trimmer, plus two VAC 100 towers, all supplied by Currie Group.

    Citywide Print, based in Alexandria, has been in business for about 20 years, and serves a variety of markets, says director George Efthimiou. “We have quite a wide array of customers such as agencies, government bodies, and pharmaceutical to name a few, and have seen large growth in conference printing over the last few years,” he said.

    To increase its capacity for saddle-stitched booklets, Citywide recently invested in second-hand Horizon kit from Currie Group, which Efthimiou says was a good decision. “The machine enables us to produce at a speed of 4000 A4 books per hour and up to 84 pages. Our production has increased dramatically for that reason,” he said. “It allows us to collate as well, and setup time is five minutes, compared to 30 minutes to an hour on our previous stitcher – we can program our most common sizes and recall them at the click of a button, which enables quick setup.”

    “A lot of customers come to us for our quick turnaround time, and the new stitcher has really helped us push the boundaries even more and enabled us to be more price competitive,” he said.

    Efthimiou said Currie Group’s customer service was second to none. “We really got looked after in that regard,” he said. “The machine went in about six weeks ago. It’s been fantastic so far – initially it was challenging learning the new technology, which is quite normal for any new machinery you get these days. Will Currie at Currie Group has been great in providing additional training and technical support during those initial weeks of operations and always checks in on us.”

    This is the first time Citywide has purchased kit from Currie Group, and Efthimiou hopes there’ll be many more such purchases to come. “It’s been a worthwhile investment. We are always looking at ways of investing in equipment to keep up with quality, and technology to improve productivity, while providing our customers with the best end product.

    “Will gave me great advice on what machine would best suit Citywide Print with our budget in mind, and Currie Group has been fantastic with its customer service,” he said.