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Jason goes commercial with Expo buy

Friday, 15 March 2019
By Wayne Robinson

Commercial move: John Mancini, managing director, Jason Signmakers

John Mancini’s Jason Signmakers has bought the assets and saved all the jobs at Ron Eacott’s stricken Expo Group, the latest print business to hit the skids on the west coast.

Perth-based Expo went into voluntary administration last month, struggling under debts that Print21 understands topped $1m. A decade ago Expo had 90 staff and several retail outlets, and ran the print activities of resource giant Woodside Petroleum. This year staff numbers were down to around 20. Eacott had run the business for the past 23 years.

Mancini is creating a one stop printing shop with the acquisition of Expo Group  – which is now under the Expo Signage and Digital banner – with the group now into commercial print for the first time, having the ability to print everything from business cards to design and construct for large signage projects. The combined group has more than 100 staff.

Speaking to Print21 Mancini said, “It was a great fit, Expo has an excellent reputation in the market and is in areas of print that we are looking to move into. It is also strong in B2B. We are now a full service printer with sign and display, commercial, and project management business.

23 years: Ron Eacott

“We are setting up high levels of automation. People will always want print.”

The assets and staff from the Expo business will be integrated into the Jason Signmakers facility. Mancini will keep the CBD retail outlet.

Jason Signmakers claims to be the leading signage business in WA, it was founded 60 years ago. Mancini stepped in as managing director two years ago, from a background in banking and procurement supply to the mining industries. He had been a long-time shareholder in Jason Signmakers.

Expo traces its roots back 80 years to 1939. Before its VA it was in offset, digital and display print.

Perth printing has taken a major hit with the end of the mining boom, which among other repercussions led to major printer Picton Press going into voluntary administration last May, which was the beginning of an as yet to be resolved legal battle with the ATO over its $1.3m tax bill.

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