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Sydney bookbinders merge in ‘tough’ market

Thursday, 16 June 2016
By Print 21 Online Article

Leading Sydney bookbinders McPherson Binding and Graphic Bookbinding have merged into a new company called Sydney Binding after what they describe as a dramatic fall in the market.

Peter Halters, director, McPherson Binding

“We share many of the same customers are we’re joining forces to safeguard our futures,” said McPherson director Peter Halters. “It’s a tough market here in Sydney and there’s just not enough work to go around so we’ve entered into a joint venture with equal partnership between the two companies.”

Graphic Bookbinding will close its factory at Kingsgrove in Sydney’s south and move staff and some of its machinery about five kilometres across to McPherson’s plant at Botany St in nearby Rockdale. The new company will have a four-person board, made up of Halters and John McPherson, as well Graphic’s Emeh Freelingos and George Austin.

“The market has been restricting for some time and the change has been quite dramatic over the past ten years,” said Halters. “I’m talking about the offset side because the digital side has always been smaller numbers. Companies are now buying little perfect binding machines and doing 20 or 30 copies and we can’t compete with that. From a binding point of view, there used to be quite a few of us and now it’s down to a handful of binderies in Sydney. The market has always been stronger in Melbourne, for some reason. Here, every second printer seems to have a saddle stitcher and folders. We’ve been forced to reduce our capacity because there’s just not as much work as before. Everything that was previously printed is now available on the internet, a lot more of the work is now on demand and there’s just not as many copies being printed.

“We’re down to about 800 printers in NSW now, whereas about 15 years ago there used to be something like two and a half thousand. You see printing companies out there that are really struggling. Some have gone to the wall and others have merged. I’d like to be able to say the market has stabilised – compared to the past five years – but it’s still tough.

“We’ve been talking to Graphic about this for about a year and they’ll move in some of their machinery, including a binder, a saddle stitcher and other equipment, in the coming weeks. We’ll get rid of some of our older equipment to make room and the new company will then be looking into expanding the finishing side of business. It will probably take us a couple of months to get everything organised and up and running but in the meantime we’ll still be taking care of all of our customers.”

McPherson Binding was established in 1979 and Graphic Bookbinding has been around since 1963. The new business, Sydney Binding, with a staff of about 30-35, will start trading on July 1.



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