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6 ProPrint March 2015
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Paperlinx puts Price out to pasture for Preece
Trends survey to
by Wayne Robinson
The world’s biggest trade show drupa
will switch from a four year to a three-
year cycle, in a move which has poten-
tial implications for Aussie print trade
shows PacPrint and PrintEx.
Following the 2016 event drupa
shows a re now scheduled for May 2019,
2022 and 2025. Ordinarily PrintEx
would be slated for May 2019 and
PacPrint for May 2025, but they will be
unable to compete with drupa, a sce-
nario that will cause some deep think-
ing by the local show organisers.
Options could include keeping the
current cycle for PacPrint and PrintEx
but moving the shows to September/
October, or running the shows in fol-
lowing years rather than ever y two
years, and missing the drupa year.
Other major print shows including
Igas, ChinaPrint and Print in the US
will also be impacted by the move, the
next-but-one Igas is due to take place in
2019 - exhibitors will baulk at two major
shows in one year..
The change by drupa to three years
was first mooted two years ago with a
proposed 2015 date, but was rejected by
exhibitors at the time, particularly the
larger ones concerned about their costs.
Heidelberg, KBA and HP all came out
strongly against a move to three years,
With so much change and instability in
print and not a lot of data to see where it
is going, the PIAA is hoping its trends
survey will help make printers’ lives
The study, conducted by independent
research company Catalyst, aims to
monitor trends in key business areas to
help industry members understand the
current state of the industry and make
for ward projections.
It is open to everyone (not just PIA A
members) now, and will be published
publically to provide biannual feedback
on industry performance from the per-
spective of those working in it. It takes
three to four minutes to complete.
The PIAA is also running a member-
ship survey seeking feedback on its ser-
vices, and want printers want from it, to
help the association stay relevant to the
industry. PIAA president David Leach it
will highlight how association can help
printers run a more ‘profitable, sustain-
able and enjoyable business’.
“As your print business and the wider
industry continues to evolve, we need to
ensure we are still delivering the most
membership value possible,” he says.
Printers can go to the PIAA website to
fill in the sur vey.
by Nic White
Local paper merchant Spicers executive
general manager Andy Preece is the
new global Paperlinx chief executive,
getting the job after incumbentAndrew
Price was abruptly sacked by the board.
In a surprise move Paperlinx termi-
nated Price’s contract ‘with immediate
effect’ on February 18, just 17 months to
the day after he took the top job –
despite it being due to expire in April.
The appointment of Preece comes as
speculation continues that Paperlinx is
seriously considering selling off its
European arm, after offloading Spicers
Canada last month for what was consid-
ered to be a lowly $65m.
Paperlinx praised its new chief execu-
tive for ‘turning around the Australian
business’ and leading the ANZA region
to strong performances over the past
three years. In its statement to the ASX
it said, “He has proven capabilities to
grow his business beyond the traditional
commercial print sector as evidenced by
successful diversified acquisitions in NZ
during the past two years.”
as the focus shifts towards scaling up
our diversified businesses and tighten-
ing operational management across a
more dynamic geographic footprint.”
No reason for dumping the colourful
and controversial Price was given, just a
statement to the ASX. Price’s predeces-
sors were at least allowed to resign when
he forced them out.
“ The board believes the group will
benefit from new leadership as it contin-
ues to evaluate all strategic options as
part of the strategic review,” the state-
Paperlinx shares were steady at 1.9c
as Preece was appointed, aftyer falling
33 per cent from 3c on the day Price was
sacked. Price’s ousting is despite
Paperlinx six months ago reporting 31
per cent smaller losses of $63.6m, 71 per
cent lower EBIT losses of $7m, and his-
torically low debt.
The sudden decision comes in the
midst of a 90-day strategic review of all
Paperlinx non-ANZ operations, with ‘all
offers on the table’ from buying compa-
nies to selling overseas assets.
The company now says it “is in discus-
sions with several interested parties
which may result in the sa le or restruc-
ture of part or all of its European opera-
tions”, and is also considering capital
raisings or capital restructuring.
however Benny Landa outed himself as
a major backer of a three year show. At
the time drupa saidthe mid-sized exhib-
itors were mainly in favour of the three
year term and were ‘disappointed’ that
the staus quo was maintained.
Since then the rapidly cha nging print
landscape has hastened the move, with
drupa keen to capitalise on new tech-
nologies that want exhibition time, and
as the former heavy metal giants of the
industry downsize their businesses, and
their stand space.
Other factors would have been the
demise of Ipex, with which drupa alter-
nated, a nd pressure from local hospital-
ity businesses in Dusseldorf have also
been pressurising drupa - which is held
in the Council-owned Messe Centre - to
move to a three year cycle to help boost
the city’s coffers.
drupa moves to three year cycle
Andy Preece to
take over as CEO
Shakeup: drupa makes
life complicated for
every other trade
shows by switching its
cycle from four to
When the review was launched in
December, Price said the company
was ‘trying to spark some sort of consoli-
dation’. “ We haven’t seen the upswing
we hoped for, right across Europe.”
“ We’ve had talks with all of the major
paper groups across Europe – about
mergers, about acquisitions and about
disposals – all offers are on the table,” he
Price said European paper orders had
“ fallen more than expected in the first
half” of FY15 and prices were “at their
lowest in living memory because some
of the new entrants to the supply chain
have destroyed pricing”.
Price’s sacking brings an abrupt end
to his spectacular rise from Paperlinx
critic to powerbroker, and his pla n to
turn the ailing business around after
years of massive losses.
In February 2012 Price staged a nar-
rowly unsuccessful coup against then-
chairman Harry Boon before making
the shock decision to join the board in
August of that year.
Boon was gone a month later, at the
end of a strategic review not unlike the
company’s current one, and Price rose
to chief executive in September 2013.
Gone: Andrew Price
is done at Paperlinx
with the board
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