|Blue Star has rolled up Geon's Sydney and Melbourne operations in a quickly facilitated deal and has overnight become the largest sheetfed operator in Australia. This acquisition came hot on the heels of the Blue Star purchase by Caxton Web. The future of Geons Perth, Tasmania and NZ operations is still under a cloud with the sites in Queensland closing last week.
As reported in the industry newsletter ProPrint, Blue Star has acquired the Banksmeadow print site and Parramatta mailing division in Sydney and the Mt Waverly facility in Melbourne. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
Managing director Geoff Selig told ProPrint: "This will see us taking control of those operations as of today effectively, but we don't intend to run those facilities on an ongoing basis, because we have our own sites in Sydney and Melbourne."
He added: "We will be offering jobs to a meaningful number of Geon employees."
Selig said Blue Star would also acquire the sites' customer lists and some of their machinery, although the specific equipment had yet to be determined. He said the deal did not include any debt.
The acquisition gives Blue Star control of about 20 per cent of Australia's sheetfed market, said Selig.
The three Geon sites are believed to have a combined turnover of $120 million and employ about 400 staff.
Selig said: "The acquisition of these selected Geon assets provides us with a unique opportunity to bring together two outstanding businesses that have been built on extremely high levels of customer service, responsiveness, a diverse product offering and exceptional quality.
"It also enhances the sustainability of our existing operations to further support ongoing high levels of investment across our business."
"There has been some dialogue over a number of years between the potential for Blue Star and Geon to come together. There are some synergy opportunities to bring the businesses together.
"When the Geon business entered into receivership a week-and-a-half ago, we were approached by the receivers and Geon management, and we responded as quickly as we possibly could to the circumstances, and we've managed to come up with a structure of the deal that works for them and for us."
As reported in ProPrint Geon chief executive Graham Morgan would immediately join Blue Star to help manage the integration.
The receivers shut Geon's three Queensland sites on 3 March as an urgent cost-cutting measure and were also considering other closures.
Meanwhile, McGrath Nicol said it was "continuing negotiations with various parties in relation to Geon's remaining businesses in Perth, Tasmania and New Zealand".