Page 14 - Print 21 Magazine Sep-Oct 2018
P. 14

Print profile
On the pragmatism of printing
with revenue of $100m this year and a goal to make that $150m within 24 months.
There is a pragmatic strategy built driving this ambition. Apart from a no-nonsense determination to make money for his owners, it’s part of Finkelde’s aim to give print customers an alternative at the top end of town. He knows there is little room at the top, and even fewer candidates capable of filling the fiercely contested space. AAB
is one with the capability, the ambition and sufficient funding to secure for itself a place in the sun as one of the top five printing companies in Australia. And the game is on.
Growth through acquisition
I first met Wayne Finkelde when he came to buy Bruce Meers’ MAPS Litho in Sydney’ northern suburb of Frenchs Forest in 2004. The printer of Print21 at the time ran a good, sound, commercial printing business, and Finkelde was looking around for just such acquisitions. The one-time compositor had just joined AAB after ten years with Hannanprint. He bought MAPS, closed
the site down and transferred everything, including Print21, to his plant at Bessemer Street, Blacktown in Sydney’s far west.
It may have been the first of a planned series of acquisitions to grow the
business but fate intervened. The frenzied consolidation of the industry was getting underway under the influence of private equity funds Gresham and Champ. Suddenly the cash value of printing companies went through the roof and, ever the pragmatist,
it was enough for Finkelde to back off and leave it to others to burn cash in the dash for growth.
Fast forward to 2018 and in the intervening years AAB has built its logistics and warehousing, its packaging and labels business and thrived on organic growth. With two non-executive owner directors eager to go to the next stage, it is time to get back on the acquisition trial. First up this year was SOS Print & Media, a Sydney- based business with a $30 million turnover, one of the largest book and digital business printers in the state.
I caught up with Finkelde at the SOS Gardiners Road factory, which houses one
of the most impressive arrays of digital presses ever assembled in Australia. Under the informed and adventurous eye of Michael Schulz, who remains as general manager, there are presses from just about every brand; a Fuji Xerox 2800, plus two iGens
Printing is a tough game, a hard-fought competitive space with little room for dreamers. It’s a manufacturing and service industry under pressure of consolidation as printers battle for a share of an ever-decreasing pie. No-one understands the fierce status dynamics of the printing hierarchy better than Wayne Finkelde. He knows there’s only so much room at the top and he’s determined to be there in the winner’s circle. He spoke with Patrick Howard.
At a time when so many printing business owners are looking to get out, he is intent on increasing an already considerable
stake in almost every sector – commercial printing, labels and packaging, point-of-sale and wide format; just about everything, with the exception of heatset web. This latter is notable because it is the one area IVE Group, Australia’s second-largest printer, operates in where Finkelde has no intention of competing.
It’s telling because he has a lot of respect for the IVE Group, the Blue Star Print people; they make good money and they run a tight ship. As long-term CEO of Blacktown-based AAB Holdings, a third generation printer (his father had a stake
in Magazine Printers), Finkelde recognises a well-run printing and ancillary operation when he sees one. He runs a few himself; Pegasus Print Group, SOS Print & Media, F&M Supplies and AB Warehousing and Logistics. Together they make up a privately owned, top-tier printing and logistics group
ayne Finkelde wants to buy printing companies, preferably in Victoria
this year, but also in Queensland the year after.

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