Fallout continues from Focus collapse

Mark Shergill, new owner of the majority of the collapsed Focus Press business, has opted to keep the company name first and foremost in his new print empire that will span Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast – calling it Focus Print Group.

Focus clients and some staff will now join Shergill’s stable of companies – BPA Print Group, Print Warehouse, NewTone, Trodel-Docucopy and Dynamic Print Communications.

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David Fuller (l), former owner of Focus Press, is yet to meet with union reps and has been unavailable for comment

Shergill says he will bring a more streamlined, cost and time effective approach to the business, consolidating sites so work will no longer need to move from one factory to another for finishing processes. The initial challenge, he says, is to raise morale and stir up optimism for the future.

Focus equipment is now on its way for a short-term stay to the former Focus South Strathfield facility near Shergill’s Print Warehouse site, which is reportedly the intended long term Sydney site for the group.

Shergill has also picked some major assets, including equipment from the $12m Wollongong facility, though not the site itself. The new $8m Canberra facility is not part of the deal, and administrators are said to have padlocked staff out of the seven-month old site, though its future is still unclear. Shergill will keep a small sales team in the ACT to look after the region’s clients.

The Industry Department which funded the Wollongong facility to the tune of $6.1m is already implementing measures to try and recoup its outlay, which it has been revealed was a whopping 20 per cent of the total $30m regeneration fund for the Illawarra following the exit of BlueScope Steel.

Staff have received their termination letters, with some joining Mark Shergill's enterprise

Staff have received their termination letters, with some joining Mark Shergill’s enterprise

There are some mighty red faces in the department for a project which does not reflect well on the printing industry. AusIndustry has removed its Focus Press sustainability case study from its website.

Three weeks after hitting hot water with its paper suppliers, liquidators from Worrels Solvency and Forensic Accountants were called in to wind up the $40m-a-year printer. The Matraville and South Strathfield factories are already slated for auction by CBRE on May 13.

Former owner David Fuller has so far avoided comment, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says they have been unable to pin him down for a meeting. Of Focus’ 22 unionised employees, six have found jobs elsewhere, and a few others have joined Shergill’s enterprise.

Those who received their termination letters earlier in the week will since the liquidation be eligible to seek entitlements from Geers.


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