Bambra buys McKellar Renown

In a surprise move Bambra Press has bought McKellar Renown Press in a deal that sees two of the most awarded printers in Melbourne joining forces to become a significant player.

McKellar’s new fourth-generation management team of Adam, Chris, and Kerrie Norgate put the family-owned printer on the market earlier this year, with longtime competitor Bambra now emerging as the buyer, with the deal set to close on Friday.

The reason for McKellar offering itself for sale is not yet known.

Bambra managing director John Wanless says acquiring McKellar is part of its strategy to gain market share in changing print landscape, as well as ‘dedication to the craft and quality of print in this era of digital transformation’.

“We were not after the business but once it became available, and since our products complement each other, it made sense to buy the competitor,” he says.

[Related: More mergers and acquisitions]

The young gun Norgate trio will make the jump to Bambra and continue running McKellar as a separate brand entity, while the previous generation of brothers Stephen and John Norgate will now bow out. Their father Ray Norgate bought the business back in 1946.

“Both the Bambra and McKellar brands assure customers they will not lose their individuality now that they are getting hitched”, the companies say in a quirky statement that reads like an engagement announcement.

“They will simply merge their production equipment and skills, so to speak, in order to serve their existing customer bases better than ever and as only they can.”

The former rivals will occupy the same turf with McKellar moving its operations to Bambra’s Port Melbourne facility, and all of its almost 30 staff have been offered jobs except four who requested redundancies.

Wanless says if all of them take up the offer, Bambra will have about 70 staff.

Some but not all of McKellar’s equipment will move in the next few weeks but Wanless would not say exactly what.

At last count, McKellar’s kit included a Fuji Xerox Colour 800/1000 and C700 digital production printers, two Heidelberg Speedmasters (a full-sheet and a half-sheet offset press), and two Heidelberg Cylinders and a Platen letterpresses.

Bambra has multiple digital and offset presses, and significant finishing capability.

The two companies are regular National Print Awards winners, with Bambra picking up one gold in 2013 and McKellar two gold and two sponsor awards, though neither won any last year.

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