Bidders battle for On Demand business

Multiple suitors are vying for the On Demand client list with a sale expected as soon as tomorrow with receivers pushing for a quick end to the saga.

Receiver manager Ferrier Hodgson would only say there is ‘more than one’ bidder for the failed printer’s business, but a source involved in the sale process says Melbourne digital printer PMI Imageworks is likely the frontrunner.

PMI is in competition with Production Printing Australia (PPA), the new company led by former On Demand management licensed to trade as On Demand until the sale is completed, and possibly one other potential buyer.

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PMI is said to have met with receivers on Tuesday night about buying the business and that the meeting ‘went well’, though a decision is not yet reached.

Ferrier Hodgson, appointed by secured creditor National Australia Bank, owed $2.9m, says the deal is expected to be struck tomorrow or very early next week.

When asked by ProPrint if PMI had made a bid, chief executive Chris Zapris said only that he could not comment because he was bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Rumours abound about the identity of the possible third bidder, but none of the conflicting names check out at this point.

PMI made headlines in April when it was awarded a $2.6m government grant for a $6.1m North Melbourne expansion to employ 110 staff.

The innovative company is aiming to become the most advanced digital printer in Australia with high-tech digital-to-consumer printing.

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PPA was set up about two months ago under former OnDemand operations manager Con Maniatis, Ability Press owner Michael Wu – who is owed $127,000 by On Demand – and Tim Farrel formerly of Currie Group, PMI and FAB Equipment.

PPA has been trading as On Demand under a licencing agreement since Bruce Peddelsden’s company entered liquidation two weeks ago with debts of $11m.

The receiver says it has reached an agreement with the new entity for it to keep trading ‘while an urgent sale campaign is undertaken’.

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