BJ Ball acquires digital paper distributor, targets growing market

BJ Ball has strengthened its position in the Victorian digital market with the acquisition of distributor Russell Carr Paper.

Chief executive Craig Brown said the deal would enhance BJ Ball's position with small-to-medium print shops, which the merchant had often reached via Russell Carr.

"It's a natural fit for our business. Russell Carr has been a sub-distributor for BJ Ball for some time into the digital market sector, which is a market sector that is growing," he told ProPrint.

Russell Carr will be rebranded as Icon Digital Papers by BJ Ball, said Brown.

The acquisition will take effect on 2 January. It follows BJ Ball's acquisition of Graph-Pak's laminating supplies division in February, although Brown said the merchant was "not on an acquisition trail".

"From time to time, there are small bolt-ons that make sense to enhance your business."

[Photos: Mohawk Show by BJ Ball]

BJ Ball said it had "enjoyed a strong working partnership for many years" with Russell Carr, which was founded in 1971.

"Russell Carr Paper moved to Braeside premises in 2000 and quickly grew the business specialising in supply into the franchise print market [through] Snap, Kwik Kopy, Minuteman and independent small-to-medium print shops," according to BJ Ball.

"Owner Peter Hawkins and several staff will take key roles in BJ Ball in the new year and are very excited about the next phase of the business."

Hawkins said: "The acquisition of Russell Carr Paper provides the opportunity for all our existing customers to access a wide range of new and innovative products and the latest in technology, including i-consignment and BJ Ball’s online ordering portal."

BJ Ball's general manager of merchanting, Luke Wilkinson, said: "Peter has developed a wonderful business over the years and we have always enjoyed a strong mutually beneficial partnership. We believe with Russell Carr’s longstanding customer relationships and BJ Ball’s strong presence in the digital market that it is the perfect fit for both businesses."

BJ Ball has 280 staff in Australia and 100 in New Zealand.

[Related: More M&A news]

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