Consolidation in office supplies and printing

The wave of consolidation sweeping print and associated sectors rolls on, with Australian company Complete Office Supplies (COS) now purchasing the Australian division of Lyreco, an international business-to-business office products solutions operating across Europe and Asia, cementing COS as a lead contender in the office supplies market, to compete with US owned Winc and Westfarmers owned Officeworks.

All the big office supplies companies now offer in house printing for their customers, typically small businesses.

The purchase comes after significant changes in the Australian office products market with the two largest foreign owned competitors Winc and Office Max merging and preparing to dominate the market. As a privately-owned Australian business, COS is now the second largest B2B office supplier in Australia, competing against Winc owned by US-based private equity investment firm Platinum Equity.

Winc (formerly Staples, which Platinum Equity bought in March last year), OfficeMax and COS all supply office products to commercial and government customers in Australia, along with offering retail printing. 

Dominique Lyone, founder and CEO of COS says, “We are a proud Australian family owned business, which I established 40 years ago selling typewriter ribbon and carbon paper in Western Sydney. Acquiring Lyreco will help continue our growth and success and give Australian business a strong alternative to buy from an Australian owned company.”

[Related: ACCC allows second OfficeMax bid]

COS has an estimated annual revenue of $145M, and Lyreco’s annual revenue is $70M, making this acquisition a game changer in the office supplies market and securing COS as one of the key figures. 

Lyone says, “COS is Australia’s largest and fastest growing privately owned office products supplier. We pride ourselves on the innovative ways we compete in the market, and the ways we service and provide a superior experience for our customers.”

"I’ve been impressed by its operations and ability to grow and compete in the market will help the COS brand to expand into the market exponentially.”

The full integration of Lyreco into COS will take around four months to complete. Lyreco says it will retain COS as a valued trusted partner to service its international customers in Australia.

Lyone says, “For Lyreco customers and staff, for now it is business as usual. A detailed integration plan will be put into place making sure it is a smooth transition of customers.”

French owned Lyreco established a presence in Australia in 2004 when it acquired the operations of the office products supplier, National 1. Lyreco Australia now employs approximately 245 people across Australia, selling similar range of products to COS. With a larger range in products, COS will offer the existing Lyreco customers some new choices to their existing needs.

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