Machinery dealer grabs NT govt print kit

An overseas used machinery dealer has scooped up all the major equipment from the NT Government printing service, which was up for auction following its closure last month.

White Horse Machinery, which recently expanded into Australia from its UK base, beat out nine other tenders for all or part of the government kit, and snapped up a few other pieces in yesterday’s on-site auction of the remaining items, which included mostly older finishing equipment.

The company netted a 2011 Heidelberg Speedmaster SM52-5-P five colour offset press with perfecter; a 1998 Heidelberg Speedmaster SM102-2-P two colour offset press; a 1997 Heidelberg GTO 52; a four-unit 2006 Heidelberg Stahlfolder folding machine; a 2006 Kodak Magnus 800 CTP; and an array of Polar finishing equipment.

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White Horse international sales manager Amarpreet Kaur, who handles the company’s Australian operations, says the buy signals its arrival into the Australian market.

“They had machines in nearly new condition so we couldn’t pass them up,” she says.

Kaur says White Horse has already lined up offshore buyers for some of the presses but has a lot of other quality equipment in stock for Australian printers to invest in.

Pickles Auctions Darwin branch manager Eric Gamble says 95 per cent of the stock was cleared and the rest was obsolete and ‘should probably be in a museum’.

He says about 50 companies were involved in the auctions, including NT printing players like Action Print, Zip Print and Colemans Printing, and included a significant interstate contingent whose bids ‘kept everyone honest’.

“The auctions exceed expectations both in attendance and interest and in sales,” he says.

“I think we got a good price and the government is happy with the result.”

The NT Government print office closed on May 8 after 36 years of operation because it had become seriously unprofitable, losing $761,000 last financial year, and when the decision was announced last December it had already lost $500,000 for FY14. Some 31 staff lost their jobs or were redeployed.

The government says an open public tender process will be undertaken over the next few months to establish a multi-supplier panel contract that will handle most of the annual $6m worth of printing work for the NT government.

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