Pageset in liquidation as tough trading and bad debts bite

The Melbourne-based trade services firm, a $7 million-turnover company that is one of the largest pre-press houses in the country, appointed Leonard Milner of Venn Milner as liquidator.

Staff, clients and suppliers were informed yesterday.

Pageset has faced a number of challenges in recent months. Major client McPhersons’ relocation out of Melbourne late last year was thought to have squeezed Pageset’s sales.

Bad debts have also played a major role.

The failure in March of book printer BPA also represented a bad debt of $130,000 to Pageset, according to BPA’s receiver, Deloitte, though it now appears the actual figure could be as high as $160,000.

BPA has since been bought out of receivership by unrelated company NewTone, while BPA’s former directors, Brett Turnley and Graham Burgess, have registered a new business, Kandooit Creatively.

Pageset has also had to wear a number of other bad debts in the past few years.

[Feature: Knock-on effects of bad debt]

John Della, Pageset’s managing director and a well-respected industry figure, told ProPrint he had pursued every option to try to save the business, including selling real estate, but was ultimately advised that a liquidation offered the best chance of a return to creditors.

“I am trying to do the best by my staff, my customers and my creditors. They have been loyal to me and I just want the best outcome out of a horrible situation.”

As a supplier of plates and pre-press services to printers, Pageset’s performance has always been pegged against conditions in the wider industry,

“My business is one of the biggest trade services in the country and the business was a reflection of the health of the print industry, which is not as healthy as it has been,” said Della.

“We are the heartbeat of our customers’ businesses. I told the liquidators not to just go in and turn the lights off. They will advertise the business and see if there are any interested parties.”

It is expected that the biggest creditors will be the tax office and Heidelberg, which held the contract to supply Pageset with Kodak plates.

“Heidelberg have been first class and I have hurt them,” said Della.

Pageset banks with NAB, whose exposure to printing companies has included bad debts to BPA, Troedel-DocucopyVega Press and Sands Print Group – all significant Melbourne printing firms that collapsed in the past 18 months.

[LinkedIn: Should the industry stop operating on credit?]

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