Whirlwind’s demise a sign of the times

Whirlwind Print, one of Australia’s leading and most innovative trade printers, has called time on its Melbourne operation with details about what this means for staff and creditors unclear.

Rival trade printing giant CMYKhub has reportedly bought some of the assets of Whirlwind, taken over the lease of its Knoxfield factory with sources confirming to ProPrint Whirlwind’s customer list was also part of the deal.

Whirlwind Print staff are understood to be in meetings with Whirlwind owner Andrew Cester and CMYKhub’s chief executive officer Trent Nankervis on Wednesday where they expect to learn more about what the future holds.

The printing industry had been awash with rumours about Whirlwind in recent times with news finally emerging today that CMYKhub had made a move on some of its assets.

ProPrint had contacted Cester and Nankervis multiple times but was yet to hear back at the time of publication.

The industry has expressed sadness about the demise of Whirlwind with many pointing to the problems starting after the acquisition of Sydney printer Lindsay Yates in 2017 with plans to create a digital production hub in Sydney never realised.

ProPrint had received some communication from former Lindsay Yates staff who said the Sydney facility closed in January 2019.

LEP Colour Printers chief executive officer John Bromfield says the demise of Whirlwind proves that even the most iconic brands are not immune from the current operating environment.

“The demise of Whirlwind is a further reflection of the decline in the fine papers side of the print industry, where even such an iconic brand as Whirlwind is not immune to the difficult operating environment currently being experienced by printers,” Bromfield told ProPrint.

“This is unfortunately the sort of further consolidation the industry needed to have, in view of current over capacity, even in the trade printing space.

“You have to feel for the staff and their families who will be impacted by Whirlwind’s failure, but fortunately a lot of the staff are likely to find alternative employment.  LEP’s Port Melbourne factory already deals with a lot of the same customers as Whirlwind, so we are well placed to provide ongoing print supply to those customers and hopefully are able to offer employment to a number of Whirlwind’s operational staff, which will help support continuity of business relationships with Whirlwind’s trade customers.”

Numerous industry sources have spoken to ProPrint for this story but due to the potential legal ramifications asked not to be named.

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