Industry hit as Sydney Binding closes its doors

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The print industry is in shock as Sydney Binding closes its doors, the owners pulling the pin on one of the only two major perfect binding trade houses in the country.

Peter Halter: Sydney Binding closed
Peter Halter: Sydney Binding closed

Peter Halter, one of the four owners of the business, said the dramatic downturn in print since the coronavirus hit Australia six weeks ago forced the business to close.

He said, "It was Covid that got us. We have been around a long time and through several recessions, but never anything as bad as this."

Along with Halter, the other owners included John McPherson, Emeh Freelingos and George Austin. The business has around two dozen staff.

The company told customers on Friday it would not be taking any new work. It is currently processing existing orders. The equipment has been sold to machinery dealer Binding Machinery Services, which is now offering it for sale.

Halter said, "I ran through the figures for the next six and 12 months, and for us it made better sense to close the doors now, rather than risk running up debt."

Sydney Binders had the full suite of finishing services, with a pair of Muller Martini Acoro perfect binding lines as the centrepiece of its production offering. It also offered folding, saddlestitching, wire-o-binding, guillotining, sewing, die cutting, and gluing.

The company was created five years ago but has a six-decade heritage. It was formed through the merger of McPherson Binding and Graphic Bookbinding, which came through a tightening market in 2015. McPherson Binding was established in 1979, while Graphic Bookbinding has been around since 1963.

The demise of Sydney Binders leaves Australia with just one major perfect binding trade house, Marvel Bookbinding in Melbourne. Six months ago there were three, with The Bindery in Melbourne, which collapsed in November, also operating a perfect binding service.

There are smaller trade houses such as Wayne Rubin's Twin Loop which offers short to medium run perfecting binding, but all long run work will now go to Marvel. Major printers including IVE and Ovato have their own inhouse perfect binding lines.

Marvel owner Wayne Easthaugh said, “It is a tough market for everyone. We have seen a dip, I have had to put the afternoon shift off for now, but we have enough work.”


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