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Leading label print business Peacock Bros. has entered the folding carton market with the acquisition of AMR Hewitts, the specialist pharmaceutical and food print and packaging operation.

Excited: Ryan McGrath, group managing editor, Peacock Bros.
Strengthening: Ryan McGrath, group managing director, Peacock Bros.

Peacock Bros. says the acquisition will lead to the “smart packaging revolution” and digitised product solutions coming from AMR Hewitts, in what it describes as a time of “strong growth opportunities”. Major companies that work with AMR Hewitts include Aspen Pharmacare Australia, Ferrndale Foods and BIC Australia.

The deal, continuing the wave of industry mergers currently underway, will see the AMR Hewitts brand, Tullamarine factory, employees, plant and equipment remain as is, with the Hewitts owners, the Mimmo family, departing.

Ryan McGrath, group managing director at Peacock Bros., said, “We are delighted to announce the coming together of two of the great family run printing businesses in Australia, with 280 years of combined printing history, to create the most experienced local printing group in the country. The acquisition of AMR Hewitts will further strengthen Peacocks’ offerings in the printed packing marketplace, complementing our current range of colour labels and flexible packaging products.”

Andrew Crump, operations director at Peacock Bros., said, “We have acquired a business with a high reputation in the industry. We were looking to enter folding carton, as many of our label customers were asking us for product. It is a natural progression for us.

AMR Hewitts deal a win-win: Andrew Crump, operations director, Peacock Bros
AMR Hewitts deal a win-win: Andrew Crump, operations director, Peacock Bros.

“The deal is a win-win for both Peacock Bros., and AMR Hewitts, and for the Mimmo family. Once they decided to sell they wanted a business with similar family values to themselves, who would recognise the value of their people and understand the ethos of the business. It is a great fit for Peacock Bros.”

The 35 staff at AMR Hewitts will join the 125 at Peacock Bros., spread across its manufacturing plants in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. Matt Mimmo from AMR Hewitts said, “AMR Hewitts is a proud, family-run, business, with long-standing customers, who have come to know and trust the quality of our work. We are so pleased to be joining the Peacocks Group, given their shared values and operating culture, and knowing that our staff and customers will be looked after, and that the long history of the business and our brand will continue to grow into the future.”

Crump said, “The factory at Tullamarine is impressive. We will certainly be looking for cross pollination between the two businesses, and it takes us into pharmaceuticals, which is an exciting area.”

Acquired: Peacock Bros buys AMR Hewitts
Acquired: Peacock Bros buys AMR Hewitts

Hewitts was established in Melbourne in 1876 by Thomas Hewitt, starting as a printing shop on La Trobe Street. In 1985, Dandenong based printers AMR took over Hewitts’ operations, leading to the creation of AMR Hewitts PrintPackaging at Tullamarine. Just 12 years after Hewitts was originally established, Peacock Bros. was founded, and began its operations through brothers Ernest and Charles Peacock in 1888, who started a small general printing business in Sydney, before moving to Collins Street in Melbourne shortly after.

Both companies have innovation in their DNA. AMR Hewitts was the first business to introduce aqueous coating into Australia, and it has a range of enhancements including pearlescence, holographics, hot and cold foiling and braille, with security printing options including colour shift technology, micro printing, holograms and coin reactive inks.

The Peacock Bros. operation has both flexo and digital label print systems, and as well as printing offers a huge range of services to its clients, including warehousing, mobile data capture, fleet management and asset tracking.

McGrath said, “The smart packaging revolution is gaining momentum, and we are at the forefront. Our in-house manufacturing capabilities, integrated with this new technology, offer our customers a single supplier who can digitise their products and take them to market. Digitised product solutions such as anti-counterfeit, supply chain visibility, consumer brand engagement and recycling initiatives are just some of the solutions we specialise in, and the ability to now offer these solutions to the printed carton marketplace is exciting for our customers.

“The shift back to quality, locally manufactured, sustainable packaging post the Covid pandemic presents strong growth opportunities for printed packaging businesses, and Peacock Bros. looks forward to supporting AMR Hewitts’ highly regarded operations.”

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