Cactus has its main Australian production centre in Silverwater NSW, with a further sales and prepress operation in Melbourne. Former partner Keith Ferrel will remain with the company as general manager.
The deal represents the latest move by Knox into wide format, which began 12 months ago when it bought New Zealand business Omnigraphics. It then bought F Digital and F Display, also in New Zealand, and merged them into the Omnigraphic site at the start of the year. Five months ago it bought Cactus Imaging New Zealand.
Knox is a relatively new name to print, it originally came in as the private equity fund behind the buyout of short run book printer Ligare Press, and shortly after bought one of Ligare's main rivals Souithwood Press
Cliff Brigstocke, CEO of Knox Print Media Group says, "The wide and grand format printing sectors are set to realise strong growth in the coming years. Knox believes it is well placed to capitalise on this growth. With the purchase of Cactus Imaging in Australia we have the production power, market knowledge and in-house expertise to deliver the service the market requires."
The Cactus Australia purchase may not be the final piece in the wide format growth plan for Knox, Brigstocke says the company mayl be looking to add suitable businesses along the Australian east coast. Knox is also planning a significant capex in the Silverwater plant. At the same time the Knox book arm - Ligare and Southwood - will receive a significant capex on digital book production this year.
Brigstocke says, "With Cactus Imaging Australia joining our growing network of specialist print providers, we can now deliver grand and wide format print solutions in both New Zealand and Australia. A trans-Tasman offering is important for our customers who have locations in Australia and New Zealand as it ensures seamless production, the latest in technology and consistency whilst delivering the benefits of economies of scale".
Keith Ferrel says that after recent consultation with his business partner, they recognised the opportunity to join with a larger print specialist group in order to realise longer term goals, he says, "Knox Print Media has a proven record in supporting small to medium size specialist print business by developing a sound growth plan. The Knox team have a wealth of knowledge and their support during the transition phase has been fantastic. For me it is the best of both worlds, I remain in the business that I love and am passionate about, and have partners who will support me to further grow the business. For our customers, my message is business as usual with many potential benefi ts as we connect with the Knox Print Media group".