It’s tough being in the paper business: the high dollar is slicing margins and the big printing companies are using their buying clout to undermine prices. PaperlinX is suffering, as are others in the paper game, and now the big squeeze has claimed its first victim – Sydney-based distributor Moirs Paper has closed, throwing 54 people out a job, as online print industry newsletter Print 21 reports:

The board of Alexander Moir & Co issued a statement saying that following its decision to cease trading as a paper merchant, it intends exiting the industry in an orderly fashion with minimum disruption to customers. The arrangement with Focus is intended to bridge the transition period.

Alexander Moir & Co was a family-owned company but is now held privately by independent investors. It is the latest independent paper merchant to feel the heat following Jaeger Paper’s takeover by KW Doggett last year and CPI’s incorporation of Boomerang Paper.

It fell victim to the increasing power of printers to reject price rises for paper, according to Chris Gersbach, Moirs marketing manager and industry veteran. “The customer base is changing. Printers are forming into larger groups and really putting the squeeze on. Despite increases in volumes, merchants’ profit margins are being cut all the time. I only hope other paper merchants learn the lesson from us and take stock about getting reasonable returns,” he said.

Peter Fray

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