Office Products News

  • Former Blue Star CEO and well-healed businessman Tom Sturgess.

‘Rich Lister’ joins battle for NZ office supplies

11 July 2018

The battle for New Zealand’s NZ$400 million contract office supplies business has moved up a gear.

Sydney-based Winc may have secured the purchase of OfficeMax New Zealand by off-loading its NZ business but the private equity-owned company could find its former Kiwi enterprise a much tougher operator under its new owner.
 
The New Zealand Commerce Commission last week announced it had approved the purchase of Winc NZ for an undisclosed amount by TSPV1, a Tiri Group subsidiary, resolving competition concerns arising from its owner, Platinum Equity, buying rival stationery and office products firm OfficeMax Australia and New Zealand.
 
Tiri Group is a diversified engineering and distribution business, which is 85 per cent owned by highly-regarded businessman Tom Sturgess, a Vietnam War veteran who knows a thing a two about office products.
 
A so-called ‘Rich Lister’ worth an estimated NZ$315 million, Sturgess emigrated from the US to New Zealand in 1996 to lead the Blue Star Group. He bought Blue Star's print business in 2001, sold it and bought it back in 2013.
 
Sturgess, a former CEO of US Wholesalers Associated and United Stationers,  is chairman of New Zealand King Salmon Inc. and was previously a board member of Goldman Sachs JB Were (NZ) Private Equity Fund and executive chair of A&R Whitcoulls Group Holdings.
 
The classic motorcycle enthusiast is also a significant pastoral land owner through a 72 per cent stake in Lone Star Farms that runs several sheep and beef properties, carrying around 100,000 stock from Wairarapa to Otago.
 
Tiri Group companies manufacture and market a wide range of products and services which include:

• engineering solutions;
• electrical products including insulators;
• sheet metal and laser cutting services;
• containment systems;
• roofing and waterproofing solutions;
• conveyor systems;
• wallcovering products
 
Winc’s office supplies business seems a good fit for Tiri Group’s corporate portfolio and the company will no doubt be looking to increase its revenue, which was around NZ$78 million (in the 11 months to December 2017).
 
OfficeMax Holdings, which also operates the Croxley and NZ Office Products brands, reported total revenues of NZ$309 million for the year to 30 December 2017 and a net loss of NZ$16.2 million after deducting an impairment of a $28 million loan to its former parent company OfficeMax International.
 
Details of any name change for Winc NZ have yet to be announced.