Owner and well-known industry identity Roger Kirwan will leave the print industry, after a long career, which began in New Zealand, with 20 years in senior management roles, including a stint as part of Geon .

Rival trade house Guru Labels will take over the Foxcil customer list, with Foxcil general manager Carl Butchard moving to Guru to handle the customers, from its print facility at Lisarow on the NSW Central Coast.

Kirwan cites investment in low cost digital label presses by an increasing number of commercial and label print businesses as impacting on his trade, along with the cost of reinvestment in new equipment as the prime reasons for his decision to close the Brookvale-based business. He said, “Innovation and retooling are essential in print to remain current and continue producing exceptional results. Sadly, the costs associated with retooling with the latest technology and equipment is something we at Foxcil can no longer keep up with. For this reason, we ceased manufacturing.”

Guru Labels and Foxcil have been friendly rivals for a decade, competing and co-operating as appropriate. Like Foxcil, Guru runs Xeikon digital label presses. Nick Lowe, owner of Guru Labels said, “We are sad to see the Foxcil business finalise in this way, but we are humbled that we have been approached to look after the Foxcil customers moving forward. Guru and Foxcil have been responsible for pushing both businesses to excel over the past decade, providing everything from healthy competition through to co-operative joint ventures. We have always held Roger and his team in high regard, and they should be proud of the business they have created in the digital label space. We are thrilled to welcome Carl to the team and we look forward to extending his journey in the print industry, by continuing to promote quality label products and service under Guru Corporation.”

Foxcil customers can continue to contact and deal with Butchard directly going forward. All existing Foxcil communication channels remain open and will feed into Guru.

Kirwan said, “Guru is one of Australia’s most trusted and innovative label manufacturers that operate a state-of-the-art print facility in Lisarow on the NSW Central Coast. Nick and the team have 22 years of print experience and have recently invested heavily in the latest label technology. For these reasons, and for the synergies in print and finishing equipment between our businesses, they have been chosen to service the Foxcil customers.”

All of Foxcil’s existing plant and equipment, including its digital label presses, CI solvent press, numerous label finishing equipment, and factory fittings, will all be divested in an extensive auction, scheduled for mid to late April with Grays online.

Speaking on the end of his time in print Kirwan said, “I am saddened that this is how Foxcil will end, but I am pleased that this has resulted in the ongoing employment of my friend and right hand man Carl Butchard. Our remaining Foxcil staff have been assisted in finding new roles within the industry, whilst some are taking the opportunity to travel or open exciting new chapters in their lives. I would personally like to thank all my staff for their loyalty and hard work over the past 10 years.”
Kirwan established Foxcil as a trade label printing business in 2012, installing a Xeikon 3030 at its premises in Brookvale, NSW. A chartered accountant by profession, he started in print 25 years ago, at flexible packaging printer Mainguard in New Zealand, then became head of Kiwi Labels in Christchurch, then moved to Australia has head of operations at Geon. He left Geon a year before it crumbled to establish Foxcil as a digital trade label print busines. Four years later Foxcil bought Roller Poster, and with it gained a six-colour VK Simon CI flexo press, a press Kirwan knew well from his time at Mainguard. He changed the name to Creatabull Flexibles, and then rebranded it and all group companies under the Foxcil brand four years ago.

As well as a technology pioneer Foxcil was one of the more progressive companies in print: it trialled a four day week, and sent care packages to remote communities. During Covid it was one of the print businesses that answered the call to pivot into PPE, producing plastic face masks.

Kirwan was a well known promoter of print and innovation, taking opportunities to attend trade events and expos, and travel to overseas conventions, trade shows and supplier customer events. He almost lost his life on a trade visit to the US, when an out-of-control car careered into the outdoor seating area of a café he was at, killing one of the people he was with, and sending him to hospital with a series of broken bones.

Signing off Kirwan said, “For me personally, after being in senior management print positions for over 20 years, the time has come for me to call time on this chapter in my life. I would like to thank Nick and his team for stepping in, welcoming Carl, and ensuring Foxcil customers have continuity of supply.

“I have loved the industry, and I value the many connections and friends I have made through the years. It is time for a new chapter in my life, most likely outside of the industry.”

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Print 21 is Australia and New Zealand's premier graphic arts and printing industry management magazine. The bi-monthly publication combines the highest production values to illustrate the best in graphic arts printing, embellishment and paper quality.
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