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Chairman out at Ovato: Michael Hannan takes over 

Former IPMG chairman Michael Hannan is the new head of the region’s biggest print company Ovato following the sudden resignations of former chairman Matthew Bickford-Smith and director Terry Sinclair.

hannan bickford smith
 (l-r) New Ovato chairman Michael Hannan, and former chairman Matthew Bickford-Smith

The move comes a couple of months after Ovato posted a loss of $4.4 million for the 2019 financial year, compared to last year’s profit of $1.1m, with its net loss blowing out to $84.3m after the addition of significant items. Sales of $669m were down $64m on lower revenue from Ovato Australia.

In an announcement to the ASX on Tuesday, Ovato Limited said: “Matthew Bickford-Smith has resigned with immediate effect as a director of the OVT Board following discussions with the majority shareholder. Terry Sinclair has also tendered his resignation.

“Following the resignations, the Ovato Board has appointed Michael Hannan as Chairman. Mr Hannan holds a wealth of experience in running print, distribution and media services companies through his previous experience as the chairman of IPMG and is a substantial shareholder in Ovato.”

header logoHannan said: “These resignations and my appointment come about at an important juncture for the company as we complete the NSW site consolidation and marks the final phase of the integration following the merger of IPMG and PMP in early 2017. As we pass this milestone, it is important that we now revisit the experience and skill set of the Board to best assist management in improving shareholder returns in this next phase of the Company.

“The Board understands the importance of rebalancing the Board with a majority of independent directors and I look forward to announcing the appointments of these individuals as soon as possible.”

“On behalf of the Board and shareholders I would like to personally thank Matthew for his considerable impact over the past ten years as a Director, eight years as Chairman, and more importantly his valuable input since the merger. His efforts and those of Terry have helped guide us in the development and evolution of the Company post-merger.”

In September, Ovato booked a loss of $4.4 million for the 2019 financial year, saying revenue had been hit by a fall in newspaper volumes that was greater than expected, increased competition following the printing alignment between Fairfax and News Corp and softer retail conditions.

The company said its new 80PP press was on schedule for commissioning in November 2019 at the new Super Site in Warwick Farm, Sydney, and would generate annualised cost savings of $24m.