• Greg Barraclough released details of the deal at this month's Office Choice expo on the Gold Coast.
    Greg Barraclough released details of the deal at this month's Office Choice expo on the Gold Coast.

Penfold by Office Choice has merged with Toner Express to form a new entity under the name United Office Choice, effective 1 November.

Melbourne-based Toner Express specialises in toner and ink cartridge supply and has annual turnover of around $13 million. Adelaide-based Penfold by Office Choice operates eight offices across four states and currently employs 90 staff.

Greg Barraclough, managing director of Penfold by Office Choice, told Stationery News that the new company will be the second-largest independent office supplies group in Australia behind Complete Office Supplies (COS).

Barraclough said he and Douglas Lee, owner of Toner Express, had discussed the possibility of a merger for a number of years. It's understood at least one other group had also expressed interest in acquiring Toner Express.

“Everything we do is about challenging ourselves and making inroads to something bigger and better. I couldn’t think of anything more exciting than joining forces with a reputable business like Toner Express,” Barraclough said. “Douglas and I are good operators in our own right. But together, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with."

Lee added: “I like Greg’s work ethic. He’s a no nonsense operator. That’s the way business should be done. I’m looking at retiring soon so he’ll only have to put up with me for a little longer.”

Lee appointed Tim Champion last year as managing director of Toner Express with a brief to improve the company's offering, extending its range into office products, and to drive an online proposition.

“The merger has been part of that process,” Lee said.

Brad O'Brien, CEO of the Office Choice group, said, “Greg and Douglas are consummate professionals. Genuine business people want the best for their future and have the foresight to see efficiencies. It’s about having a vision and doing everything you can to shape your future. It’s a similar sentiment to our long-term brand plan.”