The Kingman premises in Malaga. Picture: Gera Kazakov

Kingman Signs folds after almost 40 years 

The Malaga-based sign shop entered administration January 29, putting over 70 employees out of work.
February 15, 2024
Gera Kazakov

ONE of Perth’s biggest signage companies – whose portfolio of work includes Midland St John of God Hospital, Optus Stadium, Perth Airport, and RAC – has shut its doors after nearly 40 years of operation.

Administrators Richard Tucker and John Bumbak from KordaMentha were appointed to Malaga-based Kingman Group Holdings and Kingman Signs and Graphics on January 29, breaking the news to the 75 staff employed at the workshop.

Kingman Group, formerly Kingman Visual, was started by Vernon Kingman in his garage in 1984.

It grew into one of the state’s biggest signage companies, before he sold the business in 2020.

Todd Grover and Norman Asch became majority shareholders in Kingman Group after the sale in 2020, while Mr Kingman moved onto consulting work afterwards, staying within the signage industry.

Prior to the duo becoming majority shareholders, Mr Asch was chair of marketing agency Roobix, while Mr Grover was a partner in the corporate finance team at accounting and advisory firm BDO Australia.

Mr Kingman said after leaving the business, he began to worry about the company’s shift into non-signage operations.

“I think diversification is an essential for all business, as long as it marries nicely with your core business,” Mr Kingman said.

“The core business has always been signage – always – and we have excelled in that arena.

“We’re the most awarded sign company in Australia, by far, over 55 national awards.”

The latest Facebook post shows completed signage for the new McLaren dealership, but other Facebook posts by the company also spruik its ability to manufacture and install electric vehicle charging stations.

“We’re not just suppliers but a powerhouse of talent – designers, draftsmen, fabricators, and sign makers, all under one roof,” one post reads.

“Choosing Kingman means more than just getting a charger; it’s embracing a complete turnkey solution.”

Another post details Kingman’s gold partnership and stand at the November 2023 Australian Electric Vehicle Association EV Expo.

“Be sure to visit our stand, marked as stand 25, to connect with our team and delve into all things EVC (electric vehicle charging),” the post reads.

“We take pride in our gold partner status and offer a wide range of certified Siemens EV chargers.”

Echo News has seen an internal letter to Kingman staff, dated January 17, which detailed difficulties that the company was facing, alongside an intention to train account managers in digital, solar cladding and EV charger sales.

“The signage industry is doing it tough. Quotations are ironically way up on last year (we have quoted $41 million in jobs in the past six months) but conversions to orders are dropping and have been for almost six months now,” the email reads.

“This is due to the slowdown in commercial construction and the economy, this is not a Kingman issue – the response from our customers is ‘delays to projects’.

“As a company we expect to reach $15m in total sales for this year and that is three to five times more than our nearest competitor and a 50 per cent growth on last year.

“As a management team we took our eyes off the ball in terms of financial discipline – our bad – and now we have to correct that.

“We are making the necessary changes so that we are not just the market leader in sales, but in profitability as well.

“It’s long overdue and we need to get this right to protect the company, its staff and its shareholders.”

Mr Kingman, now in his role as a signage consultant nationally, said the signage industry has never been busier.

“I consult sign companies all around Australia and I’m involved in the industry heavily” Mr Kingman said.

“The biggest problem the sign industry has right now is getting people.”

Mr Asch, Mr Grover, and the administrators KordaMentha were contacted for comment.

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