News Archives
April 2000
April 28, 2000
Ottawa-area printer bags $140,000 federal grant
PLANTAGENET, Ont. — Commercial printer Imprimeries Plantagenet Printing (turnover $1.75 million on 17 employees) has been awarded a $140,000 grant from Human Resources Development Canada. “We had a good business plan with the intention of creating new jobs, and that’s what we’re gonna do,” said owner Louis Delorme, adding that he intends to invest an additional $325,000 into his bindery department. His shop, just east of Ottawa, prints short-run four-colour work, books and newsletters. Asked what he had to do to get the grant, Delorme replied: “A whole lot of paperwork.” He anticipates sales to double within two years. Minister of State Don Boudria dropped by for a coffee two days ago and made the announcement.

Thomson rebuffs unions’ offer
OTTAWA — A joint offer by the Graphic Communications International Union and the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers union to purchase five Canadian daily newspapers from Thomson Corp. has been rejected. An industry source said the offer exceeded $300 million. Gail Lem, the CEP’s national VP, media, said the unions’ partnered with a venture capital firm to mount their offer. She declined to name the firm.

Quebecor settles smelly-books lawsuit
DALLAS, Tex. — The book publisher that was suing a Quebecor Printing plant in Dallas has dropped its suit. Heritage Publishing Inc. was seeking US$12.5 million in damages alleging that Quebecor had delivered a stinking batch of scratched product. The out-of-court settlement is rumoured to be less than 1% of the sought-after amount, but one Quebecor official would only say that the settlement was so small as to be “not material.”

April 25, 2000
“Crown jewel” Crain-Drummond for sale
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. — Reynolds and Reynolds Co. of Dayton, Ohio, has announced that it intends to sell its Information Services Group (ISG), a $1-billion-turnover operation of which Boucherville-based forms printer Crain-Drummond is a $200 million part. During a break from meetings with prospective buyers in Dayton yesterday, Crain-Drummond CEO-designate Mohamed Yacoub told PrintCAN that a buyer will likely be selected within four to six weeks. “We don’t normally get sold and feel excited about it,” Yacoub said, but with the company experiencing double digit growth and profit margins, it’s believed that cleaving the document management division away from R&R’s automotive retailer software division will allow the ISG to attract the capital it needs for continued growth in document management solutions and e-commerce initiatives.
R&R VP of corporate communications Paul Guthrie says ISG is regarded as the “crown jewel,” adding that Crain-Drummond will not be sold separately. Jocelyn Brisson, Crain-Drummond’s president and CEO since 1993, retires next Monday. Crain-Drummond employs about 1,240 people at Canadian printing plants in Moncton, Drummondville, Hemmingford, Brockville, Orangeville, Brampton and Medicine Hat, as well as digital printing centres in Montreal, Brampton, Winnipeg and Calgary. Yacoub also stated that Crain-Drummond recently signed a multi-year, multi-million-dollar printing services contract with Manulife Financial, prompting it to open a distribution centre in Mississauga, Ont. Although a spin-off-via-IPO for the ISG is possible, Yacoub said this was unlikely. He confirmed there are no Canadian companies bidding for ISG.

April 18, 2000
Transcon in talks with Quebecor, St. Joe
MONTREAL — Transcontinental Publishing president Andre Prefontaine said yesterday the company is “currently having conversations with St. Joe and Quebecor” to repatriate printing contracts linked with the $150 million acquisition of 11 consumer magazines from Telemedia in January. Asked to comment on rumours that Transcontinental is currently unwilling to print the perfect-bound, digest-format TV Guide, and that it would seek to renew that printing contract with Quebecor, Prefontaine said: “I’m not going to speculate on that because that’s the content of our conversations with Quebecor and we haven’t completed them so I will not speculate.” Prefontaine couldn’t say how long the talks will continue, but admitted they began as soon as the Telemedia deal closed.

April 14, 2000
Film bureau acquires rival, gets DI press
HALIFAX — Film-based prepress bureau Maritime Photoengravers Ltd., founded 73 years ago in Halifax, has purchased employee-owned, scanning house rival N.S. Digital Technologies for an undisclosed sum. The deal closed last week. The merged entity, Maritime Digital Colour Inc., employs 32 staff and is expected to generate sales of between $3 million and $3.5 million this year, according to general manager Jim Murphy. The company recently invested $1 million in new equipment, including a folder, a cutter and a Heidelberg QM46DI press—the only DI in the province.

Newfoundland Capital buys another sheet printer
MONCTON, N.B. — Newfoundland Capital Corp., the lately acquisitive Maritime company with interests in radio broadcasting and printing, has annexed another sheetfed printer. Moncton-based T.K. Printing Ltd., with estimated sales last year of about $1.6 million, was purchased by NCC in January. NCC is the largest commercial printer in Atlantic Canada with estimated sales of $26 million. Last year, NCC paid an estimated $10 million for sheetfed printers Atlantic Nova Print (Halifax) and McCurdy Printing (Dartmouth).

PLM signs Quebecor, Sun Media vets to board
MARKHAM — Publicly traded commercial printer PLM Group Ltd. announced last week the addition of two new directors—former World Color and Quebecor Printing (USA) CEO James Dawson and Bruce Jackson, former Sun Media CFO and chairman of Bowes Publishers.

April 11, 2000
Herald's rookie pressmen on high alert
CALGARY — Talks between the Southam-owned daily Calgary Herald and its 103 pressmen and mailroom staff collapsed on Saturday when 92% of the workers voted to reject the company’s offer. A strike vote has been set for April 21-22. Meanwhile, the Herald continues to cope with a bitter editorial strike now in its sixth month. In an interview yesterday, publisher Dan Gaynor said that if press operators do strike, he can deploy specially trained staff who are ready to burn plates and keep the presses rolling. “We wouldn’t have taken all this time to prepare to put out an entire newspaper without a newsroom and somehow not bother to train a few press operators,” Gaynor said. "You can ssume that we are fully and completely prepared."

Heidelberg free to pursue small-format CTP
TORONTO — No longer bound by its 1997 joint venture (JV) agreement with Creo, Heidelberg is free to pursue certain avenues previously closed. Heidelberg Canada president Bill Blair said yesterday that the company now has an opportunity to deliver affordable, small-format CTP platesetters to its clientele. “There were some restrictions in the JV that prevented us from manufacturing our own CTP device,” Blair said. “Eighty per cent of our customers in Canada are medium- to small-size printers—we need a CTP offering for those people; the Trendsetter didn’t fit everywhere, particularly in its price point, so we see this as an opportunity to service the largest part of our existing customer base better.” The new 4-up CTP platesetter will be based on the Primesetter imagesetter platform. “I’m hearing that it will be available this fall but I don’t have anything firmer than that at this point.”

April 07, 2000
Creo-Heidelberg marriage is kaput
BURNABY — In late-January, when Creo announced its dramatic acquisition of the prepress division of rival Scitex, it was a deal that instantly put Creo on a competitive footing with ally Heidelberg on certain product lines including scanners and imagesetters. At the time, Heidelberg declined to comment but sources say the company was stung by the Creo/Scitex axis. Negotiations to grease competitive frictions recently broke down. On April 5, Creo issued a terse statement that itself and Heidelberg were “unable to agree on modifications to the joint-venture agreement [signed in 1997] necessary as a result of the merger of Creo and Scitex prepress operations.” Consequently, Creo “exercised its right to end the Heidelberg/Creo joint venture.” Heidelberg weighed in hours later by declaring that it intends to introduce CTP solutions under its own brand name and that it continues to develop a platform for small-format platesetters. Heidelberg retains the right to sell Creo’s Trendsetter platesetter and the Prinergy workflow. Reached yesterday for comment on the news, Creo VP of business strategy Dave Brown said “we see it as more of an evolution than a severing or break [of our relationship with Heidelberg].”

Sales erosion killed Parr’s Print&Litho
MARKHAM, Ont. — The loss of large clients contributed to the downfall of Parr’s Print & Litho, said former principal Don Johnstone. Parr’s declared bankrupt on Valentine’s Day this year after falling nearly $1 million in debt. Johnstone said sales peaked at $8 million in 1990 but began to erode due to the migration of large accounts, including a contract to print the paint can labels for a large supplier to Canadian Tire. “We decided whether it was worthwhile carrying on with this erosion taking place or would we call it to a halt,” Johnstone said. “I’m at age 75 and I wasn’t interested in going back to what I started with 30 years ago when sales were $465,000. I didn’t want to do that all over again.”

April 04, 2000
Gord Griffiths is back in business
TORONTO — Less than two months after his Feb. 1 dismissal as president of St. Joseph Printing for still-undisclosed reasons, PrintCAN has learned that Gordon Griffiths has re-emerged as founder of Gordon Group Enterprises, a home-based business consultancy focused on cost reduction and profit improvement for graphic arts companies as well as print and paper purchasers. Griffiths has 36 years of printing industry experience.
Label printer accepts $10M offer for oddball asset
TORONTO — Publicly traded label printer Invesprint—whose operations include Beckett Corp., Jay Packaging Group, Jonergin and Kree Technologies Inc.—has received a $10.2 million offer from a merchant bank for its eccentric 9.8% stake in Toronto’s ExtendMedia, a leading developer of Web-based multimedia productions. Invesprint is in the process of selling all its holdings to the highest bidder in an attempt to “unlock” the value of its under-performing stock, CEO Leland Verner has said. Sales last year were $99.4 million on 450 employees. CFO Wes DeShane said 25 companies have so far come round to kick the tires of the firm’s label printing operations, which are expected to fetch upwards of $40 million. Interested buyers have until April 13 to submit offers. The offer for ExtendMedia (formerly known as Digital Renaissance) comes from Toronto-based MWI & Partners, a privately owned bank founded in 1996 which manages more than $100 million in assets. The sale could close by month’s end if other ExtendMedia shareholders such as BCE Inc. and Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. fail to exercise their right to first refusal.

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