News Archives
December 2004
December 24, 2004
Rudolf’s origins lie in promotional give-away
The story of Rudolf was originally printed in 1939 as a childrens’ give-away booklet for the Chicago-based department store, Montgomery Ward. The store had been buying and giving away pre-printed colouring books at Christmas and decided that producing and printing its own booklet would save money. Robert May, a thirty-four-year-old copywriter came up with the story and 2.4 million copies of the booklet were handed out that year. Wartime paper shortages resulted in shorter print runs for the next several years. However, by 1946, six million copies of the story had been handed out. May eventually persuaded Montgomery Ward to hand over the rights to his creation and the book, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, was printed commercially in 1947. The story was shown in theatres as a nine-minute cartoon in 1948. Gene Autry then recorded the song in 1949 and it went on to become one of the best selling songs of all time, second only to “White Christmas.”

Happy Holidays from PrintCAN! Look for more print industry news in the New Year.

December 17, 2004
Transcontinental revenues pass $2 billion
MONTREAL—Transcontinental reports that its revenues for fiscal 2004, ended on October 31, surpassed $2 billion on an 8% increase. Revenues in the company's two printing sectors, Information Products Printing and Marketing Products Printing, rose 10% to $714 million and 9% to $909 million respectively. The two printing sectors also recorded healthy increases of 8% and 11% in the fourth quarter, helped by the contributions of Optipress and CC3 in the U.S. But net income slid to $129 million in fiscal 2004 from $143 million in 2003, taking a deep cut in the fourth quarter to $28 million from $47 million. Transcontinental attributes the decrease to the write-down of goodwill in the Mexican operations, an expense related to revised manufacturing operations and a $6 million hit as a result of a lawsuit in California that did not go well for the company. However, Transcontinental also states that it retains financial flexibility and will be seeking more acquisitions in its strategic niches in Canada and the U.S.

December 14, 2004
Three Ottawa printers file for creditor protection
OTTAWA—At least three printers here have filed a notice of intention to seek creditor protection while they work through tough financial times. Delta Printing, a local commercial printer, filed its notice on Nov. 9 after the Bank of Nova Scotia called in its loan. A creditor proposal is expected to be filed by Jan. 21, 2005. According to CEO Claude Choquette, Delta hit hard times in the aftermath of the federal sponsorship scandal when the federal government cuts its communications spending. Sales at Delta were slashed by 50% and its staff was reduced to 70 from 105. But Choquette says he is confident he will submit a proposal creditors can accept, especially as government spending has been picking up. He expects to finish the year with $10 million in sales, down from $12.5 million in 2003. Scotiabank, PrintCAN has learned, also called in its loan at Tri-Graphic Printing, which resulted in the company filing a notice of intention seeking creditor protection on Nov. 15. A restructuring plan was to be filed by Dec. 15, but Tri-Graphic may get an extension. Deloitte & Touche has confirmed that it has been appointed trustee for the company, but no one from Tri-Graphic was available for comment. The company posted sales of $15 million in 2003. The third shop to file a notice of intention is Union Engraving, a $3-million-a-year shop with roots going back to 1917. President Robert Leedy says he filed a voluntary notice seeking creditor protection after a half-web installation dragged on for more than a year and landed him in a tight financial spot. He says he plans to file a creditor proposal on Dec. 24 and is confident that it will be accepted as the press is now running around the clock.

December 10, 2004
Bolder Graphics shuts offset operations
CALGARY—Bolder Graphics has closed its offset plants and is focusing on its core specialties—large format screen printing, large format digital printing and loose leaf products such as binders—contrary to rumours floating around the industry that the shop was sold. Bolder is still taking on offset work to outsource to trade shops, but its own offset operations in Calgary and Edmonton have been closed. Its sole location is now in Calgary. President Kevin McCoy says that in downsizing, the company has gone from 170 employees to 70, and sales offices in Vancouver, Seattle and Kansas City, Missouri were closed.

Data files prospectus to become income fund
BRAMPTON, Ont.—A prospectus has been filed with each provincial securities authorities that would see Data Business Forms become an income trust. According to the prospectus, the fund company would be known as The Data Group Income Fund, and it would own 100% of the common shares of Data Business Forms. It was formed on November 15. Data is currently owned by Workflow Management Inc., of Florida, which would hold an unspecified number of shares in the fund company. The fund company would continue to be run by current CEO David Odell, who will also be one of the fund company’s trustees. Units will be offered at $10 each, but no details have been released about the date of the offering or the number of shares to be issued.

December 7, 2004
B.C. shop expands and moves
DELTA, B.C.—International Web Express is in the process of expanding and moving into a new 20,000 sq. ft. facility in Coquitlam, B.C. The shop will be adding another shift and taking on more employees. It is also updating its web capabilities with a Hantscho 40” web press and new CTP equipment. It already runs a 29” sheetfed press. The shop, which produces commercial work such as telephone books and government manuals, is planning to take on more work such as flyers and added government jobs. The new facility will be up and running at the beginning of January.
In other B.C. news, Printcraft in Burnaby has been sold. Owner Edwin Shindel said the transaction took place two months ago and the shop was bought from within.

December 3, 2004
Presstek to close separate Canadian entity
TORONTO—Presstek recently announced that the Canadian market will not be treated as a separate entity, but will be incorporated into the broader North American market. The Canadian operations of A.B. Dick, which Presstek acquired on November 5, will report to Michael McCarthy, based in Chicago, who also serves as general manager of A.B. Dick North America. No other changes have been announced, but Presstek’s Bill Davison, vice president of corporate business development, says the company will maintain the A.B. Dick brand, and will spend the first 100 days of the acquisition putting business processes in place, before instituting any possible changes to the operation, including to the product portfolio.

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