June 29, 2006
Quebecor World shuts Ohio plant
MONTREALQuebecor’s retooling continues on with the recent closure of its magazine printing operations in Red Bank, Ohio, in the Cincinnati area. The work will be transferred to the nearby facility in Lebanon, Ohio, and other plants in the company’s magazine platform by the end of the year. The Lebanon facilities are being expanded and new equipment will be added to accommodate the additional volume at the plant. Equipment from the Red Bank plant will be transferred or decommissioned. Approximately half of the 300 Red Bank employees will be offered transfers to Lebanon. The closure of the Red Bank facility will involve restructuring charges of approximately $4.2 million.
Tri-Graphic hires new Toronto sales force
OTTAWABook printer, Tri-Graphic Printing has hired Marg MacLeod to head up its Toronto sales force. MacLeod, who is well known in the industry for her work with the DIA (Digital Imaging Association), will be in charge of Tri-Graphic’s long-term marketing prospects in Toronto. She will head a new team comprised of Judy Lee-McKee, a 23-year veteran of Transcontinental Printing’s trade book division, and Rob Tucci, who worked for 14 years at Webcom. “We’re a medium-sized company and therefore more agile than the large printers. New markets call for new relationships; those are far easier to build when a company is nimble and has a consultative approach,” said MacLeod. Tri-Graphic is the only book printer in the province that does hardcover binding, which the company says offers it an edge in dealing with first-time authors who get a tax credit for hiring Ontario printers. Tri-Graphic is a 40-year-old family business. The company’s Toronto sales office has been active for 20 years and brings in 50% of its $13 million annual revenue.
June 27, 2006
Printera troubles continue
TORONTOCustom label printer Printera continues to struggle with financial difficulties. Late last week the company issued a press release revealing that, as a result of losing Labbatt’s business, it had contravened its borrowing agreements with secured lenders. The loss represented about 50% of its revenue. Printera has reached an agreement to repay a $5.5 million line of credit through cash collections of accounts receivables and finished goods inventories. However, it is still in discussion to reach an agreement with its term-debt lender to repay about US$10 million on equipmemt loans. Repayment will exhaust the company’s assets and as a result, eliminate all shareholder equity. Printera recorded sales in 2005 of about $31 million. On June 9, it was delisted from the TSX. Its market capitalization at the time was about $6 million.
Microsoft honours Webcom for software integration
TORONTOWebcom recently landed on the top of Microsoft’s list of companies that personify its new people-ready business campaign. The campaign focuses on companies finding the perfect balance between software technology and the ability of people to leverage that technology to ensure business success. This spring, Webcom’s IT and ERP (enterprise resource planning) business manager, Mark Delvecchio, attended Microsoft’s 2006 Convergence conference in Dallas, Texas as a guest panelist to provide a first-hand account of the gains Webcom has realized with its software integration. Webcom’s ERP system connects all the business process of book production. The integration merged 18 stand-alone systems into one to achieve 33% workflow improvement, a 25% improvement in tracking projects, and an ability to quickly generate cost estimates.
June 23, 2006
Transcontinental opens new book printing plant
Louisville, QCTranscontinental held an official opening ceremony for the new Transcontinental Gagné printing plant. The 153,000-square-foot facility has been operating for the past few weeks and is equipped with the latest technology for black-and-white book printing, an investment of more than $20 million. Its employee work force totals 325, a combination of consolidated existing jobs as well as 70 new positions. President and CEO Luc Desjardins said the new plant will focus on short and medium runs with half the production destined for the U.S. market, which should reduce the negative impact of the stronger Canadian dollar the threat from emerging countries. He said he also expects to reduce cycle times by half. Rémi Marcoux, founder of Transcontinental and chairman of the board of directors, said the opening was made possible by a concerted effort from the managers, the union, the employees, municipal official, and Investissement Quebec, which contributed a loan of $2.5 million. Since last year Transcontinental has invested $75 million in three projects including Louisville’s new book printing plant, new equipment at the printing plant in Beauceville, and an expansion and new equipment for Saint-Hyacinthe.
The official ribbon cutting from left to right: Ms. Francine Gaudet, member for Maskinongé in the Quebec National Assembly; Jean-Paul Diamond, mayor of Saint-Alexis-des-Monts; Rémi Marcoux, founder; Luc Desjardins, president and CEO; Guy Richard, mayor of Louiseville; Sylvain Paquin, representative for the member for Berthier-Maskinongé in the House of Commons.
PIA/GATF engages Toronto printers, creatives in production seminar
TORONTOSeveral print and creative professionals attended the seminar Mission: Possible, A Mutual Strategy for Creatives and Printers, yesterday, hosted by the PIA/GATF. Julie Shaffer, director of the PIA/GATF’s Centre for Imaging Excellence and David Watterson, art director of the centre, gave a lively joint presentation aimed at building a solid collaboration between creative and prepress professionals. The day-long seminar included everything from creating PDF files, the colour and font management issues, to soft proofing to image compression.
|PIA/GATF’s Julie Shaffer and David Watterson (right) with Design Edge Canada publisher Doug Bennet took time to pose for PrintCAN at the seminar.|
June 20, 2006
Print sector council on its way with new executive director
OTTAWAThe newly formed Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC) has appointed an executive director, Marie Eveline. CPISC co-chairs Duncan Brown and Jeff Ekstein recently announced the appointment. Eveline has more than twenty years’ experience in the not-for-profit education and association sectors, including 11 years as executive director of the Canadian School Boards Association. She was a founding member of the Canadian Alliance of Education and Training Organizations, an organization committed to assisting sector councils in linking with the education community. Eveline also serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Education Association and as a member of the Sectoral Commission on Education for UNESCO. The new CPISC is a not-for-profit organization responsible for the human resources strategy for the printing industries in Canada. Its mission is to identify and implement human resource and workforce development strategies and initiatives.
Metroland adds Gold Book division
TORONTOMetroland Printing, Publishing & Distributing, a subsidiary of Torstar, has added a Gold Book division to accelerate the expansion of Torstar’s print and online directory business. The new division will consolidate Torstar’s company-wide English-language directory initiatives under a single-focused organization with a mandate to accelerate the growth of both print and online directories. Torstar, through Metroland and City Media Group, produces 35 directories across Southern Ontario and an additional three Chinese language directories in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary through the jointly-owned Tao operation. Leading the new division as publisher of the Gold Book is David Turkstra, who already has experience launching several print copy Gold Book editions, as well as the expansion of Gold Book’s online business listings website, 701.com. Gold Book was acquired by Metroland from Turkstra a few years ago.
Warren Wilkins retires, new CEO named at Webcom
TORONTOWarren Wilkins, founder and chairman of Webcom Ltd., has retired from an active role in the company’s operations. Following his departure, Mike Collinge, assumes the position of president and CEO, and Jeff Wilkins, formerly president, takes over as corporate vice president. Collinge is a veteran of Webcom who was most recently vice president of sales and marketing. At the same time the company’s name is changing to Webcom Inc. from Webcom Ltd. Wilkins, 78, founded Webcom in 1975 building the company with an aggressive approach to technical innovations. Webcom was a leader in offering UV coating for book covers, lay-flat Otabind bookbinding, computer to plate technology, and digital printing. He has received numerous awards for his efforts on behalf of the industry, including being named Graphic Monthly Canada’s printer of the Year in 2003, and scooping the Graphic Arts Leaders of the Americas award from the PIA. Neither Wilkins nor Collinge were immediately available for an interview. Look for an update in the August issue of Graphic Monthly.
Transcontinental blames loonie for dip in Q2 revenue
MONTREALTranscontinental’s 2006 second quarter revenues were $553.7 million, down 1% from the same period last year. Net income decreased by 11%, from $37.8 million in the second quarter of 2005 to $33.7 million in 2006. The company says that although its operations showed signs of improvement, it could not offset the negative exchange-rate effect and competitive conditions in commercial and retail printing.
Transcontinental expects that its major restructuring projects, including its U.S. direct-marketing activities, newspaper publishing in the Atlantic provinces, and its new book printing plant in Louiseville, Quebec, will generate stronger profit margins during the second half of the year and in 2007. For the first half of the fiscal year, revenues increased 3% to $1.1 billion from $1.7 billion in the year-earlier period. Net income for the first half decreased by 8%, from $66.9 million to $61.6 million in 2006, also due mainly to the negative currency impact as well as slight increases in amortization and financial expenses.
June 13, 2006
CPIA extends early bird registration for conference
OTTAWAThe early bird registration date for the CPIA 2006 conference has been extended to June 28. Early birds can save a minimum of $100 on registration. This year’s conference will be held in Vancouver from September 15 to 16. A pre-conference golf day will take place on September 14. Also coinciding with the conference, on September 13 the British Columbia Institute of Technology will host its ribbon cutting ceremony for the new two-year Graphic Communications Technology diploma program. Visit www.cpia-aci.ca for highlights of the conference program and to register.
Vandalism escalates dispute at Le Journal printing plant
MONTREALLe Journal de Montreal, owned by the Sun Media division of Quebecor Inc., fired 44 pressroom workers this week for what it says was sabotage to plant equipment. The paper says the crew vandalized the equipment when they first walked off the job on June 4. The paper was printed at another printing facility after the press equipment was damaged. Reports on the damage said management could have been electrocuted by equipment that was tampered with or crushed by misplaced 1.5-ton paper rolls. A Quebecor Media spokesperson could not be reached for comment on further specifics of the equipment damage. A dispute between the paper and 115 workers affiliated to Teamster Local Union 41M has been brewing for weeks and negotiations came to a halt on June 1. According to the union, Le Journal management wished to cut the number of press operators from 10 to 2 while requiring mechanics take over tasks previously held by electricians and press operators or vice versa. Le Journal management says the average salary of unionized pressroom workers is $115,000 a year and that most of them have job security until they reach 65.
June 8, 2006
Transcontinental invests $25 million in flyer printing plant
MONTREALTranscontinental is investing $25 million in its Saint-Hyacinthe printing plant, located 60 km from Montreal. The investment an 8-unit KBA web press and related peripheral equipment and an extra 22,500 sq. ft. bringing the plant's total area to 142,500 square feet. It also includes modifications to the building structure to accommodate the new press, which will start operating in the spring of 2007. Transcontinental Saint-Hyacinthe specializes in flyer and insert printing, employs about 250 people and has annual revenues of around $100 million. It has sister plants in Brampton, Ontario and in Calgary, Halifax, and Vancouver. "This investment reflects the growth in our flyer and insert activities for major national chains as well as non-traditional and highly specialized advertisers," said Luc Desjardins, president and CEO of Transcontinental.
Canadian marketers to increase database marketing
MONTREALTranscontinental’s latest findings in its string of recent surveys reveals that 70% of marketers plan to increase their database marketing activities this year and 95% plan to remain committed to database marketing in general, positive news for print companies looking to grow their database management services. The findings are from the 2006 Database Marketing Survey which examined the attitudes of 143 senior marketing professionals in Canadian direct marketing industries. When asked about main areas of focus for their customer database over the next 12 months, participants listed leveraging data to drive marketing strategy and improving tracking and measurability of campaigns. Forty six per cent said the ability to gain customer insight and analysis was their biggest direct marketing-related challenge. Respondents also revealed their top three priorities for database marketing initiatives over the next three to five years to be profitability segmentation, multi-channel support for various touch points, and more frequent data updates.
Graphic Monthly on top of its game again
TORONTOGraphic Monthly, PrintCAN.com’s sibling publication, recently received honours for making the top five for each of the articles that were nominated for Kenneth R. Wilson awards for excellence in business writing. This round of professional achievement is the fifth year running that Graphic Monthly writers have made the top cut at the awards hosted by the Canadian Business Press, the national association of business publications. Printer of the Year (December 2005) a profile of Mary Black by freelance writer and former Graphic Monthly editor Nancy Clark What is a Quick Printer (April 2005) also by Clark and Growing FSC (December 2005) by associate editor Kate Calder each received top five certificates.
June 6, 2006
SMR-Tytrek renamed SmartDM
ETOBICOKE, Ont.SMR-Tytrek has been renamed SmartDM, as in smart direct mail. The new name comes just as the direct marketing and graphic finishing provider has completed its move from its downtown Toronto location to another facility just outside the city. The company says the company’s name better reflects it core competencies and areas of growth and is part of a re-branding exercise that reflects the consultative approach taken by its employees.
Quebecor boasts new catalogue contract
MONTREALQuebecor World has signed a multi-year contract to print Bass Pro Shops’ entire catalogue program. Quebecor already prints the company’s retail insert program and Sun Media manages Bass Pro Shops’ ROP advertising in the Toronto area. Quebecor World’s executive vice president of sales says, “Quebecor Media’s Canadian media properties will allow Bass Pro Shops to effectively conduct testing throughout their emerging Canadian markets using various advertising channels to increase store traffic and brand awareness in Canada.” Bass Pro Shops, a major catalogue and Internet retailer, is headquartered in the U.S. and has 33 locations in 21 States and Canada, with eight more locations scheduled to open by the end of this year.
June 01, 2006
Book publishers reveal attitudes on print
MONTREALTranscontinental recently conducted a survey among 100 North American book publishers called “Innovation at Work” offering glimpse of the innovations that drive publishing success. When asked how they define innovation as it pertains to their print suppliers, 32% of publishers referred to the latest technology in printing equipment and 28% referenced a printer’s knowledge of their business issues and the ability to suggest solutions to help their business grow. Survey participants were also asked in which area of the book publishing value chain they currently face the most pressure to innovate. Twenty-eight per cent answered printing, and 26% answered content management. Respondents also revealed that cost, timely delivery and cycle time are all top of mind when choosing a printer.
Quebecor World renews U.S. catalogue contract
MONTREALQuebecor World and Redcats USA, a U.S. catalogue and e-commerce company, have announced a multi-year contract renewal to produce Lane Bryant and Jessica London catalogues. The contract includes rotogravure printing , logistics services, mail list processing and premedia solutions. Quebecor also prints Redcats’s Chadwick’s catalogue, as well as BrylaneHome Kitchen title as well as direct mail campaigns.
|Paul Kett says:|