News Archives
May 2000
May 30, 2000
Another Canadian bindery eyeing US?
TORONTO — Rumour has it that Reliable Bookbinders Ltd. is seeking to expand into the United States. “At this point I’m not really at liberty to say,” said controller Bernie Fernandez when asked for confirmation. Owner David Johnson is attending the German printing industry trade show Drupa, and could not be reached for comment. Last week, Cosgrove-Moore Bindery Services CEO Carey Moore said his company is hoping to buy a second bindery facility stateside after having received $2.85 million in bridge financing from Markham-based Century Services Inc.

Benwell Atkins in talks with Quality Colour
VANCOUVER — Rumours of a possible merger between Vancouver’s full-service commercial printer Benwell Atkins Ltd. and Edmonton’s Quality Colour Press Inc. are true. Don Atkins confirmed yesterday that the two companies—the 68th and 41st largest printers in the country respectively—have been talking for “quite a long time.” The two companies already share a working relationship, Atkins said, but “if you’re living common law, why get married?” Nevertheless, he didn’t rule out a formal trip to the altar. He deferred further comment to his brother, company president Bryan Atkins, who did not return calls. Quality Colour Press, which is owned in part by Moore Corp. and Ron Wataminuk, had sales last year of about $32 million on 240 employees and counts Edmonton’s Print Stop and Screaming Colour as subsidiaries. Benwell Atkins is reported to have had sales last year of $14.1 million on 115 employees and is the eighth largest printer in the greater Vancouver area according to the tabloid newspaper Business in Vancouver. Quality Colour CEO Richard McCallum is in Germany and could not be reached for comment. Should the two companies merge, they would rank as the 32nd largest printer in Canada.

May 26, 2000
Hazeldine resurfaces as a Hemlock strategist
VANCOUVER — Jack Hazeldine, former owner of Hazeldine Printing Ltd.—which declared bankruptcy in February as a result of stalemated union negotiations—has been hired by Hemlock Printers as manager of business development. Prior to euthanizing his business, Hazeldine told PrintCAN in March, he had an ambitious five-year domestic expansion plan which would have grown sales by about 20% to over $10 million. However, collective agreement negotiations with the Graphic Communications International Union, begun in 1997, reached an impasse. Hazeldine maintains that union demands prevented him from operating at parity with his non-union rivals.

St. Joseph to print federal census booklets
CONCORD, Ont. — Census Canada has awarded St. Joseph Printing a $4 million contract to print millions of census questionnaires. CEO Tony Gagliano said the print job, which was open to public tender, begins next month. St. Joseph Printing—a privately owned company gearing up for a public offering as early as next year—continued its recently initiated pattern of disclosure this week by announcing first quarter results as of March 31, which included a jump in sales to $63.8 million, up 6% from last year’s Q1 figure.

Cosgrove-Moore gets money, looks stateside
TORONTO — Cosgrove-Moore Bindery Services, under Bankruptcy Act protection since March 3 after posting a $1.3 million loss last year, announced two days ago that it has arranged $2.85 million in “mezzanine financing” from a private financial institution. The new financing is a critical component of the bindery’s plan to keep creditor Bank of Nova Scotia at bay, to which it owes $2 million. In an interview yesterday, CEO Carey Moore said his company is once again considering buying a U.S.-based bindery, adding that “a few” operations have already been scrutinized, all of which are within 800 km. of the border. “We’ll be looking at generating some lost momentum,” he said.

PLM spends $2.5 million to bring bindery in-house
MARKHAM, Ont. — Variegated commercial printer PLM Group Ltd. announced earlier this month that it will spend $2.5 million to outfit a leased 140,000-sq.-ft. facility into a bindery. The leased building is adjacent to existing PLM plants in Markham and will be operational late this year. The company will also relocate its direct marketing, half web and distribution operations to the new facility. PLM expects the investment to break even by 2003. The company also released first quarter results, described by PLM CEO Barry Pike as “far from adequate.” The company said “aggressive pricing” and “soft market conditions” in the commercial printing industry contributed to a 1.7% drop in sales to $23.1 million, compared to $23.5 million in 1999’s first quarter.

Creo, Heidelberg come to terms
VANCOUVER — After terminating its three-year-old joint venture agreement with Heidelberg early last month due to competitive frictions, Creo Products announced last week that it has realigned with the world’s largest press manufacturer. The new original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement will see Heidelberg continuing to distribute, sell, support and service CreoScitex Trendsetter platesetters but under its own brand. Also, Heidelberg’s manufacturing facility in Kiel, Germany, will continue to build Trendsetters for as long as the next two years, at Creo’s choice. Both CreoScitex and Heidelberg will continue to sell, service and distribute the Prinergy workflow system under their respective brand names.

May 23, 2000
Transcontinental to make Web sites order-ready
MONTREAL — Transcontinental deepened its penetration into the electronic commerce sector today after announcing its acquisition of a 51% stake in Ergosoft Inc. for an estimated $2 million. The Montreal e-commerce company generates annual sales of about $2.7 million by enabling retailers’ Web sites to accept purchase orders from the viewing public. Transcontinental Group CFO Daniel Denault said that once his company’s retail client base are introduced to Ergosoft’s services, sales may double within a year and a public share offering may come about. Denault added that individual Web sites related to the 11 Telemedia magazines recently acquired will be rigged with Ergosoft’s business transaction software to sell advertisers' wares.

May 19, 2000
“Prime Minister of Quebec” applauds deal
SANTIAGO — Quebecor subsidiary Nurun Inc., formerly known as Informission Group, announced yesterday that it will deepen ties with Chilean printer Antartica Group. The two companies plan to go on a buying spree together, collectively earmarking about $15 million for an “aggressive” expansion-by-acquisition phase throughout Latin America. The duo will buy Internet properties to provide Web-based business transaction services. Quebecor shares ownership of Antartica with the Aguirre family. Antartica had sales last year of $144 million. The announcement was made “in the presence of the Prime Minister of Quebec [sic]” according to Nurun’s press release. Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, in Santiago on a trade mission, also attended the announcement.

Canadian Bank Note to print Kiwi passports
OTTAWA — Canadian Bank Note Co., the country’s most prestigious security printer with sales last year of about $105 million on 600 employees, announced earlier this week that it has landed a five-year contract to print passports for the New Zealand government. The deal is worth about $15 million, says Canadian Bank Note spokeswoman Judy Lonsdale. Canadian Bank Note produces passports for other countries, including Canada, Latvia, Iceland, Panama and Romania. About 50% of the company’s sales come from overseas clients.

May 12, 2000
Anti-smoking Feds pony up $25K for printing study
OTTAWA — When members of the printing industry told Health Canada they couldn’t possibly print its proposed four-colour images of cancerous lungs and tar-stained teeth on cigarette packs on their existing gravure presses, Health Canada commissioned Pennsylvania-based Graphic Arts Technical Foundation to examine ways in which the vile labels could be printed. The GATF’s $25,000 report, submitted to the government on Mar. 17, concludes that the labels can indeed be printed, but not without compromises, such as the discontinuation of trademarked inks in favour of process colour. Other alternatives include printing the images on self-adhesive labels which would then be affixed onto packs on-press; this would work but consistent registration could prove problematic. Full colour in-line digital printing is also an option, the GATF says, but speed requirements exceed current capacity. The least favourable option entails adding four units to the seven gravure presses currently devoted to cigarette packaging at a total cost of about $40 million.

Griffiths pulls plug on consultancy
CONCORD, Ont. — Former St. Joseph Printing president cum graphics industry consultant Gord Griffiths told PrintCAN yesterday that he has closed his fledgling consulting business, Gordon Group Enterprises. He could not say why but it’s likely that his consultancy ran afoul of the employment contract he signed with St. Joseph Corp.,
the terms of which include a $400,000 yearly salary to 2005 and a non-competition clause. St. Joseph Corp. CEO Tony Gagliano said yesterday that he’s currently in talks with Griffiths, which should conclude near month’s end.

May 9, 2000
Craftsmen hope to double membership by 2001
TORONTO — Gerald Fruehwirth, VP of the Toronto chapter of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen, says his association is “a far cry from what it used to be.” He notes membership has been declining from a high of about 350 members in the early ‘90s to a mere 90-odd members today. The reason? “There are far too many associations and they’re all trying to split the same dollar.” Vern Denholm, executive director of the 400-member-strong Ontario Printing and Imaging Association, agrees but criticized the Toronto chapter of the IAPHC for “trying to be all things to all people” and also for getting a little too cozy with suppliers. “Suppliers are very important in this industry,” Denholm says, “[but] when they are driving the association, then that’s quite dangerous.” No one, Denholm says, wants “to pay 35 bucks for a piece of chicken and a sales pitch.” As a corrective, Fruehwirth says he’s seeking to double membership this year by catering exclusively to the needs of production personnel, leaving the OPIA to service the needs of management types. For membership information call the IAPHC at 416-626-1437.

Funding update on Ryerson’s shrine to printing
TORONTO — The printing industry has kicked in about $3.7 million for Ryerson Polytechnic University’s proposed $10.5 million Centre for Graphic Communications Management. About $1.5 million of that figure represents equipment donations, says print management program chair Mary Black. The provincial government has pledged $4.1 million. The building will be located on one of two vacant lots near the heart of campus; the City of Toronto will determine which one. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

May 5, 2000
Scabs and suspected sabotage at the Herald
CALGARY - Calgary Herald pressmen were locked out Tuesday at about 6 p.m. after collective agreement negotiations fell apart. They were replaced "immediately," said publisher Dan Gaynor in an interview yesterday. An electrical malfunction discovered on one of the Herald's two Goss webs was subsequently discovered and fixed. "We suspect strongly that there was some tampering that was the cause of the [electrical] problem," Gaynor said, adding that the matter would be brought to the attention of the province's labour relations board today. About 50 pressroom workers have been without a collective agreement since Mar. 31. Gaynor said the lockout decision was reached after union officials refused to present the company's offer to their members. "They also replied that they would give no indication about their intentions for a strike notice. So, based on those two pieces of evidence, we served them a lock-out notice." Graphic Communications International Union officials could not be reached for comment.

Ground Zero down for the count
TORONTO - Ground Zero Packaging Inc. filed for bankruptcy on April 25 owing creditors more than $2 million. Secured creditors are owed about $645,000, the largest one being the TD Bank at $613,000. Unisource Canada is the largest unsecured creditor at $290,000. Ground Zero, a paper converter and print finisher, originally declared insolvency in February at which time owner Jim Gregson told PrintCAN he "absolutely" intended to turn the business around. It was not to be. "We're obviously sick about it," Gregson said yesterday, himself party to an unsecured claim of more than $253,000. Although he couldn't find the financial backing to make a comeback, Gregson seemed in decent spirits. "Nobody died," he said, putting the matter into a larger perspective. Unable to cite a specific cause of the downfall, Gregson indicated the company was undercapitalized given its sharp growth curve, and that it took on work which was underquoted and became problematic, including a $1-million contract with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to produce wine gift boxes. "It was a real nightmare job," he said. He added that the operation will remain open and that new ownership is imminent. The company had sales last year of about $3.9 million on 28 employees. When Gregson formed it in January 1998, sales were $2.8 million.

May 2, 2000
Ex-printer chief litigant in electoral fraud lawsuit
VANCOUVER — Four years ago, David Stockell of Greenpress Printing Inc. in the Okanagan Valley launched an electoral fraud lawsuit against three NDP MLAs. Government appeals to stay proceedings failed and early last month the case—known as the “fudge-it budget” trial—got underway. If he wins, byelections will be held.
Stockell maintains that during the 1996 provincial election campaign, three members of the NDP government lied when they promised budgetary surpluses. The 1995-96 budget was originally forecast to turn in a $114-million surplus. The NDP won the election by a slim majority but later announced a deficit of $355 million. Consequently, in August 1996, Stockell hired a laywer and, under s. 256 of the B.C. Elections Act, pursued his civil suit alleging electoral fraud. Closing arguments are scheduled for June 26. “My sense is that [the case] has gone well,” Stockell told PrintCAN yesterday, adding that he sold Greenpress Printing in February of 1998 in order to focus on the lawsuit and his new duties as VP of the National Citizens’ Coalition, a government watchdog group.
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