News Archives
February 2002
February 26, 2002
Bank of Canada looks abroad for currency paper supplier
OTTAWA— For first time in 70 years, Spexel Inc. might not be the paper supplier for Canadian currency. Robert Martini, vice-president of the Beauharnois, Que.-based mill says the Bank of Canada is in the "final stages" of negotiations with a European-based paper maker for outsourcing rights. Losing its biggest customer to a foreign mill could cost Spexel up to 120 jobs Martini says. He says that the textile mill that supplies Spexel with denim used for currency-paper production could lose up to 40 jobs. "It's a strange thing that the Bank of Canada that has such an important Canadian symbol [in Canada's currency], is ready to sell out Canadian jobs. There's something fishy," he says. "I doubt very much they'd ever come back (to Spexel) because it is a different paper-making process," Martini says. The bank says security concerns have prompted it to look abroad for a paper supplier, but Martini says Spexel has developed additional features that were rejected due to cost concerns. Printing of Canadian currency will not be affected by any paper sourcing changes and will remain in Canada, according to federal finance minister Paul Martin.

Transcontinental to build new print facility for La Presse
MONTREAL— Transcontinental Group has reached an agreement to build and operate a new printing plant for French language daily La Presse. The 15-year contract worth $60 million per year is the result of a deal first agreed to in January 2001. The deal will also mean early retirement and reassignment for many of La Presse's 230 production staff. Transcontinental has picked the Heidelberg Mainstream 80 press to produce the Montreal-based paper. Construction of the facility will begin this year and will be operational by September 2003.

February 22, 2002
Alliance Trade Litho folds
TORONTO— Alliance Trade Litho is in the final stages of closing its operations. A source close to the situation says Alliance closed because an agreement to purchase the shop's equipment from previous owner, U.S.-based packaging giant Smurfit-Stone, fell through. When a deal could not be reached, Alliance's partners decided to "walk away" from the business. On the condition of remaining unidentified, the source told PrintCan that final accounting is almost finished and all in-process work has been completed. Alliance Trade Litho specialized in large-format work for retail clients, and had only been in operation since last November. The source says that Smurfit-Stone will likely attempt to sell Alliance's equipment, which includes a 63" Roland 800 six-colour press.

Aborted deal lead to demise of Adventure Graphics
TORONTO— Short-run forms and label printer Adventure Graphics could have been saved if an agreement had been reached with an unknown buyer, PrintCan has learned. Adventure partner, Jenny Burrell, wife of president Russ Burrell says that a buyer was interested in the 24-year-old business, but backed out due to financing problems. After the deal fell through, the Burrells decided not to invest money in the replacement of aging equipment. They are nearing retirement and were looking to divest themselves of ownership.

February 19, 2002
Sherman Graphics closes down
MARKHAM, Ont.— Sherman Graphics Inc. has decided to shut down once its in-process jobs are completed, PrintCan has learned. A company spokesperson requesting anonymity says declining sales and difficult economic conditions were primary factors in the decision to shutter the 57-year-old business. Sherman was a full service shop with prepress, press and finishing capabilties. Owner Paul Sherman was unavailable for comment. Look for more details on Friday's update.

Caxton Group hires new CEO
TORONTO— Marketing and consulting firm Caxton Group Inc. has selected Kerry Shapansky to be its new CEO. Shapansky has spent more than 15 years as a marketing executive, including a stint as a director at Xerox Canada where he founded the Xerox Consulting Group. "His wealth of experience within the marketing services industry, combined with his proven track record, will assist Caxton in aggressively pursuing strategic acquistions and growing our revenue base organically," says Gordon Griffiths, Caxton chairman. One of Caxton's core businesses is developing marketing strategies for its clients across various media, including print. Griffiths is a print industry veteran, whose previous employers include Quebecor and St. Joseph.

Adventure Graphics shuts down
TORONTO— PrintCan has learned that Adventure Graphics Inc. has decided to close its operations. In a letter to creditors, president Russ Burrell says, "economic conditions and the slowdown in our industry have affected our ability to continue. We are truly sorry for this and whatever impact it has on your business. It is our intention to pay what we can to our creditors as we collect our outstanding receivables." Calls placed to Adventure were not answered. Look for more details on future updates as information becomes available.

February 15, 2002
Ciampini joins AIIM Inc.
AURORA, Ont.— Former Arthurs-Jones Clarke Inc. president Emilio Ciampini is the new senior vice president of marketing and sales at Avant Imaging and Information Management Inc. (AIIM), PrintCan has learned. The 30-year industry veteran was drawn to the Aurora,Ont.-based printer because AIIM is placing a greater emphasis on internet-based services such as file transfer and management in addition to traditional printing services. "That was very attractive to me because in the past ten years that is precisely where I was taking my company (Clarke Lithographing, Arthurs-Jones). I thought this was a prime opportunity to continue to expand on the very things I was nurturing," Ciampini says. AIIM is a full-service commercial printer that offers complete prepress, press and finishing capabilities, along with digital file management. It employs about 100 people.

Heidelberg and Domtar sign warehousing deal
MONTREAL and TORONTO— Beginning March 1, Heidelberg Canada and Domtar's Canadian Paper Merchants Group will join forces and share warehousing space and distribution services across Canada, except Montreal and Toronto. The deal is designed to streamline product ordering and speed up delivery times. "The alliance resulted from both companies' interest in pursuing a competitive strategy to better serve their existing customers," says Steve Webb, director of finance, Domtar Paper Merchants Group. Warehousing in the Toronto and Montreal markets will not be integrated due to the size of both companies, existing facilities in these cities, but some product delivery will be shared, Webb says.

February 12, 2002
St.Joseph acquires Key Media
CONCORD, Ont.— St. Joseph Corp. announced yesterday it has acquired Toronto-based Key Media Ltd., publisher of magazine titles including Toronto Life, Fashion and Weddingbells. The deal is expected to close within a couple of weeks according to St. Joseph president Tony Gagliano. "I think that Key Media has within its business some of the absolute best consumer magazines in the country," he says. Key's current print contracts with also be reviewed in the coming weeks. "Once the deal closes, we'll be sitting down with the vendors, and at the earliest possible opportunity convert that business over to our facilities," he says. Key currently uses several printers for its magazines, including Quebecor, but Gagliano says that none of the existing contracts expire later than 2003. Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

Livewire Digital buys Graphic Specialties
WOODBRIDGE, Ont.— Prepress services firm Livewire Digital bought fellow film house Graphic Specialties on Friday. "We have been looking for acquisitions for the last three years. We acquired a company last August called Filmark Graphics, and we had been talking to Ray Cassar (owner of Graphic Specialties) for several years, and finally he felt it was time and it would be best for both companies," says Livewire president Ken Raspin. All equipment and employees from Etobicoke, Ont.-based Graphics Specialties have moved to Livewire's facilities in Woodbridge, Ont., says Raspin. With the acquisition Livewire now has 65 employees and annual sales of approximately $12 million.

Quebecor bags Lane Bryant catalogue contract
MONTREAL— Quebecor World has secured the rights to handle the prepress, printing and logistic needs of Brylane Inc.'s Lane Bryant catalogue. New York-based Brylane owns seven catalogue titles, which resulted in more than half a billion printed copies in the U.S. last year. The Lane Bryant catalogue, which features plus-size women's clothing, will be produced at Quebecor's wide-web gravure facility in Augusta, Georgia, while Que-Net Media's Washington D.C. division will handle the prepress end. Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

February 08, 2002
Transcontinental buys O'Keefe Group
MONTREAL— With the ink barely dry on its deal to buy Winnipeg-based Coronet/Fahlke Printers, Transcontinental Group announced this morning that it has bought another sheetfed printer. "We want to develop a pan-Canadian network of commercial sheetfed printing plants, just as we have done for newspaper and flyer printing. O'Keefe is reputed throughout the industry as being a top quality printer," says Jean Blouin vice-president of public relations for Transcontinental. The O'Keefe Group, a family controlled commercial printer that specializes in high-end printing for financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies will add two printing plants, 200 employees and about $33 million in annual revenue to Transcontinental. Due to the complementary nature of O'Keefe's Montreal and Toronto plants, both will continue to operate as they have been, says Blouin. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Quebecor to cut 600 more jobs
MONTREAL— Massive fourth quarter losses have prompted Quebecor World to cut another 600 jobs this year in addition to the 2,400 that were announced last October. The number of plant closures is expected to rise to 10 (seven closures were announced last year), which will result in the relocation of fifty pieces of equipment. Quebecor World's spokesman Tony Ross declined to elaborate on which countries will be affected by the cuts. Quebecor posted a $154.1 million loss for the final quarter of 2001, including a US$270 million restructuring charge following the first round of cuts. The sharp decline in advertising in the U.S. after Sept.11 hit the printer's magazine, retail and catalogue businesses especially hard, according to CEO Charles Cavell.

Transcontinental inks $30 million deal with Essaim Group
MONTREAL— Transcontinental Group announced on Wednesday it has signed an eight-year contract with Quebec-based Essaim Group to design, print and distribute flyers for Essaim's 200 drug stores. Transcontinental estimates it will distribute roughly 775,000 flyers per week to Essaim-affiliated stores in Quebec, Northern Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

February 05, 2002
WWF Corp. decides to retreat from Canada
TORONTO— Citing significant shrinkage in its profit margin over the last several months, Pennsylvania-based WWF Corp. has decided to cease operations in Canada. One of the largest privately owned distributors of fine papers in North America, WWF operated distribution and sales offices in Montreal and Toronto. A spokesperson for WWF Canada told PrintCan that the slackening North American economy, especially since Sept. 11, has also had an enormous negative impact on the company's sales. The Toronto-area distribution centre is currently operating with reduced staff and will remain open until existing inventories are gone, which may last until the end of the month.

Transcontinental scoops up Coronet/Fahlke Printers
MONTREAL— Transcontinental Group announced late Friday that it has acquired Coronet/Fahlke Printers Ltd., a Winnipeg-based sheetfed commercial printer that specializes in annual reports, calendars and brochures. Transcontinental also operates three other plants in greater Winnipeg that produce magazines, flyers and other commercial products. The transaction complements Transcontinental's plans to develop a nationwide network of sheetfed printers. "We are currently studying other possible acquisitions with this goal in mind," says Transcontinental chairman and CEO Remi Marcoux. In business since 1959, Coronet employs 40 people and has annual revenues of about $7 million.

February 01, 2002
BDC bullish on Imaginex
TORONTO— The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) thinks Imaginex Inc.'s future is so bright it recently invested $200,000 in the Mississauga, Ont.-based prepress services firm. Imaginex announced changes to its senior management last week, along with new financing in excess of $1 million. Jim Orgill, managing director of BDC Venture Capital says that, "with the changes in the management team together with the new investment we believe that Imaginex is poised for aggressive growth."

Mead, Westvaco complete merger
STAMFORD, Conn.— Mead Corp. and Westvaco Corp. officially merged into MeadWestvaco Corp. yesterday after shareholders from both companies voted overwhelmingly in favour of the union. With the merger, MeadWestvaco becomes the second-largest producer of coated paper in North America. Since announcing their intention to merge last August, both companies have been aggressively trimming costs from operations. Westvaco has closed one mill, two packaging plants and sold 170,000 acres of forest in the U.S. since the merger announcement. MeadWestvaco says it plans to squeeze US$325 million from operations over the next two years through job cuts, equipment sales and plant closures.
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