Trophies for Transcon, goat horns for St. Joe
MONTREAL Concord, Ont.-based St. Joseph Printing is on the brink of losing $13 million in printing contract renewals following rival G.T.C. Transcontinental Groups successful $150-million bid for Telemedia Communications chain of 11 consumer magazines. St. Joseph was also reportedly bidding for the magazines, and holds contracts to print three of them. PrintCAN has learned from an industry source that those contracts contain transferable escape clauses providing for unilateral termination with just two issues notice. They are: Canadian Living (five-year, $8-million contract expires this fall); Homemakers/Madame au Foyer (three-year, $3.5-million contract, expires mid-2001); Style at Home (rolling annual, $1.5-million contract, expires year-end). Another adversely affected printer and Transcontinental rival is Quebecorprinter of Telemedias TVGuide, TV Hebdo, Vancouver and Western Living magazineswhich stands to lose between $7 million and $12 million in contract renewals. The Telemedia deal, expected to close Mar. 21, catapults Transcontinental into the number one slot as Canadas largest publisher of consumer magazines and second-largest magazine publisher overall, just behind industry behemoth Rogers Media.
January 27, 2000
St. Joseph Corp. to buy Homemaker's magazine?
MONTREAL - The National Post reported yesterday that St. Joseph Corp.,
parent company of St. Joseph Printing, may purchase the magazine division of Montreal-based Telemedia Communications. St. Joseph CEO Tony Gagliano could not be reached for comment. Telemedia owns 11 magazines rumored to be worth about $150 million, including well-known consumer titles such as Homemaker's, Canadian Living and TVGuide. The Post also identified Quebecor and Transcontinental as "potential suitors."
Creo slaps down millions on e-commerce start-up
BURNABY, B.C. - Creo Products Inc. is getting into the Internet business.
The company has announced a joint venture with Pittsburgh-based Prograph Systems Inc. to create a new e-commerce company called printCafe. The new start-up will be Internet-based and allow print buyers to receive estimates, place orders and track job status throughout the production cycle. Creo will invest US$25 million in exchange for a 17.5% stake in the new company and a seat on the board, says Prograph spokesman Michael Young. Prograph will cease to exist; all Prograph resources now belong to the printCafe brand.
January 24, 2000
Communicorp to buy full-service printer
HAMILTON, Ont. - Staz Communications Inc., a 21-year-old full-service commercial printer based in this city has announced that it intends to sell to Toronto-based Communicorp Corporation, a graphic arts communications company specializing in digital asset management and printing services for corporate clientele. The deal is expected to close on February 1, Staz VP Barry Staz told PrintCAN today. Staz said negotiations with Communicorp began last February. Last year, Staz Communications rang up sales of $3 million while publicly-traded Communicorp had sales of $20 million.
Creo has best quarter ever
BURNABY, B.C. - Creo Products Ltd. CFO Tom Kordyback reported today that the company's first quarter (Q1) in fiscal 2000 "was the most profitable first quarter in the history of Creo." The 15-year-old Canadian CTP manufacturer reported a 55.1% jump in net earnings to US$5.2 million, up from 1999's QI earnings of US$3.4 million. Part of the credit goes to joint venture partner Heidelberg, whose sales staff helped push Creo's Q1 product sales up 80.8% to US$22.3 million, a dramatic increase over 1999's Q1 figure of US$12.3 million.
January 20, 2000
Oy! Creo buys Scitex division
BURNABY, B.C. - Creo Products Ltd. of Burnaby has struck a deal to acquire the prepress division of Israel-based rival Scitex Corporation Ltd., maker of Lotem platesetters, Dolev imagesetters and the EverSmart line of scanners. The new company, tentatively dubbed Creo/Scitex, will be a division of Creo Products Ltd. Negotiations began last summer and peaked two days ago when Creo announced that it would pay Scitex approximately US$537 million in the form of 13.25 million Creo shares and two seats on Creo's nine-member board of directors. In exchange, Creo acquires US$230 million in tangible Scitex assets and the exclusive license to market Scitex-branded prepress products. Interestingly, Heidelberg-Creo's joint venture partner in CTP solutions-will now compete with Creo/Scitex products, including scanners and imagesetters. Heidelberg is expected to comment on the matter presently.
January 17, 2000
Good times to continue, pundits say
TORONTO - More than 200 members of the Ontario Printing & Imaging Association gathered last Thursday at the OPIA's annual economic forecast dinner. "The global economy is in recovery," said Bank of Montreal chief economist Tim O'Neill. Keys to continued growth include a low dollar, reduced taxation and improving overseas economies, he said. O'Neill predicted the Canadian dollar would rise to US71 cents by April. Printing Industries of America chief economist Ron Davis weighed in with his predictions for printing in 2000, projecting a sales growth jump of 6%, static consumables pricing, 4-5% wage hikes, 5% increase in health benefits, 1.5% increase in prices and 3% increase in productivity. "This is a pretty good environment," Davis said.
January 13, 2000
Game over for Rewco
TORONTO - Embattled Rewco Printing Ltd., which had sales last year of $5 million, has gone into bankruptcy. The company is now in the hands of a creditor-approved trustee from Paddon&Yorke who was appointed this past Monday and ceased Rewco's operations. Thirty-eight employees were released. Rewco president Michael Willson told PrintCAN today that his company was in arrears to secured creditor Likrilyn Investments Ltd. Last January, Rewco filed for court protection while creditors were owed more than $2.5 million. At that time, Willson's comeback plan was approved but the repayment schedule has proven too onerous. "What I'm doing right now is seeking to find my people employment," Willson said. "I want to be the last
guy to step off the ship." He added that he's considering several print sales opportunities within the industry. An equipment auction is expected to be held next month.
Cost-chopping to save Quebecor millions
MONTREAL - Quebecor Printing announced today that it will save $100 million annually as a result of its acquisition of World Color Press last October. Only $50 million in annual savings was originally expected. "However," said CEO Charles Cavell, "in order to achieve these additional benefits, a significant restructuring of our manufacturing facilities in the USA is required," he said. The cost of the cost-cutting will be about $266 million on a pre-tax basis, and consists primarily of severance packages and write-downs on surplus equipment. The company said it will have fewer but larger plants.
January 10, 2000
New era at Canada's largest newsmagazine
TORONTO - Maclean's magazine will be produced using computer-to-plate technology as of the January 17th issue, says Immee Chee Wah, VP of business development with Rogers Publishing's news and business group. Chee Wah added that two other Rogers magazines-Canadian Business and Profit-expect to adopt CTP workflows sometime this year. Established in 1905, Maclean's has a weekly circulation of about 503,000 and is printed by Quebecor.
Xerox a self-described "powerhouse"
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Xerox's US$925 million acquisition of Tektronix Inc.'s colour printing and imaging division establishes it as Hewlett-Packard's chief competitor in the office colour printing sector, the company says. Xerox president and CEO Rick Thoman sees the Tektronix deal, which was completed last week, as a major step toward market supremacy. "We've taken the strength of the Xerox brand and fortified it with Tektronix' product line and distribution capacity creating an office printing powerhouse that no one can match," Thoman said in a released statement. As an added nip at the heels of Hewlett-Packard, Xerox announced today the introduction of less expensive replacement toner cartridges for Hewlett-Packard's 4000 and 4050 monochrome printers.
January 7, 2000
Offset litho's dominance will extend to 2015
TORONTO - Heidelberg Canada president Bill Blair predicts that offset lithography will be "the predominant technology for the next 15 years or so and that is where we are putting all our research dollars." Blair added, however, that digital printing is gaining ground.
Students learning the importance of self-promotion
TORONTO - Many students at Ryerson Polytechnic University's School of Graphic Communication Management are opting to study marketing as a minor subject, says program chair Mary Black. Promoting printing "is something that I think our industry needs desperately because we have never been very good at promoting ourselves," Black says. "For many, many years we were very pleased to be called the silent giant, and I think that's done us a lot more harm than good."
January 4, 2000
Eureka! World's first on-line, real-time estimator
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Tim Scanlon, owner Scantex Graphic Services, claims to have the world's one and only on-line estimating system. It's been two years in development. The system (www.scantex.com) is offered as part of a "partnership program" aimed at businesses with print budgets between $100,000-$500,000. The on-line estimating software crunches your numbers and delivers a price in under 10 seconds. Scanlon says a similar estimating system for digital printing is just months away. Scantex was formed in 1992.
Union says it's not giving up
CALGARY - The Graphic Communications International Union still hopes to unionize Transcontinental Printing Calgary following an unsuccessful pre-Christmas certification vote. About 68% of workers rejected the union. In an interview today, GCIU spokesman Alan Tate said Alberta labour laws call for a six-month cooling off period before attempting another vote. "I think we viewed this as an initial test [vote]," he says. "There's a core of people in there who definitely want a union."