News Archives
February 2000
February 28, 2000
St. Joseph opens its kimono
CONCORD, Ont. — In documents filed with the Ontario Securities Commission last month, privately held St. Joseph Printing has provided the public with a rare glimpse into its inner workings. For example, the document reveals that the company signed former president Gord Griffiths to a $400,000/year employment contract expiring December 31, 2005. Griffiths was released early this month for undisclosed reasons. Further, the document states that Sears Canada has expressed an intention to extend a catalogue/retail advertising pre-media services agreement to April 2004. St. Joseph also revealed that its CCG quick printing division enjoys a special agreement with the federal government such that federal agencies with print jobs of less than $100,000 needn’t solicit competing bids. This agreement expires March 2002.

Xerox introduces new presses
NEW YORK — Xerox has sold more than 20,000 DocuTech digital presses since their introduction in 1990. At the On Demand Conference today in New York, Xerox unveiled the DocuColor 2060—the latest incarnation of the company’s sheet-fed, digital press line capable of printing 60 colour pages per minute at a production cost of 10 cents per page; production cost for b/w pages is three cents per. Recommended monthly volume is 100,000 8.5” x 11” pages. Suggested retail price in the U.S. is US$160,000. The DocuColor 2045 prints 45 colour ppm and is priced at US$120,000. Both presses are squarely aimed at the short-run, on-demand colour printing market. Canadian pricing has yet to be determined.

February 24, 2000
St. Joseph Corp. set to buy Ottawa printer
OTTAWA — St. Joseph Corp. CEO Tony Gagliano confirmed today that his company expects to acquire M.O.M. Printing Ltd. of Ottawa, a sheetfed operation which had sales of $16.4 million on 130 employees in 1998. The deal is scheduled to close March 15. “The reason why we looked at doing this acquisition is that we’re very strong in the Ottawa region when it comes to the public sector [via St. Joseph’s Canada Communication Group division, acquired from the federal government in 1997],” Gagliano said. “There’s been such great growth in Ottawa in the high technology sector and M.O.M really gives us a good foothold into the private sector business.” Besides book, specialty and instant printing, M.O.M also offers foil diecutting. President Powell Griffiths could not be reached for comment.

Ryerson’s print program to get own digs
TORONTO — The Graphic Communications Management program at Ryerson Polytechnic University will get a building all to itself. Contruction could begin as early as this fall, says Ryerson president Dr. Claude Lajeunesse, adding that the 28,000-sq.-ft facility will be state-of-the-art and cost a total of $11.9 million. The provincial government is contributing about one-third of the cost. Corporate sponsors of the new Centre for Graphic Communications Management include Transcontinental Printing ($250,000), St. Joseph Corp. ($250,000) and Colour Technologies ($150,000). Students graduating from the print management program “typically have two or more job offers upon graduation,” the university says.


February 21, 2000
Hemlock president resigns
BURNABY, B.C. — Ian May has resigned as president and COO of Hemlock Printers Ltd., Canada’s 37th largest commercial printer with 205 employees generating sales of $30.7 million in 1998. May joined Hemlock in July 1996 after a 10-year career in the packaging industry where he rose to VP/GM of Lithotech. Reached at his Vancouver home today, May would only say that he’ll be taking up a position with a publicly traded, Canada-based “high tech manufacturing company.” He’s expected to make a formal announcement within a week. Asked if he left on amicable terms, May replied, “I’m departing from Hemlock, and that’s probably the best way to talk about that.”

Quebecor lands $1 billion contract extension
MONTREAL — Sears Canada deepened ties with Quebecor Printing last week, handing the country’s largest printer a 10-year contract extension to print 90% of its catalogues. The contract is worth an estimated $1 billion and carries through to 2010. Quebecor says it expects to print on average 6 million catalogues a year at its refurbished PE&E facility in Toronto—Canada’s only rotogravure facility, currently in the midst of $45 million upgrade. Sear Canada’s VP of online merchandising Garry Smith said today that the Fall & Winter catalogue is currently on press and close to 1,100 pages long; press run is four million. Sears is Quebecor Printing’s largest Canadian customer.

February 17, 2000
St. Joseph stokes acquisitions furnace
CONCORD, Ont. — In a late-January move designed expand operations past the $500-million mark by 2002, St. Joseph Printing Ltd.—Canada’s largest privately held commercial printer and seventh largest overall—has made arrangements through New York investment banker Goldman Sachs involving a $200 million refinancing package. Highlights include:
• $75 million generated via the private issuing of high-yield senior notes—sometimes called corporate debentures. This amounts to a loan, at an interest rate of 11.5%, about $65 million of which will be used to refinance old debt, with the remainder going toward acquisitions and internal enhancements. Many industry watchers raised an eyebrow at the notes' high interest rate, but St. Joseph Printing CEO Tony Gagliano told PrintCAN today that this “unique” financial arrangement has the virtue of keeping the company private while allowing it to grow. He anticipates sales this year of $300 million;
• a $50 million line-of-credit which, depending on future financial performance, may extend a further $75 million, bringing the total package value to $200 million.

“We have much more expansion capital today after this deal than we had two months ago,” said Gagliano, adding that 60% of the capital pool will be used to acquire complementary companies in the Internet, marketing/communication and digital/traditional print sectors; 40% will go to new equipment and other "organic growth" projects. He said the company is evolving towards a public equity offering, possibly by 2002. Main competitors Quebecor, Transcontinental and PLM are all public companies with relatively easy access to growth capital.

Commercial printer goes belly-up
MARKHAM, Ont. — Label printer Parr’s Print & Litho declared bankruptcy on Monday, after going into receivership 13 days ago. Appointed trustee Shiner Zwig Inc. estimates that Parr’s owes secured creditors $550,000 and unsecured creditors $350,000. In an interview today, Shiner Zwig president Alan Shiner attributed the bankruptcy to simple “lack of volume.” Father and son owners Don and Doug Johnstone could not be reached for comment. The company reportedly had sales in 1998 of about $4 million and employed 30 people. It was still carrying out business today. Shiner Zwig will entertain offers for part or all of the insolvent operation up to February 29. Equipment includes 1980s-vintage sheetfed presses such as a 40” 2-colour Heidelberg, a 28” Komori L540 and a 4-colour Solna 425. Interested parties may contact Shiner Zwig’s Joel Kideckel @ 905-709-9950, x.26.

Eatons catalogue contract awarded
CONCORD, Ont. — Twenty-four years after it was discontinued as a money-loser, Sears Canada has selected St. Joseph Printing as the printer best able to bring the Eatons catalogue back to life. St. Joseph CEO Tony Gagliano said today that his company will photograph and print the Fall 2000 edition of the catalogue. “We are producing the first Eatons catalogue [in 24 years],” he said, “which is a real high profile one for us.” The fall launch will coincide with the opening of the re-imaged Sears-owned Eatons stores. (Note: as part of its re-branding strategy, Sears Canada dropped the apostrophe from the now-defunct company formerly known as Eaton's.)

February 14, 2000
Packager intends to repay millions to creditors
TORONTO — Paper converter and print finisher Ground Zero Packaging never appeared so aptly named as when it declared insolvency last week. The company owes creditors at least $2.37 million and has until March 7 to table a repayment proposal which must then be approved by creditors. Ground Zero had sales last year of about $4 million and employs 28. President Jim Gregson said today he “absolutely” intends to stay in business. Secured creditors are owed about $1.6 million and include Toronto Dominion Bank ($862,000) and Unisource Canada ($290,207). Larger unsecured creditors include International Boxboard Sales ($128,156), Guarantee Employment Service ($109,206) and Hammond Paper Co. ($68,519).

Dallas firm suing Quebecor
DALLAS, Tx. — A Dallas publisher is seeking US$12.5 million in damages from Quebecor Inc., alleging that the Montreal-based printer botched a 1997 book-printing job by delivering hickeyed, scratched and malodorous products, the National Post reported today. Heritage Publishing Inc. is claiming that its reputation suffered much harm as a result. Settlement negotiations are reportedly ongoing.

February 10, 2000
Pressmen’s union to meet with Hollinger
CALGARY — About 85 unionized press operators and pressroom workers at the Calgary Herald newspaper are preparing to enter what could be extremely important negotiations with Hollinger Inc., owner of the Herald. With their collective agreement set to expire on March 31, Hollinger can scarcely afford added labour unrest at the beleaguered daily as more than 100 newsroom personnel are currently entrenched in a bitter strike action which is now in its fourth month. In an interview today, press operator spokesman Alan Tate of Graphic Communications International Union said a two-day meeting with Hollinger is scheduled to take place in Calgary beginning on February 15th.

Quebecor breaks $10 billion-mark
MONTREAL — Quebecor Inc. released its financial report for fiscal 1999 two days ago revealing consolidated revenue of $10.8 billion following one of the most momentous periods in the company’s 49-year history. Not only did it acquire U.S.-rival World Color Press to become the largest commercial printer in the world, but its dramatic digestion of newspaper chain Sun Media Corp. situates the company as the second-largest Canadian newspaper company. These and other acquisitions—notably a 58.3% interest in e-commerce and Internet-service provider Informission Group Ltd.—contributed to the company’s net income of $481 million last year. Printing still accounts for the lion’s share of sales at 68%, or $7.4 billion.

February 7, 2000
Invesprint for sale
TORONTO — Unsolicited purchase offers combined with an under-performing share price have prompted quality label printer Invesprint Corp. to hire New York brokerage firm Berensen Minella & Co. to find the highest bidder for the company’s operations, which include Beckett Corp., Jonergin, Jay Packaging and a non-strategic 10% stake in Toronto-based multimedia Web developer ExtendMedia Inc. Invesprint CEO and majority shareholder Leland Verner is disappointed that “the market doesn’t realize the value of what we have here,” referring to the company’s state-of-the-art printing plants and blue chip clientele. The best way for Invesprint shareholders to “unlock the value” of their stake, he said, is to find an appreciative buyer. Invesprint—formerly known as Arthurs-Jones—went public in 1995. Shares were offered at $8 a piece. They were trading at $4 in December. Bidding is expected to be upwards of the company’s current market capitalization of $40 million, or about $7.50 per share. Publicly traded Invesprint has 450 employees in Canada and the U.S. and is expected to generate revenue this year exceeding $115 million.

PLM hires acquisitions veteran
MARKHAM, Ont. — Commercial sheet and web printer PLM Group Ltd. has announced the appointment of Peter Bradley as chief financial officer. Bradley was with Quebecor Printing Canada from 1993 to 1996, where he was senior VP of finance and administration and then VP strategic development and finance. His specialty? Acquisitions and spotting profitable turnaround opportunities. Bradley’s roots in the publishing industry go back to 1979 when he joined Torstar as corporate comptroller before moving on to Metroland and then Saturday Night Publication Services.


February 3, 2000
West coast printer involved in “kiddie porn” controversy
VICTORIA, B.C. — The Womyn’s Publication Netwerk—a feminist newspaper with ties to the University of Victoria—is charging censorship after a printer insisted that modifications be made to a cover photo featuring a woman whose breasts spill out of a leather bustier while her nude five-year-old daughter apparently gyrates. “Sex & Sexualities” is the headline above the photo, published today. In an interview two days ago with the reporter who broke this story, Monday magazine editor Ross Crockford told PrintCAN that when Victoria-based Island Publishers initially refused the print run, the WPN took the job to a Southam printing plant in Nanaimo, which also refused. The WPN returned to Island Publishers which then agreed to print the paper on one condition: that the child’s vaginal area be obstructed with a “censored” banner. WPN co-editor Jessica White agreed, but protests in Crockford’s piece, published yesterday, that “This is a family photograph ... Now family photographs are seen as kiddie porn ... Printers are becoming censors.” Monday magazine reports that Island Publishers president Jim Tighe stands by his decision. “Legally, you always have the right to refuse to do the work,” Tighe told the magazine. “But, I’ll admit this is more of a moral standpoint than a legal one.” The Ontario Board of Inquiry is currently determining whether a printer indeed does have the right to refuse work on moral/religious grounds. In April 1996, Toronto’s Imaging Excellence refused to print literature for a gay and lesbian group, which subsequently launched a discrimination action.

February 2, 2000
St. Joseph Corp. fires Gord Griffiths
CONCORD, Ont. — St. Joseph Printing president Gord Griffiths was fired yesterday after just 21 months with the company. When confronted yesterday with industry speculation that Griffiths had been cut loose, St. Joseph Development Corp. president Frank Gagliano denied the rumour. “He’s on vacation,” Gagliano said. When asked when Griffiths was set to return, Gagliano deferred the matter to his brother, St. Joseph Corp. CEO Tony Gagliano who, just hours later, issued a curt internal statement that “effective February 1” Griffiths was “pursuing other opportunities.” No reason was given. Tony Gagliano contacted PrintCAN early this morning from California confirming Griffiths’ termination. Reached at home this morning, Griffiths—who joined St. Joseph after a long career with Quebecor Printing—confirmed that he has been released but declined to elaborate, suggesting the contract he signed with St. Joseph precludes him from discussing the matter. It also precludes him from working for a competitor any time soon, he said. Asked if he’s got another job lined up, Griffiths replied “No, I don’t.” Frank Gagliano told PrintCAN today that Griffiths’ position may not be refilled.

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