Mead, Westvaco agree to US$8 billion merger
DAYTON, OH and STAMFORD, CT Aiming to remain competitive in a rapidly consolidating market, paper producers Mead and Westvaco announced plans to merge on Wednesday. "The need to be a bigger and stronger player in today's global market, there's no doubt about it. It was one of the compelling factors about this merger," says Doug Draper, vice president of corporate communications for Mead. The two packaging and specialty papers firms expect to save a combined US$325 million during the next two years via plant closures, equipment sales and staffing reductions he says, although no specific plans have been made yet. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
St. Joseph hires new exec
CONCORD, Ont. St. Joseph recently named Maurice Desnoyers president of the Ottawa-Hull Print Group. He will be overseeing the merger of all St. Joseph's operations into a new facility slated to open in early 2002. St. Joseph Ottawa-Hull, St. Joseph M.O.M. Printing and Graphic Display Canada currently operate in separate facilities. Look for further details regarding St. Joseph's plans for Ottawa-Hull on Wednesday's update.
August 28, 2001
BC paper producers unite
VANCOUVER Norske Skog Canada Ltd. has completed its takeover of Pacifica Papers Inc., and by so doing has created North America's third largest groundwood paper and pulp company (for background, see PrintCan March 30). Rebranded NorskeCanada, the new firm is the largest producer of newsprint, telephone directory paper and lightweight coated paper on North America's west coast, with $3 billion in assets and 4,400 employees at four mills in British Columbia.
Livewire Digital absorbs Filmark Graphics
WOODBRIDGE, Ont. Markham, Ont.-based Filmark Graphics Inc. has announced it will auction its production equipment and office furniture, following its decision to merge with fellow prepress house Livewire Digital Imaging Inc. The assets are being sold so Filmark can move into Livewire's Woodbridge, Ont. facility. "We don't really need all the assets that we have here," says a spokesperson at Filmark, requesting anonymity. The auction is scheduled to be held at Filmark's Markham location on Aug. 29 at 11 a.m. For further details contact liquidator Michael Sales Inc. at (416) 487-1802.
August 24, 2001
Merger rumours dog paper giants
HELSINKI and STAMFORD, CT. Stora Enso and International Paper both deny that they have been in merger negotiations this week that would create the world's biggest forest products company. Connecticut-based International Paper is the world's largest paper producer, with annual sales of US$20 billion. But weaker demand and falling paper prices have led to thousands of job cuts, plant closures and asset sales earlier this year. Stora Enso has increased its presence in North America through its acquisition of U.S.-based Consolidated Papers Inc. last year, making the Finnish company the world's fouth largest producer. "Here's a huge coated manufacturer in Stora Enso, getting together with a huge uncoated company (International Paper), and they have a more complete package together than they do apart. They fit each other very well," says a Canadian paper merchant who did not want to be identified.
Domtar prepares to deal with debt
MONTREAL Domtar Inc. is preparing to issue 32 million shares to pay down the debt it incurred to buy four U.S.-based fine paper mills from Georgia-Pacific last April. The shares are expected to net $450 million which will repay the US$300 million bridge loan which helped finance the purchase. It is also preparing to issue long-term debt securities to repay a second bridge loan of US$600 million. Domtar says it expects the formal offering to be made in the next few weeks.
August 21, 2001
Canadian printers seek growth in U.S. market
TORONTO The recent downturn in Canada's publishing industry has driven several homegrown book printers south of the border looking for new business according to an article in the September issue of Quill & Quire. Winnipeg-based Friesens says its work for U.S. publishers has grown by 35% over last year, and represents 30% of its sales overall. Transcontinental Printing says 65% of its book printing business is from U.S.-based publishers. A favourable exchange rate has helped Canadian firms win American contracts, especially jobs with shorter runs in the 8,000 to 12,000 copy range.
GAMIS releases distribution channel study
ALEXANDRIA, Va. GAMIS, the market research arm of the PIA recently released a new study focusing on the distribution channels in the graphic arts industry. North American Distribution Channels to the Printing and Publishing Industries 2001-2003, examines the complex distribution structures in the industry and the forces that are shaping its evolution. The report raises and attempts to answer questions regarding integration of distribution, the future of traditional structures and the importance of alternative channels. To obtain the copy of this study contact GAMIS at www.gamis.org
August 17, 2001
Menzies shopping spree continues
GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. Menzies Printers Ltd. based in Grande Prairie, Alberta, expanded again recently when it acquired Edmonton-based Lightwaves Press. The acquisition is the company's third in the past 15 months. Lightwaves joins Thompson Valley Printing of Kamloops, B.C. and the printing division of Grande Prairie-based Martin Weiss Graphics under the Menzies Group umbrella. Further growth through acquisition is in the company's plans says president Grant Menzies. All facilities within the Menzies Group house complete design, press and finishing capabilites, and employ a total of thirty-four staff. It had sales of $2.25 million in 2000.
Liquidator shops Arthurs-Jones assets
TORONTO Five Heidelberg 40 " presses top the list of Arthurs-Jones equipment up for sale, according to a liquidation notice obtained by PrintCan. Century Services Inc. has been retained by receiver Arthur Andersen to handle the liquidation proceedings. Prepress and finishing equipment are also listed, but an auction date has not been set. For further information contact Century Services at (416)495-8338.
August 14, 2001
Montreal Gazette plundered
MONTREAL The Montreal Gazette's new printing plant was relieved of more than $100,000 in computer equipment early Monday morning. The theft nixed the production of approximately 15,000 copies of that day's edition and paralyzed the presses. Nine servers, four hard drives and three laptops were taken by three men armed with at least one crobar, after they ambushed the lone on-duty security guard. The Gazette's production has gradually been moving to a new $50 million printing plant. A beefed-up security detail was scheduled to begin guarding the facility the day after the attack.
August 10, 2001
Quebecor World expands as corporate parent bleeds
MONTREAL Ouebecor World Inc. continues to stake out new territory in Latin America through acquistion, with another Mexican purchase. It announced on Wednesday that it is buying the book and directory printing assets of Grupo Serla SA, one of Mexico's largest commercial printers. The investment will run between US$50 million to US$75 million and the Mexico City facility be used to help fulfill the printer's US$1.25 billion contract to print directories for Telmex, Mexico's largest telecommunications group. Meanwhile parent company Quebecor Inc. posted a $3.3 million second quarter loss due, in part, to declining revenues at its Sun Media newspaper group and its Internet portal, Canoe.
August 08, 2001
Transcon sells majority interest in Americ Disc
MONTREAL Transcontinental Group Ltd. announced on Monday that it will sell the majority if its shares in Minneapolis-based compact-disc producer Americ Disc. The shares are being purchased by a group of investors led by David Littlefield, president and owner of Cycle Software Services, a provider of compact-discs and related services, also based in Minneapolis. With the sale Transcontinental will reduce its interest in Americ Disc from 50% to 19.9%, and will continue to provide administrative support to the new ownership
Quebecor releases Q2 results
MONTREAL Quebecor Inc. posted a 6% increase in revenue for the quarter ended June 30, over the same period in 2000. Revenues totalled $2.76 billion, while pre-tax earnings were $458.4 million. During the same period in 2000, earnings were $436.7 million against revenues of $2.6 billion. Quebecor attributes the increase, in part, to the CRTC's approval of the transfer of Videotron's license to Quebecor Media in late May. As a result, Quebecor was able to include Videotron's revenues for May and June in its financial statements for the first time.
August 03, 2001
Printer included in Hollinger newspaper sale
BARRIE, Ont. Among the group of newspapers sold by Hollinger Canadian Newspapers, Limited Partnership on Tuesday was printer Georgian Web. The Barrie, Ont.-based commercial shop prints inserts and newspapers based in the region incuding the Barrie Examiner, Orillia Packet and Times and Orangeville Banner. Housed in a 23,000 sq. ft plant, Georgian Web runs three web press lines along with three folders and two stackers. "We have some [unused] capacity," says plant general manager Derek Cracknell. Georgian Web currently employs 50 full-and part-time staff.
Quebecor rival to open US$70 million plant
PEWAUKEE, Wis. Quad Graphics has announced it will open an advanced gravure press facility in 2003 designed to compete with Quebecor. "We serve the same types of clients," says Claire Ho, marketing and communications, Quad Graphics, referring to Quebecor. The Wisconsin-based commercial printer will break ground on a 193,000 sq. ft. Oklahoma City plant in October that will house two Cerutti gravure presses. Referred to as "jack rabbit gravure" by Quad Graphics president Harry Quadracci, the presses will supposedly out-perform other presses in terms of speed, productivity and cost-effectiveness. "We're trying to introduce flexibility to what we do [with these presses]," Ho says. Quad Graphics core businesses include catalogues, magazines, books and inserts. It employs approximately 14,000 people and has annual sales of US$2 billion.