February 27, 2004
Pro Press buys into Baker Graphics
TORONTOMuch of the assets of Baker Graphics have been purchased by Scarborough print shop, Pro Press. The auction for Bakers equipment, which was originally scheduled for February 19 and then post-poned until mid-March has been called off entirely. Steve Trypic, president of Pro Press says the company is in the midst of talks to possibly set up business in Bakers current location.
Plans for new high-end paper company
DALLAS, TXKimberly-Clark is considering creating a spin-off of its Neenah Paper and Technical Paper along with its Canadian pulp and timber assets in Pictou, N.S. and Terrace Bay, Ont. The spin-off would allow the company to focus on its health and hygiene core business and create a publicly traded pulp and paper company with approximately $650 million in annual sales. The new company would produce a range of premium and specialty paper lines and more than 700,000 tonnes of pulp. It would employ about 2,100 people and have access to 5.9 million acres of timberland in Canada. The combined capacity of the Terrace Bay and Pictou mills alone would make the company one of the worlds top 20 producers of pulp. It is expected that Kimberly-Clark would become one of the new spin-off companys largest customers through a pulp supply agreement. A decision on creating a spin-off is expected in the second half of 2004.
February 23, 2004
Moore Wallace and RR Donnelley combination approved
TORONTOBoth Moore Wallace and RR Donnelley have announced that their financial plans to merge the two companies have been approved by their stockholders. Completion of the merger remains conditional on obtaining a final order approving the plan of arrangement from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The Court hearing is scheduled for February 27. The Moore Wallace and RR Donnelley deal has been in the works since this past November.
Toronto Club winners honoured
TORONTOThe Toronto Club of Printing House Craftsmen recognized local Gallery of Superb Printing award winners at its annual Presidents Gala Evening at the Old Mill in Toronto this past weekend. The event recognized 21 companies for their craftsmanship from among some 3,100 submissions from all over the world. Among the gold winners were Beach Communication and Design Services, C.J. Graphics, Colour Innovations, Grenville, Kingsweb, McMaster University, Metro Label Company, PLM Group, Polytainers, Quebecor World, St. Joseph, The A.I.I.M. Print Group, and U of T Press.
February 20, 2004
Moore Wallace in the clear
TORONTOMoore Wallace has been cleared of any wrong doing by an auditors investigation that found no support for allegations of accounting misconduct. The audit came after an anonymous letter claimed allegations of misuse of acquisition-related restructuring charges. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm handling the audit, said, however, that there was no centrally documented plan for corporate restructuring and recommended that the company improve documentation around restructuring changes. Last week PrintCan reported that chief financial officer, Mark Hiltwein was suspended for giving auditors a document that he backdated several months during the investigation. Hiltwein has stated that the dating of this document was a mistake and was not the product of any intention to deceive. Moore Wallace has said that it expects Hiltweins status to be cleared by the end of this month. The company also expects its proposed takeover by R.R. Donnelley to move ahead without delay.
ACG jobs cut at Stevensville
STEVENSVILLE, Ont.American Color Graphics (ACG) announced in late January that it will close the flexographic printing department at its Stevensville, Ontario facility, in the Niagara Peninsula, laying off approximately 95 of its 250 employees. ACG is a long-run printer that handles everything from prepress to mailing and distribution for retail, newspapers and catalogues. In a report in the Buffalo News, Robert Wildbore, plant manager, said the closing is part of the Tennessee-based printing company's gradual move to consolidate its flexographic printing operations. The company also cited decreasing demand and a strong Canadian dollar as reasons for the department closure. With profits down almost $75 million in the last two years and faced with an undisclosed debtload due in 2005, last June ACG announced its intention to issue $280 million in secured notes. AGC, which maintains nine print facilities in North America, announced that it would lose $315,000 for the 2003 fiscal year.
New website for Quebecor union campaign
MONTREALQuebecor World workers have launched a Justice@Quebecor campaign website. According the Graphic Communications International Union (GCIU), the website, www.JusticeAtQuebecor.org, includes breaking news about the campaign to win workplace justice at Quebecor World and offers opportunities for both unionized and non-union workers to participate in the campaign. In December, PrintCan reported on the campaigns launch to win an agreement on labour standards from the company. A global agreement on labour standards would ensure that the company act in accordance with International Labour Organizations conventions, including the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Tony Ross, a spokesman from Quebecor World in Montreal told PrintCan in December that the company adheres to all labour laws and respects workers rights to organize or not to organize.
February 17, 2004
Ryerson grads ready for the print world
TORONTOThe Graphic Communications Management program at Ryerson University is gearing up for its annual job fair. The event, called Hot New Hires, will be held on March 10, from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Ryerson University Cafeteria. Graduates of the Ryerson program are trained in business, electronic premedia and printing technologies and also come equipped with a fresh outlook on the evolving needs of the industry. The school is accepting applications for companies to participate in the fair up until March 4.
U of T Press workers unionize
TORONTOPart-time warehouse employees at the U of T Press (UTP) have voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE.) U of Ts newspaper, The Varsity, reported that of the 35 employees who turned out to vote, an overwhelming majority voted yes. At the beginning of the month a public letter from the UTP was posted advising workers of the disadvantages of unionizing. A local CUPE spokesperson hinted to the student paper that strained relations with the UTP may have led the part-timers to seek out CUPEs representation. CUPE already represents the full-time warehouse employees as well as part-timers at the bookstore.
February 13, 2004
Candor Printing shuts its doors
TORONTOCandor Printing and Graphics shut its doors last week. Owner Matthew Jajarmi says the closure was not due to financial problems, but rather a lack of interest in the printing industry and other personal reasons. A public auction for the shops equipment will be held on Tuesday, February 24 at 11 a.m., 614 Gordon Baker Road, in North York. Items for sale include two 20 x 29 two-colour presses, folder, cutter, foil stamper, imagesetter and platemaker. MSI Asset Management is handling the sale.
Eastern Pulp & Papers last chance
BANGOR, MaineEastern Pulp & Papers two mills will be abandoned next week if a buyer or extra funding isnt found, according to a notice filed on Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland. Abandonment of the mills, which were mostly shut down in January, will result in foreclosure and creditors will be left to fight in court over assets. Two prospective buyers have submitted term-of-purchase sheets to Easterns lender and the trustee. Rumored to be seriously considering submitting a term sheet is Montreal-based Cascades, whose packaging, tissues and fine papers are similar to the product line at Easterns mill in Lincoln, Maine. Eastern filed for bankruptcy in 2000, resulting in 750 lost jobs at two mills in the state.
February 10, 2004
Baker Graphics auction postponed
TORONTOThe contents of Baker Graphics are to be auctioned off at a to-be-announced location in mid-March by receiver Sayers Buckworth & Gray. The auction, which was originally slated for February 19 at a Markham location, was rescheduled last week. In early January, PrintCan reported that closure was looming for Baker Graphics, which was in the midst of talking to an outside firm and financial institutions to find a solution to its financial crisis. Up for bidding will be press machinery, bindery equipment, prepress equipment, forklifts, computer equipment, office equipment and phone system inventory.
Moore Wallace CFO suspended
TORONTOMoore Wallace chief financial officer, Mark Hiltwein, who was also executive vice president, has been suspended for giving the companys auditors a document that he backdated several months. The company has stated that his suspension with pay results from actions the U.S.-based executive took in creating the document for its accounting by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The auditor was conducting an investigation focused on anonymous allegations of misuse of acquisition-related restructuring charges. Both companies were reportedly satisfied with the documentation supporting them and had found no evidence to support the allegations. Late last week, Hiltwein sent a memo that was dated May, 2003 after PricewaterhouseCoopers asked for any additional materials on the matter. Hiltwein has stated that the dating of this document was a mistake and was not the product of any intention to deceive. Moore Wallace shares initially fell 18 per cent on the news but recovered and closed on the TSE with a drop of 9.7%.
February 6, 2004
Halifax Heralds new press up and running
HalifaxThe Halifax Herald, the largest independent daily newspaper in Canada, has begun printing on its new Swiss made WIFAG OF 370 offset press. $26 million was spent on the shaftless, page-changing press and the Heralds new 60,000-square-foot facility in the Atlantic Acres Industrial Park. The paper was previously printed on a 50-year-old letterpress. Work that was being farmed out before, such as the Wheels and Homes sections and custom publications, such as local festival guides, will now be produced on the new press. Ian Scott, assistant general manager, says that other commercial work, such as flyers, wont be taken on until at least June when the press has been up and running efficiently for several months.
Moore Wallace year-end results take acquisition into account
MississaugaMoore Wallace released financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2003. Fourth quarter sales totaled $882.7 million with net earnings of $40.1 million. The company merged last year with Wallace Computer Services and explains the differences in the operating results in 2003 versus 2002 as primarily due to the merger. Sales in 2003 totaled $2.87 million, with net earnings of $114.2 up from 2002 sales of $2.03 million.
Quebecor 2003 results in
MontrealQuebecors fourth quarter results show a net loss of US$54 million. The decrease in operating income for the quarter is attributed to price declines in the industry, in spite of the fact that volumes were up in most of the companys business groups. Year-end consolidated revenues increased to US$6.39 million from US$6.27 million in 2002. For the full-year, Quebecor reported a net loss of US$31 million after impairment of assets restructuring and changes relating to tax and finance, compared to a profit last year of US$279.3 million. In North America alone, 2003 revenue was US$5.06 billion compared to US$5.09 billion in 2002. The companys global workforce was reduced by 2,272 positions as part of restructuring initiatives.
February 3, 2004
Halton Litho now part of Digital Imaging & Design
Oakville, ONHalton Litho has shut down as of last week. Last July the company joined forces under one roof with Digital Imaging & Design. The name was officially dropped in December, but Paul Myers, owner of Digital Imaging & Design, says that for the time being, the company is still answering the main phone line as Halton Litho so as not to confuse regular clients. Four Halton Litho employees were hired on by Digital Imaging & Design. Former Halton Litho owner, Fred Sutherland, will be working as an independent broker for the company.
Toronto print clerk deported
BUFFALO, NYNabil Al-Marabh, a former clerk at Toronto-based Best Copy Printing, was deported to Syria recently by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. The 36-year-old Kuwati-born Syrian was deemed a shadowy and transient figure who represents a security threat to the United States. In September 2001, PrintCan reported that Best Copy Printing, owned by Al-Marabhs uncle, Ahmad Shebab, was raided by city police at the request of the FBI for suspicions of being used to manufacture fake IDs for suspected terrorists. Before 9/11, Al-Marabh was arrested while attempting to sneak into the United States from Canada in the back of a truck. He was released on $10,000 bail paid by Shebab, but later skipped on his bail and was arrested on Sept. 19, 2001 in Chicago. Telephone and banking records reportedly link Al-Marabh with several 9/11 hijackers. Al-Marabh pleaded guilty in June 2002 to a charge of entering the U.S. illegally, but denied being involved with terrorism. It is unclear whether he remains in custody in Syria as a terrorism suspect.
|Paul Kett says:|