July 30, 2004
Bevington opens doors to raise support
TORONTOStan Bevington, founder of Coach House Books, welcomed a few hundred visitors to his legendary print shop for an open house in support of saving the building. Colleagues, authors, and concerned community members gathered at the quaint site nestled among laneways on University of Toronto turf, where two Heidelberg presses circa the mid 1960s have been printing Coach House books for nearly 40 years. And just steps away, authors have been known to glue their own books in the small bindery room. Bevington says he could have moved out of the downtown core and opened up a large press operation, but his philosophy has always been to produce only the number of books that are in scale and manageable in his publishing business. Yesterday the publisher/printer announced that it is setting up a foundation to support the long-term maintenance of Coach Houses home and plans to donate its archives to the Fisher Rare Books library at the University of Toronto. A building project for the site is planned to create student housing, which would demolish the spaces that house the printing presses and bindery, leaving the printing part of the business without adequate space to house its operations. City council recently voted to designate Coach House a cultural landmark, but official designation still lies in the hands of the Ontario Municipal Board.
BPG sets up in previous Baker Graphics shop
MARKHAMBPG Graphic Solutions (Baker Pro Press Group) was recently established by Pro Press and has moved into the former Baker Graphics shop from Pro Presss previous location in Scarborough. PrintCAN first reported on a financial crisis at Baker Graphics in January and later learned that Pro Press had purchased most of its assets. BPG has hired several Baker employees, bringing the staff count up to about 50 from 20. It has also purchased Bakers assets including die-cutting and finishing equipment and a five-colour 40 Heidelberg, giving the company a total of three 40 presses. Baker also owned Octagon Industries, a business that developed and patented a pricing system called Digital 8, which BPG has agreed to buy the rights and will sell licensing agreements. Newly appointed vice president of manufacturing Daryn Collier says BPG is going to be a large force in the industry and expects the business to jump from $2.5-$3 million a year to $10-12 million a year. The shop currently produces commercial work and books as well as specialty and niche products printed on plastic and synthetics.
July 26, 2004
Celebration of Excellence for Ryerson slated for this fall
TORONTOValerie Pringle, national broadcaster and Ryerson alumni, and Chris Rudge, CEO and Secretary General of the Canadian Olympic Committee will be speaking at a Gala Benefit for the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University. The Celebration of Excellence dinner and dance will be held on October 7 at the Granite Club and will also feature the musical stylings of Montreal trumpet legend Guido Basso. Proceeds from the evening will go towards the capital building fund.
Industry Sector Council for print in talks
OTTAWAAbout 40 key stakeholders in the print industry met recently in Montreal to review a report and action plans for an industry sector council program that would be implemented by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC.) The sector council would represent the industry through associations, through unions, through companies and through educational facilities to identify the HR need of the industry over the next decade or so, says Bob Dale, a former Graphic Monthly columnist and industry consultant who was invited to the meeting in Montreal. The sector council would address human resource issues such as a skills shortage gap, apprenticeship programs and consistency of training programs across the country. Look for more information on the development of a print industry sector council in the next issue of Graphic Monthly.
July 23, 2004
Coach House fights to keep its home
TORONTOPublisher, Coach House Books and its affiliated print shop, Coach House Printing, are frantically rallying for support in favour of the July 20-City Council vote approving the Preservation Boards decision that Coach House is a cultural landmark worthy of a heritage designation. The decision prevents any demolition of the building for 180 days, but is still at risk of being overturned by the Ontario Municipal Board. In April PrintCAN reported that Coach House was being edged out if its current location by Campus Co-op, the University of Toronto student co-op residence, of which the shop is a tenant. A building project is planned to create student housing, which would demolish the spaces that house the printing presses and bindery leaving the printing part of the business without adequate space to house its operations. Although Campus Co-op is offering office space, Coach House requires both its printing and publishing arms together in order to remain a functioning business. The small offset press operation, founded by Stan Bevington in 1965, prints about 250 short-run titles a year and has been an important instrument for nurturing Canadian literature. A petition on www.chbooks.com has been signed by more than 2,400 petitioners and on July 29, Coach House is holding an open house from 3-8 p.m. to drum up support in the fight to save the site.
Phipps-Dickson and Houston merge in Montreal
MONTREALPhipps-Dickson has merged with Houston Press. Both companies are commercial printers serving agencies, direct corporate companies and the design market. Gaetano DiTrapani, president of Phipps-Dickson, says that the two operations will be complementary to each other because although they share the same market, their client base does not overlap. About twenty employees will be moved to the Phipps-Dickson location as well as the Houston equipment including a five-colour, 40 Heidelberg press that will enable the company to produce up to 40 point board. DiTrapani says the company also plans to get into digital printing in the future. Phipps-Dickson, is listed on Graphic Monthlys Gold List of top 100 printers with sales of $18.3 million in 2003. DiTrapani says that Houston has annual sales of $6 million.
July 20, 2004
Tri-Graphic acquires Studio Colour Group
OTTAWATri-Graphic Printing recently purchased Studio Colour Group (SCG), which it says is the citys last remaining prepress service bureau. Tri-Graphic has taken over the personnel and the equipment from SCG, a fifteen-year-old company that is known for high-quality scanning, colour correction, proofing and analogue film production. A recent report in PrintCAN dispelled rumours of a sale or take-over of Tri-Graphic, which has undergone some recent changes including a new president and new employees as part of an effort to expand its market share in commercial printing.
Future passport printing process to change
OTTAWACanada plans to issue new e-Passports with digital security features next year to reduce the chance of passport tampering and identity fraud. Canada Bank Note currently prints the passports, but who will print the new high-tech passports hasnt been decided yet as the project isnt expected to be implemented until mid-2005 according to Dan Kingsbury, a spokesperson for the federal passport office. Kingsbury says printing of passports will also become centralized, meaning all Canadian passport applications from abroad will be sent back to Canada to be produced. The new e-Passports will include a digitized photo with measurable personal features, such as an image iris scan or fingerprints, and a computer chip containing a photograph and personal information that can be accessed on a computer screen by swiping the passport. The initiative has funding of $10.3 million to be spread out over three years and will first be distributed to Canadian diplomats on a trial basis before issuing to the general public.
July 16, 2004
Punch to buy basysPrint
LIER, BelgiumPunch International announced yesterday afternoon that it had bought basysPrint GmbH. Punch already owns Xeikon International, producer of digital presses, and Strobbe Graphics which manufactures several visible-light CTP devices. BasysPrint markets computer-to-conventional-plate technology, using conventional printing plates instead of thermal or violet plates. It has an install base of more than 500 platesetters worldwide.
Crack down on fraudulent ticket printing
TORONTOA laser printer worth $5,000 was used to reproduce thousands of phony tickets for the Toronto public transit service, which netted about $500,000. The operator of the home counterfeit operation was one among more than 300 people recently charged after an 18-month investigation into ticket fraud that resulted in 20,000 fake tickets being seized. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) noticed an increase in phony tickets in 2003, which it estimates cost about $1.2 million in lost revenue that year. The TTC is changing its ticket design to make it harder to counterfeit the tickets.
July 13, 2004
Presstek to buy A.B. Dick
HUDSON, NH; CHICAGO, ILPresstek announced this morning that it has signed a letter of agreement to buy A.B. Dick Co., including its Canadian subsidiary, A.B. Dick Co. of Canada, for US$40 million in cash. At the same time, A.B. Dick announced that it, its parent company, Paragon Corporate Holdings Inc., and several other subsidiaries had filed for creditor protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. A.B. Dick in Canada is not included in the bankruptcy filing and, according to general manager Fred Wood, the company is not in any financial trouble.
In a conference call earlier today Presstek president, Ed Marino, said the purchase is attractive because it will fuse Pressteks products and technologies with A.B. Dicks distribution and sales channels in a market where Presstek wants to strengthen its position. A.B. Dick has about 15,000 clients worldwide, most of which have fewer than 10 employees but are expected to make the switch to digital technologies.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval, but is expected to close by the end of September. The two companies have been in talks for several months and Presstek says that it plans to run A.B. Dick as an independent business unit, likely retaining the A.B. Dick name.
Todays announcements come days after Paragon was hit by a lawsuit from one of its largest unsecured creditors, MHR Capital Partners. MHR, which holds about US$18 million of US$25 million in debt issued by Paragon in 2001, sued in order to secure a seat on A.B. Dicks management board, claiming A.B. Dick was no longer able to pay suppliers on time, and was struggling financially.
Canadian Bank Note going private
OTTAWACanadian Bank Note, supplier of high-security printed products including currency, lottery tickets, stamps and passports for dozens of countries, is changing its ownership structure from being publicly traded to privately held. The shareholders of the company have approved the going private transaction and plans are underway for the company to amalgamate with a private undisclosed Ontario corporation. A spokesperson at the company said that the decision to go private was based on a lack luster performance on the public market. CEO Douglas Arends, the main shareholder, owns 73% of the companys 24.675 million shares. The shares will be redeemed this week for $3.50 each, making the transaction worth about $23.3 million.
July 9, 2004
OTTAWATri-Graphic Printing in Ottawa is undergoing some changes, which over the past few months has had the industry rumour mill churning about a suspected take over or sale. Bob Brown, who was appointed president of the company this past January, says that the company isnt being sold, but is taking on commercial work to expand and diversify its market and increase revenue. Recently, the shop, which has traditionally done book printing, added about 15 employees in different departments as part of an effort to take on high-end commercial jobs such as annual reports. Tri-Graphic is listed on Graphic Monthlys Gold List of Canadas top 100 printers with sales of $15.3 million in 2003.
Printers up for Entrepreneur of the Year
TORONTOErnst & Young has announced the finalists for its Entrepreneur of the Year 2004 program. The finalists are: from the Ontario region, Earl OBorn, owner of The Printing House Ltd., a print-on-demand services provider; and from the Pacific region, Robert Meggy of The Great Little Box Company, a provider of corrugated boxes and packaging. Both nominees are up against more than 30 other candidates in their regions. Each winner from both regions will compete against the winners of the three other Canadian regions, Atlantic, Quebec and Prairie, for the national Entrepreneur of the Year title to be announced in Ottawa in November. The awards honour entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
July 6, 2004
Quebecor World To slash U.S. jobs
MONTREALQuebecor World is cutting 450 jobs at its book facility in Kingsport, Tennessee as part of a reorganization of its book platform. About 280 jobs will be created elsewhere in the U.S. and selected equipment from the Tennessee plant will be decommissioned or redeployed to existing locations. The remaining assets will be refocused and specialized according to the company. Quebecor World also announced that it may shut down its Nordic gravure facility in Stockholm, Sweden, which has been struggling financially for several years. The reorganization of the companys U.S. book platform, the Nordic gravure segment reorganization, and the announcement in May of the companys intention to close its magazine plant in Effingham, Illinois would result in restructuring charges of about $80 million.
CCL sells off Winnipeg label plant
Willowdale, ONCCL Industries Inc., a consumer packaging company, has sold its Winnipeg facility, CCL Label Winnipeg, to a private local company, Color Ad Label, for $7 million. The plant had annual sales of about $10 million. CCL Industries has also acquired Montreal-based Graphiques Apex Inc., a producer of instructional leaflets for the pharmaceutical industry for $3.7 million. Apex has annual sales of about $4 million. A statement from the company on the sale and acquisition cites the importance of building its pharmaceutical business in Canada and says that the realignment is part of its Label strategy to focus on the higher value added markets.