January 28, 2005
Contact buys A Toute Epreuve
MONTREALContact Image, a digital print provider, has purchased A Toute Epreuve, a Montreal-based digital wide-format print and finishing shop, active in the museology and major exposition markets. A Toute Epreuve’s Benoît Fournier will act as director of Contact Image's finishing department for an undetermined term. Contact Image products and services include digital wide-format printing and finishing, digital processing and imaging services and traditional photographic processing and imaging.
St. Joseph lands on 50 Best list again
TORONTOSt. Joseph, Canada’s largest privately owned print, publishing and digital communications company, is back on the 50 Best Managed Companies for 2004. The 50 Best Managed is a national awards program recognizing Canadian companies that have implemented best business practices. To qualify for the list, companies must undergo an extensive and rigorous due diligence process. National sponsors of the program include Deloitte, CIBC, National Post and Queen’s School of Business. To see other winners on the list, visit www.canadas50best.com.
January 25, 2005
Mary Black’s term up, Ryerson searches for new Chair
TORONTOMary Black, Chair of the Graphic Communications Management Program at Ryerson University will step down from the position next year after fulfilling her term. “It’s policy to change Chairs every so many years to get someone who’s going to put a different slant on the program,” says Black. Ryerson is now searching for an individual to fill the position. Rye Goodyear, an instructor in the program and a member of the selection committee, says the ideal candidate will have a wealth of industry knowledge and connections, as well as educational credentials. He says the selection committee is a cross section of industry members, alumni and faculty members. Nominations and applications for the Chair are being accepted at the Faculty of Communication & Design until March 10.
During her tenure as Chair, Black spearheaded the fundraising and construction of the Heidelberg graphic arts building and over the last several years visited high schools all over Ontario to tell students about the Graphic Communications program.
“She’s done a lot for the schoolwith the building and having a tremendous relationship with the industry. She’s spearheaded a lot of changes around here. She definitely will be missed, there’s no question,” says Goodyear.
Datamark explores converting to income trust
MontrealDatamark Systems Group announced last week that it is exploring reorganizing the company into an income trust in order to enhance shareholder value. The company has retained legal counsel to examine and advise on the change. In 2003, Datamark, a commercial, and form and label printer, reported revenue of $114 million. It trades on the TSE under the symbol DMK and since its announcements shares have gone from $2.40 on January 19, to $3 today. If Datamark goes ahead with the conversion, it will be the fourth print-industry company to operate as an income trust. The others are Davis+Henderson, Custom Direct and Data Group.
January 21, 2005
Hugh Foster of Foster Graphic Equipment died last Sunday
TORONTOHugh Foster, co-owner of Foster Graphic Equipment, passed away on January 16 of cancer at the age of 75. Foster, who was very well-known throughout the printing community across Canada, got his start in the industry working for A.B. Dick in 1959. He worked there for 17 years and often achieved top sales. In 1976 he formed National Graphics, a business that rebuilt used A.B. Dick machines, before starting up Foster Graphic Equipment, a used-equipment dealership, twelve years ago with his business partner, Andy Bovill. Bovill says that although Foster had been easing into retirement over the last several years, he still came into the office up until just before this past Christmas. Speaking at Foster’s funeral service on January 20, Jay Mandarino, owner of C.J. Graphics in Toronto, said Foster was like a father figure to people in the industry and will be sadly missed.
Quebecor pulls out of Saint John
SAINT JOHN, NBQuebecor World is planning to close its Saint John printing plant and move all Atlantic regional work to its Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, facility. The closure is expected to take place on March 5, according to Quebecor World spokesman, Tony Ross, and will put 90 full- and part-time staff out of work. The company will move one press from Saint John to Dartmouth. Ross says about a dozen employees will be offered transfers to the Dartmouth plant.
January 18, 2005
Point One expands shop
ETOBICOKE, Ont.Point One Graphics, a full-service trade shop, is now operating out of a new, larger facility. President Dennis Low says the new building is 78,000 sq. ft., up from its previous 28,000 sq. ft. facility. The increased floor space makes room for the shop’s new six-colour Heidelberg press and two more presses that are on the wayanother six-colour with hybrid UV and a ten-colour with roll-to-sheeter. Point One has 65 full-time staff.
Friesens wins hall of fame award
ALTONA, Man.Printer and book manufacturer, Friesens, has won The William K. Marrianan Hall of Fame Award from the New Jersey-based National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) as part of its Management Plus competition. Friesens will add this most recent honour to twelve previous Management Plus awards. President and CEO of the NAPL, Joseph Truncale, stated that Friesens has an impressive record of management excellence in every facet of the organization. David Friesen, CEO, will accept the award at a banquet in February, during NAPL’s top management conference in Pheonix, Arizona.
January 17, 2005
Kodak takes control of KPG
ROCHESTER, N.Y.Eastman Kodak will become the sole owner of Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG). Kodak is buying out Sun Chemical’s 50% interest in KPG at a cost of $817 million to be paid over several years. Kodak and Sun Chemical have each owned half of KPG since 1998. The acquisition is a strategic move by Kodak to become a major player in the digital technology market. In a conference call earlier this week, a Kodak spokesperson said the company is going to build on the regional sales structure that is already in place with KPG and the other business that it has acquired and eventually move to an integrated sales force. Last year Kodak bought out NexPress from Heidelberg and in 2003 it bought Scitex, which it renamed Kodak Versamark.
Schawk consolidates operations in Mississauga
MISSISSAUGA, ONSchawk Canada a packaging prepress shop recently consolidated its two Mississauga businesses and Toronto location into a new location in Mississauga. The new 50,000 sq. ft. building was completely designed for prepress and will allow the three operations to work together under one roof, according to Serge Trajkovich, business development manager at Schawk. Trajkovich says the company is keeping its downtown clients and sales staff will have use of the offices at Anthem Group, a creative design studio owned by Schawk.
January 11, 2005
PW Group restructures, receives creditor protection
REGINA PW Group has received creditor protection and is restructuring its business. The company includes PrintWest Communications; a commercial printer with plants in Regina and Saskatoon; Mister Print, a quick-print shop in Saskatoon; August Communications a magazine publishing house in Winnipeg; and the now-closed Sentry Press, a commercial print shop in Innisfail, Alberta. The company has secured financing to operate during the restructuring period, which is expected to last about four or five months according to Grant Gayton, acting CEO of PW Group. Gayton says financial difficulties were the result of the weakened U.S. dollar and the Manitoba publishing venture, August Communications. “We were on a rapid growth strategy that we couldn’t afford,” he says. Restructuring began in November, with the layoff of 17 staff at August Communications, followed by the entire workforce of 34 at Sentry Press. “Getting this application through the court was a very important and positive step for us. We just needed the time to finish the restructuring that we started back in November,” says Gayton. PW Group plans to remain up and running and meet creditor demands. PrintWest Communications in Regina was listed on Graphic Monthly’s Gold List, with annual sales of $36.8 million in 2003. Gayton says that figure was more than $40 million in 2004, but that sales will be down significantly in 2005 because the company will no longer be marketing itself in the U.S.
Canadian cheques get new printing specs
OTTAWACanadian cheques will soon have to adhere to new printing specifications. The Canadian Payments Associations (CPA) has issued a new version of the Canadian standard for cheque formats and printing specifications as a key element of modernizing the cheque clearing system. The cheque clearing process, in which about five million cheques are transported between financial institutions daily, will be made more efficient by capturing images of cheques so they can be cleared electronically. Some of the changes include new printing requirements on the reverse of the cheque so that image capture can be verified, a mandatory serial number encoded on the bottom of the cheque, an increase in the minimum length, standardized positions for key fields on the cheque, and disallowance of elements such as italics of slanted fonts that may hinder the capture of data. A released statement from the CPA says cheque printers that print their own cheques are strongly encouraged to provide pre-production samples of their new cheques to their financial institution’s quality assurance division. The CPA has established a two-year transition period to ensure cheque printers have ample time to make the changes.
January 7, 2005
More Metros may be printed in Canada
TORONTOThe CEO of Metro International, the publisher of the free commuter tabloids that have become wildly popular in large cities all over the world, including Toronto and Montreal, says the company is planning new startups in North America. This could generate some lovely revenue for the printing industry considering that since the first Metro was published in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1995, it now publishes 42 editions worldwide, in 17 countries and in 16 languages with advertising sales revenue growing at a compounded rate of 47 percent a year. Metro was originally distributed only in sophisticated transit systems, but the company’s CEO now says that the paper can succeed in cities as small as 500,000 as well as cities that don’t have subway systems. In Montreal, the Metro is partly owned by printer and publisher Transcontinental and in Toronto, the paper is a partly owned by Torstar.
Ontario Blue Box program rates rise
TORONTOThe Ontario blue box program, which requires creators of printed and packaged materials to pay a fee for products that end up in the consumer residential waste stream has increased its unit rates, as shown in the table below. The aim of the program is for companies to contribute to the cost of collecting and recycling the products that they are creating and profiting from. A news story in the August 2004 Graphic Monthly addressed printers’ concerns that the fees their customers face may lead to a decline in printing and revenue. In 2004, approximately $20.3 million was collected from Ontario’s businesses and industrial sector, but the fees have increased this year based on the actual costs from municipalities. The cost of the municipal blue-box programs in 2005 is expected to be about $117.5 million. The program’s mandate calls for industry to contribute 50% of the net costs. Stewards' fees are calculated by multiplying the quantities of designated printed paper and packaging by the material fee rates.
Comparison of Blue Box program fees
|Fees Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 2005||Fees July 1 - Dec. 31 2004
|Printed Paper||Newspaper CNA/ OCNA Members||0.271 ¢/kg||0.026 ¢/kg|
|Newspaper Non CNA/OCNA||0.786 ¢/kg|
|Magazine and Catalogues||0.862 ¢/kg||0.310 ¢/kg|
|Telephone Directories||1.302 ¢/kg||0.687 ¢/kg|
|Other Printed Paper||9.029 ¢/kg||0.318 ¢/kg|
January 4, 2005
Data Group completes IPO
Brampton, ONThe Data Group Income Fund completed its initial public offering a few days before Christmas. It sold 13.327 million units for $10 each, raising more than $133 million, which it will use to buy a 100% interest in Data Business Forms Ltd. Units of the fund now trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol DGI. The syndicate which underwrote the offering still has an option to buy an additional 1.486 million units for a period of 30 days after closing. Data is a provider of document management services, including printing.
Richmond flexible packaging plant to close
Hartsville, S.C.Sonoco, a global packaging company, will close its flexible packaging plant in Richmond, B.C. by the end of March. The plant has approximately 67 employees and has coffee, confectionary and snack food contracts. The Richmond operations will be consolidated into Sonoco’s flexible packaging plant in Mississauga, Ont. Allan Cecil, Vice President of Sonoco says that there won’t be a significant increase at the Mississauga plant, as its operations have the ability to absorb the consolidation. In a released statement Thomas Coker, division vice president and general manager, Flexible Packaging, stated,“the Richomond plant’s location, narrow web printing presses and existing extrusion capability are not a cost effective long-term strategic fit for Sonoco’s flexible packaging operations.” He also said the consolidation will not adversely affect the company’s ability to serve its markets and customers. Sonoco says some employees may work into April to assist with the final transitions and the company will offer outplacement assistance. Sonoco was founded in 1899 and manufactures industrial and consumer products as well as providing packaging services, from more than 300 operations in 36 countries.