News Archives
March 2007

March 29, 2007
U of T Press workers end strike
TORONTO—After a month-long strike, part-time warehouse workers at U of T Press voted yesterday to return to work. The vote went 12-7 in favour of accepting the shop’s latest contract offer, allowing the part-timers to return on Monday. The strike began March 2 over pay rates. Under their old deal, part-time employees earned $9.36/hour. Ron Hoinkes, president of the CUPE local 3261 to which the workers belong, says the union’s goal was to get wages to $10/hour. Under the newly accepted terms, wages will reach $10.04/hour by the third year of an employee's contract. Kathryn Bennett, executive vice president of administration at U of T Press, says the strike did not prevent the shop from meeting its obligations to clients.

Budget passes, printers get two-year write-offs
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Tory minority government passed their 2007 budget Tuesday, paving the way for manufacturers’ savings. With the Bloc Quebecois on-side in the vote, the budget passed easily. As a result, measures to reduce the write-off period on manufacturing equipment are now a reality, as are the capital cost allowance changes for computers and manufacturing buildings (see PrintCAN March 20, 2007 for details on these changes).

New Gear - Display graphics printer gets new press
EDMONTON—Display Design Systems have brought their digital printing in-house and grabbed a Designjet 10000 to help get the job done. The shop designs popup displays, outdoor banners and graphic cases. Pictured standing left to right next to the HP Designjet are Darcy Cherbank, Display Design Systems plant supervisor, and Darren McKenzie, press operator.

March 27, 2007
Production Values – A slower start to 2007
OTTAWA—Print shipment totals for 2007 have started to roll in, and they report a slower start than last year. Statistics Canada has released the numbers for January 2007, but note that these numbers are not adjusted for inflation.

SHIPMENTS

2007

2006

Change

January

$809.5 million

$818.4 million

-1.5%

No single province accounts fully for the drop, as shipments are down slightly across the board. Prince Edward Island, however, did see a considerable decline for its relatively small market. In December 2006 it reported $517,000 in shipments, which dropped to $354,000 the following month—a 32% reduction.

More magazine launches
MONTREAL—The Canadian version of More magazine has hit newsstands, fresh from Transcontinental’s presses. The 160-page lifestyle magazine targets the 40+ female demographic nationwide. According to a recent press release, subscription levels will “will likely reach 80,000” copies, a significant part of the mag’s initial125,000-copy press run. Advertising Age named the U.S. version of the magazine, which is owned by Meredith Corporation, as the 2006 Magazine of the Year. According to Transcontinental, the U.S. version has tripled its circulation since launching in 1998

March 23, 2007
Fastforms takes over Mississauga trade shop
GUELPH, Ont.—Gary Christie, president of trade shop Fastforms Inc., has finalized a deal nearly a year in the making to expand his operations into the GTA. Last summer, Frank Smith and John Prain, then the owners of Mississauga trade shop The Print Key, toured Fastforms’ Guelph facility and got people talking about a possible acquisition.

This week, Fastforms took over the reigns at The Print Key for an undisclosed sum. Smith has now retired, and Prain is remaining temporarily aboard to help with the transition. All 34 Print Key employees, including its president Mary Colavecchia, will stay with the company. The only immediate change will be the transfer of some sheetfed equipment from the Guelph facility to make operations more efficient. The Print Key will even keep its name.

Fastforms has direct mail and form printing services, and does approximately $12 million in sales annually.

March 22, 2007
B.C.-based shop charges into Calgary
CALGARY—David Allan has brought his Rhino across the Rockies. Rhino Print Solutions, Allan’s commercial shop that had $9.6 million in sales last year, has acquired the Ideal Printing Company, formerly owned and operated by Gary and Dawn Evans. Rhino had been developing clients in Calgary for years, and by purchasing Ideal the company has cemented its presence there. Allan says he plans to use the Calgary shop to serve all of Rhino’s North American clients with short run jobs. He’ll be installing two new offset presses in the near future to make that happen. Rhino’s original location in Richmond, B.C., will now handle longer-run jobs.

Quebecor releases Q4 financials
MONTREAL—Printing didn’t turn in big numbers for Quebecor World in the closing months of 2006, but the overall year finished stronger than 2005. In Q4, Quebecor reported revenues of US$1.6 billion, a 2.4% decline from Q4 2005 when it reported US$1.7 billion. Its profit for the quarter came to US$11.6 million. Revenues for the full year totaled US$6.09 billion, down from US$6.3 billion the previous year. Full-year profits came to US$28.3 million, a decided improvement over last year’s loss of US$162.6 million.

March 20, 2007
Federal budget offers manufacturers a break
OTTAWA—Printers may be glad to hear that the proposed federal budget contains several policies aimed directly at the manufacturing sector. Finance minister Jim Flaherty put forth the Conservative Party’s budget with the following recommendations:

  • A two-year write-off period for manufacturing businesses on equipment bought after March 19, 2007 and before 2009
  • Changing the capital cost allowance on manufacturing and processing buildings to 10% (up from 4%)
  • Changing the capital cost allowance on computers to 55% (up from 45%).

In a statement released this morning, the Canadian Printing Industries Association said this is good news for printers. Sean Murray, chairman of the CPIA’s government affairs committee, said, “These changes are extremely encouraging after many years of pushing for them.” At the outset, the Liberal and NDP parties have come out against the budget, but the Bloc Quebecois says it will support it. That should be sufficient to allow the budget to pass a parliamentary vote.

Transcontinental sees drop in Q1
MONTREAL—According to its Q1 financial report, a strong dollar, restructuring costs and reduced sales led to a significant drop in Transcontinental Inc.’s profits. The first quarter ended with the Montreal powerhouse print company reporting a 28% drop in profits compared with 2006. That works out to a $7.7 million decline in profit on revenue totaling $568 million. The company predicts a stronger second-half performance on the year.

New Gear – Prairie printer installs new CTP device
SASKATOON, Sask.—PrintWest Communications has just planted a new Fujifilm Luxel T-9800II CTP device on its shop floor. PrintWest has three locations in Saskatchewan, and 140 employees . Left to right are Kelvin Jones, PrintWest’s prepress systems manager; Gary Thompson, account manager at Fujifilm Canada; and Kendra Brown, PrintWest’s production manager.

March 15, 2007
Trade Watch – First glimpse at 2007
OTTAWA—The first import and export statistics for 2007 have been made available by Industry Canada. Note that these numbers are not adjusted for inflation.

EXPORTS

2007

2006

Change

January

$124.5 million

$89.5 million

8.7%

Mexico bought $1.02 million from Canada in January, which follows a 24-month record of $1.36 million in December. Before that, it was rare to see exports to Mexico totaling more than $700,000.

IMPORTS

2007

2006

Change

January

$97.3 million

$125.9 million

-1.1%

While January 2007 posted higher numbers than the previous year, not much had changed from December. Most Canadian buyers maintained their international purchase levels with a few minor increases. France upped its exports slightly more than other countries to $1.03 million, ending a general downturn in the country’s print exportation to Canada.

Marcoux to receive Canada’s highest civilian honour
OTTAWA—Transcontinental Inc.’s founder Remi Marcoux has been named as an appointee to the Order of Canada. Governor General Michaëlle Jean will induct Marcoux and 88 other honourees into the order at a ceremony to be held in Ottawa later this year. Marcoux was granted the honour for his contributions to industry, commerce and business.

March 13, 2007
Quebecor to continue printing tales of soft-focus passion, intrigue
MONTREAL—Harlequin Enterprises has signed a multi-year printing agreement that will see Quebecor World continue to print the romance novel giant’s wildly popular books. The agreement is an extension of an existing contract that last year put 145 million books, or 44 billion pages, through Quebecor’s presses under the Harlequin, Silhouette and Mira brand names. The books will be produced on new Timson presses that Quebecor will acquire as part of its previously announced three-year retooling plan.

Canadian university gets international document management grant
TORONTO—EDSF, an international non-profit organization, has awarded four universities worldwide with grant money intended to promote research in document management and the communication industries. A seven-person team from Ryerson University in Toronto, which includes six students in the Graphic Communication Management program and one professor, will use the grant to research their topic: trends and innovations in packaging with links to JDF hardware and software applications. Other schools receiving grant money are Wuhan University in Wuhan, China; University for Applied Sciences in Stuttgart, Germany; and Millersville University in Millersville, Pa.

March 8, 2007
C.J. heads for Florida’s sunny climes
TORONTO—Not to be confused with the similar-sounding crime scene investigation television show, C.J. Graphics Miami has opened for business. President Jay Mandarino announced the opening of a satellite office in Florida, which will be under the direction of Brian Dort, vice president of sales. As of now the location is strictly for sales, but Mandarino says he hopes to add digital and small offset presses to the operation within the year. “The region’s high concentration of world-class advertising agencies and innovative graphic designers, and the fact that it’s one of the nations’ hottest art markets, were all considerations in my decision to launch in Miami,” Mandarino said in a statement. C.J. Graphics’ 2005 sales totaled nearly $14 million.

Hemlock wins big at EPAs
TORONTO—Hemlock Printers was the big winner at this year’s Environmental Printing Awards, winning two gold medals. The Burnaby, B.C., shop took home honours for the Most Progressive Environmental Printing Project for its Holiday Gift Wrap Set, and was also named the Most Environmentally Progressive Printer in Canada in the 100-plus employees category. The annual event is organized by Print Action magazine. Other gold medal winners included:
Environmental Innovator - Nicole Rycroft, Markets Initiative
Most Progressive Environmental Process – Dox Returns Application, DistribuTech Inc.
Most Environmentally progressive Print Consumer – Mountain Equipment Co-op
Most Progressive Environmental packaging Project – Farnell Packaging Ltd.
Most Environmentally Progressive Printer (1 – 49 employees) – Taylor Label Inc

New Gear – FSA Group goes for big colour
MARKHAM, Ont.—Wanting to expand the size of its colour print runs, direct marketing producers FSA Group decided it was time to add to their arsenal. Company president Rob van Velzen purchased an HP Indigo 5000 to supplement the two Indigo 1000s the shop already had. Left to right are van Velzen with Rod MacMillan, director of information systems and technology, and Jose Santano, digital print manager..

March 6, 2007
Data Group to close plants
BRAMPTON, Ont.—After acquiring Relizon Inc. in August, 2006, document management provider The Data Group has announced the closure of four print facilities. Relizon operated three of the facilities prior to the acquisition—Hemmingford, Que.; Orangeville, Ont.; and Medicine Hat, Alta. Those, along with a plant in Dorval, Que., are being prepped for closure by the end of 2007’s third fiscal quarter. According to a press release, 121 jobs will be eliminated with an additional 99 positions to be transferred to other Data Group facilities. The company currently has 56 facilities across Canada and runs a commercial print operation called Sun Dog in Calgary. The closures have an estimated cost between $6 million and $7 million.

Agfa parent company to split in three
MORTSEL, Belgium—The board of Agfa-Gevaert, the parent company of digital press manufacturer Agfa, has decided to split its three primary divisions into separate companies. Agfa Graphics, Agfa Materials and Agfa HealthCare should be de-merged by the end of 2007.

New Gear – Business Cards Tomorrow’s new Quickmasters
MISSISSAUGA, Ont.—At 20-years-old, Business Cards Tomorrow specializes in 4-colour printing and thermography. Recently, the shop had two new Quickmaster presses installed—a QM46-2 and a DI 46-4. Standing left to right beside the QM46-2 are Dwayne Jackson, pressroom supervisor, and Daryl Hiltz, general manager.

March 1, 2007
Dollco’s patriarch passes away
OTTAWA—Industry icon G. Brian “Hap” Nicholds, whose family has owned Dollco Printing since 1956, passed away last week after suffering a heart attack. A prominent Ottawa businessman, Nicholds took over Dollco in 1976 with his brother Barry (their grandfather Gerald originally bought the company). Nicholds was once co-owner and president of Ottawa’s CFL franchise, the Rough Riders, and was active in the Kiwanis Club. In 2001 he retired as president of Dollco. Nicholds’ daughter Krista and nephew Kevin now run the commercial shop, which had sales in excess of $50 million in 2005. Nicholds passed away on February 22 at his home in Longboat Key, Fla. He is survived by his wife Deirdre, his daughters Krista and Stephanie, his grandchildren Harry and Bridget, and his step-granddaughter Caitlin. He was 68.

Corporate Canada grows
OTTAWA—Big business is a big print buyer. As Kris Bovay, chair of the British Columbia Printing and Imaging Association, once said, “Where head offices are is often where the print is.” This puts the recent Conference Board of Canada report on the proliferation of corporate headquarters in Canada in the spotlight. The report, called Is Corporate Canada Being Hollowed Out?, says the number of head offices in Canada grew by 4.2% between 1999 and 2005, and that head office employment grew by 11%. Some cities have benefited from this more than others. Head office employment in Calgary grew by 64% during the period of study, Ottawa grew by 28% and Toronto by 19%. Some cities saw a decline however—Winnipeg head offices decreased by 7% and Vancouver endured a 29% decrease.

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