November 27, 2008
Lowe-Martin Group turns 100 today
OTTAWA—The Lowe-Martin Group is celebrating its 100th anniversary today with the unveiling of a time capsule to be opened 50 years from now. The capsule will be placed in a sealed box in the reception area of the company’s Ottawa facility, and will contain an employee list, and a letter from owner Ward Griffin to his children. E.D. Lowe and T.H. Martin founded Lowe-Martin in 1908 as a small specialized print shop. The Griffin family bought it in 1984, and today the company employs 370 people, and has facilities in Ottawa, Toronto, and Ireland.
Trade Watch: Printing deficit deepens
OTTAWA—Canada’s print trade deficit continues to worsen, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. The trade deficit sits at $82.43 million for the January-September period, down from a surplus of $50.40 million in the same period in 2007. That’s a drop of 263.6%. Exports to the U.S. dropped to $90.51 million in September, from $94.92 million at the same time last year. Imports from the U.S. were up slightly, coming in at $88.84 million for the month, compared to $78.04 million in September 2007. Imports from China were $23.56 million, up from $22.96 million in the same period in 2007
|September||$109.51 million||$116.90 million||-6.3%|
|Year to date||$915.85 million||$1.10 billion||-15.1%|
|September||$129.08 million||$115.19 million||12.0%|
|Year to date||$998.27 million||$1.03 billion||-3.0%|
Quebecor World to install three web presses
MONTREAL—Quebecor World has announced it is purchasing three Manroland web presses, one to be installed in Canada, and two at facilities in the U.S. The new presses, equipped with the latest in quality control and delivery systems, will be dedicated to the company’s retail insert segment. The Canadian press, along with one in the U.S., will be operational in the third quarter of 2009. The company would not disclose the locations where the presses will be installed.
November 25, 2008
Print World 2008 closes on high note
TORONTO—Print World 2008, which took place at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, ended yesterday. The show ran from Sat. Nov. 22 to Mon. Nov. 24, and featured top-notch exhibitors, well-attended seminars, and presentations galore. Look for an in-depth round up of Print World on PrintCan in the coming days.
Sector Council releases industry roadmap report at Print World
TORONTO—The Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC) released a new report at Print World in Toronto on Saturday. Titled “Charting Our Course: A Skills and Technology Roadmap for the Canadian Printing and Graphic Communications Industry,” the report aims to help the print industry deal with changing technologies and various HR issues. According to the study, technology trends most likely to have an impact on the industry include, increased demand for environmental sustainability, advances in science and print capabilities, and the application of customized databases for direct printing. The report also makes recommendations as to what the industry can do to maximize its use of these trends, including, research to better understand database printing, flexible training programs, and an industry approach to environmentally aware printing. A full copy of the report is available at www.cpisc-csic.ca
B.C. shop opts for a Kodak Nexpress
RICHMOND, B.C.—Commercial printer Glenmore Printing has installed a Kodak Nexpress M700 digital colour press to handle variable printing and to keep up with its growing business. The B.C.-based shop has been in business for more than 27 years and employs 50.
November 20, 2008
See you at Print World 2008
TORONTO—While you’re at Print World 2008 this weekend, take a minute to drop by the Graphic Monthly Canada booth and talk to the editors of the magazine and its website PrintCAN. Also, remember to check out the Adobe Software Theatre, International and UPEX pavilions, workshops and seminars, and Design City, Canada’s largest expo for graphic designers. Print World 2008 takes place on Nov. 22-24 at the Direct Energy Centre in downtown Toronto. For more information, or to register for the seminars, visit www.printworldshow.com or www.designcityshow.com
Komunik in creditor protection
MONTREAL—Komunik is operating under creditor protection, the company announced yesterday. The company reports a long list of financial problems, including a liquidity crisis, excessive overhead costs, difficulty integrating its 2007 acquisition of Datamark, and unsatisfactory conditions in the printing industry, and owes about 16 million in unsecured liabilities. The company has been attempting to restructure for several months, and RSM Richter became the court appointed monitor in mid-September. Komunik is examining all its options and ads will be placed in La Presse and the Globe and Mail newspapers seeking potential buyers on November 25. All interested parties will have until January 15, 2009 to submit purchase offers. Komunik was formed by the merger of Komunik and Datamark Systems Group in June 2007, and employs 629 people across Canada. More details will be provided as they become available.
Quebecor World increases volume of US Weekly magazine
MONTREAL—Quebecor World has signed an extended print agreement with Wenner Media to increase printing of the publisher’s US Weekly magazine almost 20%, the company announced yesterday. Earlier this year, Quebecor World inked a multi-year agreement with Wenner Media to print Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, and US Weekly, and has been increasing its share of US Weekly printing since. Quebecor World says most of its increased US Weekly printing will be done at its facility in Dallas.
November 18, 2008
Print World ramps up for Saturday opening
TORONTO—The stage is set for Print World 2008, opening this weekend in Toronto. There are new additions to the show, like the International and UPEX pavilions, and a number of new exhibitors setting up shop, including Océ, which has its biggest booth ever in Canada. Other newcomers include Hans-Gronhi Graphic Technology from China, Xpedx, and South Asia Plastics Group. Print World 2008 also has some top-notch seminars scheduled, including Selling to the New Print Buyer, presented by David Fellman, president of David Fellman & Associates, What’s a Printing Company Worth? with John Hyde, vice president and senior consultant with NAPL, and How to Make Money Selling Printing on the Internet, with Slava Apel, the CEO of Amazing Print Corp. Visitors should also check out Design City, Canada’s largest expo for graphic designers, featuring a series of informative seminars and workshops.
Print World takes place on Nov. 22-24 at the Direct Energy Centre in downtown Toronto. For more information, or to register for the seminars, visit www.printworldshow.com or www.designcityshow.com
Grafikom owes $49 million to banks
TORONTO—More details have become available regarding the lead-up to Grafikom going into receivership. According to papers filed in the case, Grafikom owes $49 million to the Bank of Montreal, the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Alberta Treasury Branches. The institutions demanded payment on November 7, after several months of negotiating and attempted restructurings. The documents state that Grafikom failed to meet criteria of its lending agreements as far back as June, and in August it engaged RSM Richter, the current receiver, to provide restructuring advice. RSM Richter concluded that Grafikom was overleveraged and its financial projections were not enough to cover annual interest and principal repayments. In one proposal, Grafikom offered to sell its divisions in Calgary, Edmonton, Mexico and Sherbrooke, Que., and invest in new digital printing operations. The
lending institutions did not accept the deal. A receiver was appointed November 10.
Transcontinental buys Redwood Custom Communications
MONTREAL—Transcontinental has purchased Toronto-based custom publishing company Redwood Custom Communications, the company announced today. It’s the first acquisition for Transcontinental’s newly created Marketing Communications Sector, and the company says Redwood’s database marketing, research, variable printing and premedia tools will complement the Sector’s existing services.
Redwood’s CEO will remain on as an equity partner, and will continue to lead the team of 130 employees. Redwood Custom Communications creates branded editorial material for a range of clients including
November 13, 2008
Another scam hits Canadian and U.S. printers
OTTAWA—Just months after an Africa-based scam artist was targeting printers in North America and the U.K, another con artist has set his sights on printers. Bob Elliott, president of the CPIA, told PrintCAN today that at least six printers in Canada, and two in the U.S. have come to him with stories of a scammer operating out of Quebec. The scheme varies, but usually involves the printing, and sometimes mailing, of health-related brochures and flyers. He issues printers cheques, which he then stops payment on, or provides cheques banks will not honour. The con man operates under several marketing company names, and in some cases, will do legitimate business with a shop, establish a relationship, and rip them off next time.
Though Elliott wouldn’t reveal the name of the scammer or the printers affected, he did say that one shop had taken the scammer to court, but still hasn’t recovered its money. He often skips court dates, and due to his intricate corporate set-up, law enforcement and printers are having trouble tracking him down. Elliott is advising all printers to keep their guard up when accepting new jobs, and to run thorough credit checks and do research. “Just because times are tough right now…it’s sometimes tempting to take a job and cut a few corners…in this case, be careful. Take precautions.”
August shipments fall
OTTAWA—August printing shipments were down after being up slightly in July, according to figures from Statistics Canada. Note that these numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
|August||$817.7 million||$893.5 million||-8.5%|
|Year to date||$6.40 billion||$6.41 billion||-.2%|
CPISC to release new report at Print Word
OTTAWA—The Canadian Printing Industries Sector Council (CPISC) is launching its new Skills and Technology Roadmap report at Print World 2008. The roadmap provides information on navigating changing technology and dealing with human resources issues in the print industry. Copies of the report will be available at the launch, which takes place on Sat. Nov. 22, in Hall A, Room 101N, at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. The seminar begins at 5 p.m.
November 11, 2008
Print World 2008 seminars offer something for everyone
MISSISSAUGA, ON—Print World 2008 has some top-notch seminars scheduled, including Selling to the New Print Buyer, presented by David Fellman, president of Dave Fellman & Associates. Vice president and senior consultant with NAPL, John Hyde, will examine the question, What’s a Printing Company Worth? And Slava Apel, the CEO of Amazing Print Corp., will tell listeners How to Make Money Selling Printing on the Internet. Design City also has some informative seminars lined up, such as What’s New in QuarkXPress 8, by Graphic Monthly Canada and Design Edge Canada columnist Bob Atkinson. All Print World seminars will run twice on Monday, November 24, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m, and Design City seminars will take place on Sunday, November 23, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Print World takes place on Nov. 22-24 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. For more information, or to register for the seminars, visit www.printworldshow.com or www.designcityshow.com
Special Report: Graph Expo
Mood more upbeat than expected
The mood at Graph Expo late last month, while not exactly ecstatic, was more upbeat than most people had expected heading into the four-day event in Chicago. Most of the equipment on display was a re-run of devices shown at Drupa last May and introduced for the first time to the North American market. Manufacturers acknowledged the rough ride the industry is in for, with lower levels of investments being made and shipments on a downward slide, but many also insisted they are ready to cope with the ups and downs. Perhaps in hopes of stoking demand, many exhibitors this year went to extra efforts to highlight recent sales to customers.
On the offset press side, equipment on the floor was sparse. Heidelberg demonstrated its Speedmaster XL 105 with perfecting unit; Komori, the booth with the largest number of offset presses, debuted the LSX40, a 41” press with a host of upgraded features, including new AI technology which includes self-learning features that update press settings over time to reduce waste; KBA introduced its new Rapida 75, and Presstek brought its 55DI with UV option. Digital presses with buzz included the new Xerox iGen4, the Ricoh 900 press, the Xeikon 8000 and HP’s Indigo 7000 and enhanced 5500 presses.
Inkjet continues to occupy centre stage at many booths with several manufacturers touting double-digit growth rates in this area. Hewlett-Packard released several new devices: the Designjet L65500, a large-format device that uses HP Latex inks, and the FB950 printer, a UV flatbed printer for indoor and outdoor signs. HP also announced that its Inkjet Web press, slated for release in the latter half of 2009, will feature new coating technology for printing on coated and uncoated stock. Gandinnovations introduced its Jetspeed UV RTR, a 3 m UV RTR digital printer. Fujifilm released the Acuity Advance, the next generation of its Acuity model, and the Onset S20, a smaller sibling to the Inca Onset press. Kodak is getting ready to release an inkjet head based on its Stream technology this summer. The single-colour head attaches to a web press. EFI announced a new Vutek digital screen printer for next year, and a Jetrion 4000 full-colour label press. Agfa unveiled the Anapurna XLS, for indoor and outdoor signs.
A number of exhibitors focused on service programs instead of, or in addition to, iron. HP has its Graphic Arts Capture Business Success program—a range of tools, from training to marketing templates to market research; Manroland debuted its PrintValue program with four modules: print services for equipment; printnet, an automated workflow system; printcom to ensure consistency in the press room; and printadvice, a consultancy to help with the planning process. Fujifilm was presenting how printers can build a business base using offset, toner and inkjet application; Heidelberg presented the benefits of print-shop integration.
Other technologies that drew attention included web-to-print systems, and evolving MIS systems, the latter being chosen by an industry panel as the key technology for success in a print shop today.
Watch upcoming issues of Graphic Monthly Canada for more in-depth discussions of many of the new product releases, and remember, many of them will be on display at Print World on November 22 –24 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.
Quebecor World loses US$64.2 million in third quarter
MONTREAL—Quebecor World reports a net loss of US$64.2 million in the third quarter of 2008 ending September 30, 2008, up from the US$315.1 million loss it posted in the same period last year. The company generated US$993.6 million in revenues, compared to US$1.17 billion in the third quarter of 2007. The company says the decline in revenue is, in part, due to the sale of its European business in June, and says it continues to make progress toward getting out of creditor protection, which it has been operating under since January 2008. The claims process has begun and Quebecor World has until December 5 to file any creditor claims.
Printers will continue on with MetalFX despite closure
MISSISSAUGA, ON—Ciba announced last week that it was shutting down its MetalFX business, effective December 19, 2008, because it does not fit with its core business. The 58 printers in Canada that are licensed to use MetalFX can continue to use it, but no new contracts will be signed and no more MetalFX software will be produced. The news hasn’t had much of an impact on the Toronto-based printers PrintCAN spoke to today. Colour Innovations was a very early adopter of MetalFX, and became certified to use it in 2003. Since then, the shop has done hundreds of MetalFX jobs, usually about one or two a month. Matthew Alexander, president of Colour Innovations, says the shop is still going ahead with MetalFX, as well as two other similar processes the shop developed, using gold and bronze ink. Sina Printing, which was licensed about a year ago, also says it will continue doing the process, though it’s only about .2% of the shop’s total work.
November 10, 2008
Grafikom in receivership
TORONTO—Grafikom went into receivership today, CEO Gord Griffiths confirmed to PrintCAN, though he would not elaborate on the events that led to the filing. RSM Richter has been appointed trustee. As of this morning, all eight plants, including operations in Mexico, have stopped working. Grafikom was founded in late 2005 following a management buyout of Quebecor World’s sheetfed plants. It posted revenues of $125 million in 2007 and employed 700. More details will be reported as they become available.
November 6, 2008
Paper prices on the rise again
MISSISSAUGA, ON—Several paper companies have recently announced steep price hikes. Coast Paper, Buntin Reid, and Asia Pulp & Paper have all raised prices for Canadians buying their products, citing the foundering Canadian dollar as the catalyst, along with the high prices of pulp and freight. Buntin Reid is hiking its Canadian prices for U.S. based products by 10% to 30% on Nov. 10, and Coast Paper is raising prices between 7% and 20% the same day. Asia Pulp & Paper says that because most of its business is conducted in U.S. dollars and the value of the Canadian dollar has declined 24% against the U.S. dollar, its costs are rising. It raised prices on Nov. 3 by 10% to reduce losses, and says if the dollar remains the same or drops further, another hike is coming in December. Paper merchants reached by PrintCAN declined to comment.
Domtar shuts down Ontario paper machine
DRYDEN, ON—Domtar is permanently shutting down its main paper machine and all converting operations at its Dryden, Ont., facility in the middle of this month, the company announced Tuesday. About 200 employees will lose their jobs, and the closure will curtail Domtar’s annual paper production by 151,000 short tonnes of uncoated freesheet paper. The company cited adverse economic conditions and a weakening demand for fine papers as reasons for the closure.
November 4, 2008
Many first-time exhibitors at Print World
TORONTO—A host of new exhibitors are setting up shop at Print World 2008, including Océ, which has its biggest booth ever in Canada. Other newcomers include: Atlas Machinery, Bowe Bell & Howell, Baldwin Paper, Hans-Gronhi Graphic Technology, Nyland Graphics, Multicam Canada, South Asia Plastics Group, XCM Graphic Equipment, Xpedx and Zund Canada. Print World takes place at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto from November 22-24. For a look at the floor plan, visit http://www.printworldshow.com/floorplan/
VistaPrint revenue up 44% in first quarter
HAMILTON, BERMUDA—VistaPrint revenue soared 44% in the first quarter of its fiscal year, the company reported on Friday. For the period ending September 30, 2008, VistaPrint saw revenue grow to US$114.2 million, up from US$79.5 million in the same period last year. Net income for the first quarter was US$8.3 million, or 7.2% of revenue, up 20% from the first quarter of 2007, when it was US$6.9 million, or 8.7% of revenue. Last month the company announced plans for a 140,000 sq. ft. expansion to its Windsor, Ont., plant, the second increase since the facility opened back in 2005. The renovation is slated to be complete in early 2009.
Ontario shop opts for an Indigo
PICKERING, ON—Labelcraft Products has added an HP Indigo ws4500 press to its shop floor. The company has been in business since 1967, and specializes in custom labels.
|Paul Kett says:|