News Archives
March 2002
March 28, 2002
Salt Spring currency printer hits business jackpot
TORONTO—A Toronto printer has seen business skyrocket since producing the proprietary paper currency for Salt Spring Island, located off the coast of B.C.’s Vancouver Island. “Since we started printing Salt Spring currency, our international business has increased 110%. It has been a real showpiece for us,” says Andrew McTaggart, managing director of AdlerTech International, a Toronto company involved in security printing. “It was a project that allowed us to showcase our technology.” The Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation (SSIMF) is creating currency that displays local artwork in order to raise money for a new transit system. Eric Booth, a director of the SSIMF, says in a year he hopes to raise $500,000 to $1 million with the bills, which can be used to buy local merchandise. McTaggart says the bills were created with security technology found in Canadian and the Euro currency, assuring they cannot be copied. Each bill contains two core anti-counterfeiting technologies—Halo and Sentinel—that incorporate invisible or hidden images. To learn more about the currency, visit

Embassy Graphics looking to buy
WINNIPEG—Prepress house Embassy Graphics has confirmed it has plans to expand by acquiring other prepress companies outside Manitoba. Industry sources say a purchase is likely to happen in Toronto. “We are looking into something right now that is out of the province,” says Bryan Payne Jr., president, adding that this opportunity has presented itself at a good time for the company of about 75 employees. The closing date for the acquisition is expected next month, and Payne says it will set the company on a new direction. Check PrintCan for updates.
March 26, 2002
Transcon to expand westward
TORONTO—Transcontinental has indicated it plans to buy sheetfed printers in Western Canada. The company has no sheetfed printing operation west of Winnipeg. Luc Desjardins, president of GTC Transcontinental, confirmed the company was looking to buy but cautioned that "the operation must complement our package of services and it must compete well. We are patient and we do not overpay."
Desjardins also said the company's revenues in Canada from printing and interactive marketing, currently hovering at $1.3 billion, are projected to grow to $1.5 billion by year-end. While Desjardins avoided a direct comparison to Quebecor, it could be speculated that, by December, Transcontinental will overtake Quebecor to become the largest printer in Canada. Desjardins also added that the company expects to reach revenues of $3 billion by 2005, from the $1.78 billion it posted for fiscal 2001.

Pike says PLM not for sale
MARKHAM, Ont.—Barry Pike, CEO of PLM Group, denies rumours that PLM is up for sale. "PLM is not on the block," he said. "I didn't work 15 years, having built a $100 million company to sell it. I wouldn't sell this company unless it was a proper mix."
The rumours mill has been in overdrive over the past few weeks as PLM's shares, which has been trading at around the 30¢ to 40¢ mark suddenly spiked to 70¢ from 36¢ in one day. Since then, the stock has traded more briskly than before and held its value. Late last month PLM also announced it would buy back 1.37 million of its common shares. But Pike dismissed any link between the stock activities and any potential sale, saying that the company has turned in profits year after year and people are starting to talk about it.
Last week, PLM passed the $100 million sales milestone. The 15-year-old company achieved $107 million in sales in 2001, a jump of 15.5% over 2000. Net earnings grew to $3.5 million from $558,000 in 2000.
March 22, 2002
Printers honoured for management achievement
ALTONA, Man., and VANCOUVER—The heads of two Canadian printing companies were honoured recently with management awards. Friesens, in Altona, Man., was the only Canadian winner of a gold Management Plus award from NAPL. Evaluating factors included financial performance, environmental concerns and quality control. “We are delighted to have won the award,” says David Friesen, CEO, adding that it is a credit to both the company and staff. This is the second consecutive year that Friesens garnered the honour. Vancouver printer George Kallas was also recognized for his leadership role as founder and CEO of Metropolitan Fine Printers. He took home an outstanding achievement award at the B.C. New-Canadian Entrepreneur Awards. For the past 11 years, the B.C. Ethno Business Council has been recognizing immigrant entrepreneurs who have established themselves in the Canadian business market. Metropolitan had sales of $15.4 million in 2001 and specializes in annual reports and custom printing.

Communicorp enters agreement to buy Motivus
TORONTO—Communicorp has entered into an agreement to acquire branding and marketing communications firm, Motivus of Toronto. Harvey Wortsman, president and CEO of Communicorp, says the deal is still in the preliminary stages of negotiation and the transaction is expected to close during the coming months. The company offers digital and pre-media services and has revenues around $18.5 million. Motivus shareholders will receive either Communicorp common shares (one common share for each 4.75 common shares of Motivus held) or combined shares (half of one common share and half of one preference share for each 4.75 Motivus shares held). Motivus had annual revenues of $11.6 million in 2001, an increase of 71% from the previous year. Stay with PrintCan for updates.

March 19, 2002
Livewire to auction off Graphic Specialties equipment
TORONTO— Livewire Digital Inc. has announced it will sell excess equipment obtained in its acquisition of fellow prepress firm Graphic Specialties Ltd. last month. The auction will take place at Graphic Specialties Etobicoke, Ont. location on Thursday, March 21 at 11 a.m. Among the items for bid are an Agfa Avantra Imagesetter 44S, a Fuji Pictroproofer and a Fuji 550 Lanovia flatbed scanner. For a complete list and directions contact MSI Asset Management at (416) 487-1802 or visit

BMO forecasts slow growth for printing sector
TORONTO— The Bank of Montreal is predicting a slower growth rate for the printing industry in Canada between 2002-2006, according to its new Sectoral Outlook report. The 22-page paper prepared by the bank's economics department, led by chief economist Tim O'Neill, states that printing will experience a growth rate of 1.3% per year through 2006. The study reasons that printing will grow at a slower rate because of an "unfavourable competitive position", due in part to it being a mature industry with high market penetration. To view the entire report online, visit

March 15, 2002
Printing bankruptcies increase by 18% in 2001
OTTAWA— The total number of printing industry bankruptcies reported in Canada in 2001 grew to 56 according to statistics obtained by PrintCan from the Office of the Superintendant of Bankruptcy. There were 46 bankruptcies reported in 2000. The numbers are broken down into three subcategories consisting of commercial printing, business forms printing, and platemaking, typesetting and bindery. Business form bankruptcies more than tripled, with 14 being reported last year compared with only 4 in 2000. The numbers were also broken down by province and territory. Ontario and Quebec led the way, accounting for 87.5% of the total in 2001, an increase over their 80.4% share in 2000.

St. Joseph inches closer to $300 million in revenue
CONCORD, Ont.— In spite of a dampening economy during the final months of 2001, St. Joseph Corp. enjoyed a 5% increase in sales for the year, compared with 2000 figures. Revenues for 2001 totalled $296.4 million, compared with $282.8 million in 2000. Earnings before taxes increased by 9% to $14.4 million, from the $13.3 million posted in 2000. "We have a very solid foundation, a strong balance sheet and good cash flow which position us well for further growth in 2002 as the economy improves," CEO Tony Gagliano says. St. Joseph has made good on this statement already this year with its acquisition of magazine publisher Key Media last month.

March 12, 2002
Print shipments to U.S. hit $1.64 billion
OTTAWA— Canada's printing exports to the U.S. increased by about $74.7 million in 2001 over 2000 figures, according to recent Industry Canada statistics obtained by PrintCan. The year-over-year increase was the smallest for the five-year period of 1997-2001. Printing shipments to the U.S. grew by more than $600 million during the same time period.

Bowne realigns management structure, rebrands itself
TORONTO— When president Jeff Chipman retired Bowne of Canada decided it was time for change. The upper tier of management in the Canadian division is now composed of five vice-presidents from the company's two business units, and Canada has been dropped from the name. In an interview with PrintCan, Barry Scruton, senior v.p. of sales and marketing for Bowne Enterprise Solutions said the old moniker didn't fit with the changing nature of the company's business, which has become more international. "We want to make sure that we make it clear to people who don't know that we are much more than [a financial printer]. A little bit of better branding contributes to that," he says. The company's two main business units in Canada are financial printing and enterprise solutions which includes Bowne's digital and commercial printing capabilities, along with web-hosting and digital asset management.

March 08, 2002
Transcontinental acquires three Quebec printing plants
MONTREAL— Transcontinental Group reached an agreement with newspaper publisher Gesca on Wednesday that will see the Montreal-based commercial printer add three more Quebec-based printing plants to its rapidly expanding roster. Included in the agreement are the newspaper printing contracts for Gesca-owned newspapers currently printed at each plant. Printing the three dailies, which include Ottawa's Le Droit, will add $50 million in annual revenue to Transcontinental over the next 15 years. The deal is the second in as many weeks between Transcontinental and Gesca. Last week Transcontinental announced it will build and operate a printing plant for Gesca's Montreal-based daily La Presse.

MDC sells remaining 50% of Davis + Henderson
TORONTO— After taking half of Davis + Henderson public with an initial offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange last December, MDC Corp. decided this week to divest itself of its remaining 50% stake in the cheque printer. MDC expects to generate about $200 million in revenue on the transfer of 18.9 million of its shares into the Davis + Henderson Income Fund (DHF.UN). The proceeds will be used mainly to pay down MDC's corporate debt which had been as high as $600 million over the last year. CEO Miles Nadal says the company remains, "committed to the divestiture of our non-core assets, which should be completed over the next 12 months."

March 05, 2002
CAAST-ing about for pirated software
TORONTO— The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) has called a truce in Ontario, hoping to weed out pirated software. The association, which counts Adobe, Apple and Microsoft among its members has power of attorney and can file suit against non-compliant users on behalf of the software publishers. Users in Barrie, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Ottawa and Toronto have until March 31 to ensure their software is legitimate. CAAST and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) nabbed Toronto-based Movable Type Inc. for using unlicensed software last December, coaxing $16,000 out of the printer to settle piracy claims. CAAST conducted truce campaigns last April in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Adast seeks creditor protection
ADAMOV, CZECH REPUBLIC— Sheetfed press manufacturer Adast has filed for creditor protection, PrintCan has learned. Designed to head off a permanent shutdown of the plant, which would throw about 1,700 employees out of work, the motion is expected to receive court approval this week. The factory is carrying a debt of less than US$20 million. Adast Canada general manager Dagmar Benedik says the announcement hasn't affected Canadian operations and it's business as usual. Orders destined for Canada will be shipped as previously scheduled and customer's service needs will be looked after, she says.

March 01, 2002
Bowne Canada president retires
TORONTO— Jeff Chipman has retired from his post as president of Bowne of Canada Ltd., PrintCan has learned. A spokesperson for the Toronto-based financial printer says that a replacement for Chipman has not been named, and company management is being restructured. Look for updates on PrintCan as information becomes available.

Transcontinental print revenues slide 6% in Q1
MONTREAL— Transcontinental Group's printing revenues decreased by $21 million for the quarter ending January 31, 2002 versus the same period in 2001. CFO Daniel Denault said in a conference call yesterday that declining advertising spending in both newspaper and magazine markets combined with reduced page counts led to the reduction. He remains optimistic that revenues will rebound in the second quarter.
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