News Archives
February 2005

February 25, 2005
Federal budget disappoints CPIA
OTTAWA—The federal budget introduced earlier this week includes plans to increase the rate at which companies can depreciate capital equipment costs, but printing equipment isn’t included, according to a very displeased Pierre Boucher, president of the CPIA. “We’re going to be in their face at Government Affairs Day in May,” says Boucher. He says the accelerated depreciation will be applied to machinery such as turbines, compressors, telecommunications cables and “green” technology, but does not include anything for printing or any other manufacturing process. CPIA will be writing another detailed report with Ernst & Young in the next two to three weeks to lobby the Department of Finance for accelerated depreciation of printing equipment. The budget announcement was disappointing to the CPIA, who met with the government last year to make a strong case for getting accelerated depreciation for computer-assisted manufacturing equipment, such as CTP devices and digital presses into the capital cost allowance program.

Fidelity closes
SCARBOROUGH, Ont.—PrintCAN has learned that Fidelity National Print Solutions has gone out of business as of January 11. In 2003, the company had sales were $13 million and a staff of 82. Fidelity, which had both sheet fed and web presses, was founded in 1953 and printed primarily books.

February 22, 2005
Ed Rooney takes helm of The Howell Group
TORONTO—Ed Rooney, former general manager for The Lowe-Martin Group’s Toronto facilities, has taken on the role of president at The Howell Group. He started his new role in November 2004. Howell Group is the newest incarnation of Howell-Versatel Graphic Communications, formed when Howell Graphics merged with Versatel Corporate Services last summer. Rooney told PrintCan the group is drafting growth plans that include several acquisitions. Versatel is currently operating under its own identity but may be re-branded as more companies join the group. Plans will be announced over the next few weeks and months, he says. Howell Group reports annual sales of $15 million with 72 staff. Other personnel changes also have been announced: Rick Wilkinson assumes the role of part-time chairman of the board and Casper Stabile joins as vice president of the downtown financial region. Ruby Thomas, former vice president of professional financial sales, left the company last fall and joined Harmony Printing of Toronto as director of business development. A little mystery surrounds the group, however, Its ownership, and the names of the principles, is currently being kept quiet until the company is ready to announce its strategy for the future.

February 18, 2005
Transcontinental buys U.S. direct mail firm
MONTREAL—Transcontinental Direct U.S.A., a subsidiary of Transcontinental, has bought JDM, a Pennsylvania-based direct mail company with annual revenues of C$112 million, a capacity to produce 2.5 billion pieces a year, and more than 1,100 employees. This will add to Transcontinental Direct U.S.A.’s network of eight plants in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Combined with Transcontinental Direct’s Canadian facilities in Toronto and Montreal, the acquisition brings Transcontinental’s direct mail revenues to C$389 million. Transcontinental Direct U.S.A. was formerly CC3 until the company acquired it in 2003.

Zellers takes small bite of print market
TORONTO—Quick printers and storefront shops may be facing even more competition in the near future if Zellers incorporates small business services into its 300 locations in Canada. The discount chain is currently testing an instore business service centre at a location in Burlington, Ont. and plans to open another one at a second Zellers in the spring. Services include custom business cards, stationery design and copying as well as other small business services such as faxing, key cutting, custom photo modifications and postal services. According to a report in The Globe and Mail, Zellers plans to incorporate the business centres into new and newly renovated stores, as well as outlets in residential communities.

February 15, 2005
Print to get a sector council
OTTAWA—The printing industry has the go ahead from Human Resouces & Skills Development Canada to form a sector council, which will provide a platform to address issues in the industry and develop tools to promote and facilitate training. Pierre Boucher, president of the CPIA, who is part of the industry steering committee—a cross-country group of associations, employers, academics and union reps—hopes to receive funds to create an infrastructure for the council in April. He expects that the interim steering committee will be replaced by a formal board of directors and begin officially operating this summer. Boucher says he plans to implement a couple of programs immediately after the council is formed, including a career awareness program and an initiative to address training needs. The government had been considering combining a packaging and print sector council as one. Although the packaging industry will now not be part of the print sector council, Boucher says that the print council has committed to partnering with related sectors, such as packaging, when programs can be of value to them.

CDA Industries files for bankruptcy protection
TORONTO—CDA Industries, former owners of Champlain Graphics, has filed a proposal for creditor protection. The proposal was filed on January 14, 2005, and cites the rise of the Canadian dollar and increases in material costs as reasons for its financial troubles. CDA purchased Champlain in March, 2003, but wound up its operations in November. Last June, the Labour Relations Board of Ontario ruled that CDA owed former employees of Champlain Graphics more than $64,000. CDA is appealing that decision.

February 11, 2005
Allegra grows again
BRADENTON, FL—Signs Now, an indoor and outdoor signage, exhibit display and large-scale print company with more than 240 locations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Brazil, has been bought by Allegra Network. The acquisition now gives Allegra more than 400 worldwide locations and system-wide sales of $265 million. Allegra’s 31 Canadian locations already include several Allegra Print & Imaging and Speedy Print shops, as well as Zippy Print shops, which were purchased by Allegra in 1995. Including other acquisitions over the last ten years, Allegra Network also supports three other brands, including American Speedy Printing Centers, Instant Copy, and Insty-Prints.

New $10 bill coming soon
OTTAWA—Following the recent redesign of the $20, $50, and $100 bank notes in 2004 as part of ongoing efforts to reduce counterfeiting, the Bank of Canada will issue a $10 note with new security features beginning May 18, 2005. Like the other notes, the improved features for the $10 bill will include a metallic holographic stripe, a watermark portrait, a windowed colour-shifting thread woven into the paper, a see-through number, and enhanced fluorescence under ultraviolet lighting. The artwork on the front and back will remain the same.

February 08, 2005
Tri-Graphic gets creditor protection, saves jobs
OTTAWA—Tri-Graphic Printing has attained creditor protection under the Bankruptcy Insolvency Act, which will keep the company operating and save 110 jobs. In a released statement, president Bob Brown said the approval “gives the opportunity to continue and to expand our operations, providing service and support to our existing and future customers.” Creditors have four different options for repayment, including 25% over five months to a full repayment after 10 years. Last month PrintCAN reported that Tri-Graphic had filed a notice of intention to seek creditor protection on November 15, after Scotia Bank called in its loan. Brown says the shop is moving ahead with plans to expand and diversify beyond printing books into commercial printing and reach out into the different markets. Brown says Tri-Graphic is aiming to have sales of $15 million next year. In Graphic Monthly’s Gold List of top 100 printers with sales of $15.3 million in 2003.

Environment Canada says Green ink is a go
OTTAWA— The Canadian Printing Ink Manufacturers’ Association (CPIMA) met with Enviroment Canada last Friday to clarify the use of Pantone Green (phythalocyanine green or Pigment Green 7) after much confusion among ink manufactures and printers concerning a ban on the pigment. In a letter to ink manufacturers, the CPIMA says its members have resumed normal operating procedures regarding Pantone Green and it is once again available to printers. The association says the new proposed regulation for 2005, to be issued in the next few weeks, will not restrict the use and sale of products containing incidental levels of HCB, or hexachlorobenzene, the substance in question by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. However, the regulation requires the importer or manufacturer of any mixture or product containing HCB to report annually if established thresholds are exceeded. Also noted at the meeting, the continued use of these pigments is not anticipated to result in any increased risk to the environment in the short term and Environment Canada plans to continue to work with industry at reducing or eliminating HCB contamination.

February 04, 2005
Green ink safe for now
TORONTO—Environment Canada this week told ink manufacturers that Pantone Green, otherwise known as phthalocyanine green or Pigment Green 7, is not banned, as many believed it to be. There’s been much confusion in the industry over the fate of the pigment after information came to light in late 2004 that it contains too much hexachlorobenzene, exceeding the limit of 20 parts per billion established in 2003 by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. A spokesperson at Environment Canada told PrintCan that the issue boiled over when U.S. suppliers stopped shipping the pigment to Canada, believing it to be banned. Most ink manufacturers informed their clients in January that they would discontinue distributing the colour. But the Ministry spokesperson said officials had looked at the regulations governing hexachlorobenzene and concluded they didn’t apply to pigments. Environment Canada informed ink manufacturers of its findings earlier this week. A meeting of ink industry representatives and Environment Canada has been scheduled to clarify the rules, assess potential risk and find solutions.

Printera sales dip, Custom Direct’s grow
TORONTO—Printera Corp. has announced that revenues for fiscal 2004 dipped to $33.5 million from $33.7 million in 2003. Net loss for the year was $4.4 million, compared to a net profit of $600,000 in 2003, which includes a write down on the carrying value of fixed assets. Custom Direct saw its sales grow to US$110.2 million from US$106.3 million in 2003. Net income at Custom Direct was US$17.4 million in 2004.

February 01, 2005
Kodak signs to buy Creo
VANCOUVER—Kodak signed a deal yesterday to buy Creo for US$980 million, pending regulatory and shareholder approval. A shareholders’ meeting to vote on the transaction has been scheduled for March 29. Few details about future plans regarding management, existing partnerships and product mix were forthcoming yesterday in a conference call with analysts, but Kodak executives did say the Creo operation will become part of the newly formed Graphic Solutions & Services division headed by Jeff Jacobson, recently CEO of Kodak Polychrome Graphics. The deal is not expected to close for three to five months. It brings to an end speculation about the fate of Creo, which had been under attack from a group of dissident shareholders who wanted to dump the board and senior management. The group was led by Robert Burton, former cost-cutting CEO of Moore Corp. Creo has been examining its future for several months and formed a special committee of the board last summer to examine its future, including selling off parts of the company. It sought the advice of Merrill Lynch & Co., which began contacting potential buyers last September. More details of the deal will be available in regulatory filings later this week.

CDA appeals ruling to pay employees back wages
TORONTO—Another chapter unfolded last week in the story of CDA Industries and its dealings with former employees of Champlain Inc. The parties met at the Ontario Relations Board on January 26 to hear an appeal from CDA, but instead the board asked both parties to submit written statements in the case. CDA will have two weeks to file its appeal, and former employees will have one week to respond. All submissions are to be filed by February 20. Sometime after that an adjudicating officer will rule on the submissions. This is in response to a finding on June 21, 2004, by the Labour Relations Board that CDA owed back wages to 10 employees. The money amounted to $64,668, which CDA paid in trust with the Ministry of Labour.

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