News Archives
February 2007

February 27, 2007
Transcontinental forms US newspaper division
MONTREAL—After landing a pair of major newspaper contracts south of the border, Transcontinental Inc. has created a new business unit to handle their execution. Ted Markle, currently vice president of development for newspapers, will lead Transcontinental’s newly formed American newspaper arm. Job number one for the team will be to build a print plant in California to produce the San Francisco Chronicle, from which the company acquired a 15-year contract last November. The team will also oversee the New York Times 10-year contract, which has the company producing the venerable broadsheet in Toronto and distributing it in Ontario and upstate New York. Transcontinental CEO Luc Desjardins has referred to U.S.-based newspapers as “our priority international market” and says it is “vital” to the company’s growth.

Bank, retailer renew print contracts
MONTREAL and CHICAGO—A pair of major, long-term print contracts were renewed this week. Williams-Sonoma Inc. will again be printing its Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Bed and Bath and PBteen catalogues with Quebecor, extending a 25-year partnership. In the financial sector, Scotiabank has renewed its 10-year, multi-million dollar print management contract with Moore Canada, an R.R. Donnelley company.

New Gear – GPrint’s new digital offset press
BRAMPTON, Ont.—GPrint, which opened in 1996 and does everything from signs and posters to blueprints and binding, recently acquired a Heidelberg QMDI digital offset press through Presstek Canada. Manager Sham Ashford, second from right, is seen here with his team.

February 22, 2007
Production Values—Year ends with small slides
OTTAWA—Printing shipments for both the month of December and 2006 as a whole were down from 2005. The latest figures from Statistics Canada reveal $822 million in national print sales in December (down from $831 million in December 2005), and $10.5 billion across all of 2006. That year-to-date figure is 2.4% below that of 2005.

Trade Watch—Exports down, imports up in 2006
OTTAWA—The statistics for print imports and exports were made available by Industry Canada this week. With the December numbers now public, 2006 can be assessed in full. Note these numbers are not adjusted for inflation.






$129.6 million

$120.4 million


Year to date

$1.6 billion

$1.7 billion


The U.K. bought drastically more Canadian print in December, spending $13.1 million—an 85.2% increase from December 2005. Mexico had a big month as well, buying $1.4 million of print, which represents a 24-month high. Overall, 2006 saw a 7.7% decline in exports compared to 2005.






$103 million

$92.9 million


Year to date

$1.3 billion

$1.2 billion


Though these numbers are subject to review over the next three months, at first glance it appears Canada maintained its print trade surplus of approximately $236 million. It’s worth noting, however, that the surplus has dwindled somewhat from 2005 when it was approximately $480 million. Steady increases from Germany and Japan along with China’s ongoing surge are changing the landscape and may further alter the trade balance in the coming months.

February 20, 2007
Toronto looking to expose air polluters
TORONTO—Dr. David Suzuki, Canada’s premier environmental crusader, has targeted Toronto in his ongoing efforts to clean up the air. Printers may face some changes as a result of his visit. Suzuki, working with the Toronto Environmental Alliance, met with Mayor David Miller last week and discussed Right to Know legislation that would require businesses and industries of all sizes—including print operations—to publicly report what chemicals they release into the air. Similar legislation has been enacted in Massachusetts, which Miller says led to a 90% reduction in air pollutants as a result of public pressure. Miller also says he hopes to have a Right to Know deal brought to the public by the summer months.

Toro closes in the face of diminished ad revenue
TORONTO—Critically acclaimed men’s magazine Toro has been closed by its owner after a frank look at its future ad revenues. Chris Bratty, the magazine’s owner, announced the closure on February 12 just a few months shy Toro’s fourth anniversary. Quebecor World printed the magazine’s 8 yearly issues—approximately a $1.12 million arrangement—while the 1.68 million covers were produced at Toronto’s Colour Innovations for approximately $200,000 annually.

New Gear - Premier Printing buys two HPs
WINNIPEG—Premier Printing, along with its Grimsby, Ont., counterpart Premier Impressions, each received a new HP Indigo 5000 supported by HP Indigo Quad Expansion RIPs. Left to right are Lawrence Toet, Premier Printing client relations manager; Bill Gortemaker, president; and Carl Raap, press operator.

February 15, 2007
Phipps Dickson and Integria to merge
MONTREAL—Two major players in the Quebec market are teaming up to become what they say will be the largest private commercial printing company in Quebec. Phipps Dickson, itself an amalgamation of Phipps Graphiques and Lithographie Dickson, is a commercial and trade company based in LaSalle, Que., with reported sales of $20.6 million in 2005. Integria Inc., based in St. Laurent, Que., reported sales of $27 million in 2005. The two companies will go forward as Phipps Dickson Integria, with each branch of the organization operating with relative independence. The new entity will have a combined staff of more than 200 and an estimated combined revenue of $40 million.

J. Mitchell Printing goes into receivership
TORONTO—PrintCAN has learned that J. Mitchell Printing, located in Toronto’s east end, has shut down. The company’s neighbours have confirmed that the J. Mitchell unit is now vacant and its two Mitsubishi presses were removed from the premises. Uwe Manski, an account representative at BDO Dunwoody, confirmed the shop went into receivership on February 8 at the request of the Royal Bank of Canada. Manski also confirmed that Dolphin Direct, the direct mail company that J. Mitchell bought in 2002, is no longer active. Former J. Mitchell co-owner Eric Coffey was reached at Markham-based Inko Print Group (which was recently renamed Spectracolor JR Group). Coffee said he had no comment on the company’s closing.

February 13, 2007
Datamark to merge with direct mailer in $36.5 million deal
MONTREAL—Datamark Systems, a Montreal-based business form, label and commercial printer, has been acquired its Montreal neighbour Komunik. Komunik is a direct and email marketing company that provides variable printing services. According to Sebastien Demers, Komunik’s CFO, in addition to paying $28.1 million for Datamark, Komunik will assume a debt of approximately $8.4 million. Datamark is a publicly traded company founded in 1974 with 35 facilities across North America and a client list that includes several major airlines, lotteries and paper companies. The merging companies will proceed under the name Komunik Corporation. According to Komunik president and CEO Alain Paquin, the deal should close in the first week of April and leave both companies’ print operations intact under the Komunik Datamark product name.

St. Joseph Communications one of Canada's 50 Best
TORONTO—Canada’s largest privately owned communications company was honoured last night for winning a spot on the 50 Best Managed Businesses list for the second time. The list, which independently audits and rewards excellence among Canadian-owned businesses with revenues of more than $10 million, was announced last week and feted last night at a gala event. Tony Gagliano, St. Joseph Communications’ CEO, says, “The recognition is a tribute to St. Joseph's collective innovative spirit, the accomplishments of each of our four business platforms, and the efforts of our associates across Canada.” St. Joseph also made the list in 2003.

Neenah Paper to buy Fox River
APPLETON, Wis.—There is more merger news this week from the paper industry, as Fox River has been bought out by one of its competitors. Neenah Papers, based in Alpharetta, Ga., has signed an agreement to buy the Fox Valley Corporation, which owns Fox River Paper, for an undisclosed sum. The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007, subject to shareholder approval. Fox River Paper has been housed on the banks of the Fox River in Appleton, Wis., since 1883. It expanded through the late 80s and 90s by buying Rising Paper, Howard Paper, Simpson Text and Cover and Gilbert Paper.

February 8, 2007
All Trade Computer Forms bought by NEBS
MISSISSAUGA, Ont.—Cheque and business form provider New England Business Services—better known as NEBS—today announced the purchase of a family-run Ontario printer that specializes in business forms. All Trade Computer Forms, which operates out of a 42,000-sq.ft. facility with 50 employees, was acquired on February 1 for an undisclosed sum. With revenues of approximately $5 million, the biggest change for the company will be the departure of president Bernie Gregory. His retirement will leave his son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Karen Gregory, at the helm. They will report to NEBS, based in Midland, Ont., and its Minnesota-based parent corporation Deluxe.

Manitoba group focuses on industry training
WINNIPEG—There is a dearth of new people entering Manitoba’s printing industry and no training program for print and bindery work. Some people are working to fix that. Gloria Cook, the human resources manager at Winnipeg’s Prolific Graphics, is on the steering committee of a team looking to create a curriculum for Manitoba colleges. She says 60 print companies from the area have been contacted to take part in focus groups being convened on February 15. The focus groups are part of a needs assessment that is taking place at the behest of the Manitoba government, which is currently funding the team’s efforts to the tune of $30,000. Cook says the team, which is comprised of representatives from the industry and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters trade association, requires approximately $117,000 to fulfill its goal.

Print Three expands in GTA
TORONTO—Print Three has opened two new shops in northern Toronto neighbourhoods. The openings are part of what company president Andrew Hrywnak calls an “aggressive plan” of marketing and expansion. Both shops will carry the company’s newly re-imagined storefront design, the Smart Document Centre, which was unveiled at the company’s Royal Bank Plaza location in downtown Toronto in December, 2006.

New Gear - Production JG doubles up on digital presses
MONTREAL—Stephane Gervais, president of Production JG, recently acquired a second digital press. Production JG, a 40-year-old, short run shop, now has a second HP Indigo 3050 for its 14 employees.

Surrounding the 3050 are, left to right, Raphael Bigonesse, press operator; Sylvain Serre, vice president; and Gervais.

February 6, 2007
Specialty packager H.J. Jones bought by American firm
LONDON, Ont.—Founded in 1913 by Henry James Jones, specialty packaging company H.J. Jones has been bought by Chicago-based Knight Packaging Group. The details of the transaction, which closed in late January, have not been released. H. J. Jones, which designs and prints carded and folding carton packages for the consumer market, will still have members of the Jones family at the helm. Michael Jones will remain president, and his brother Douglas will stay on as vice president.

Committee seeks changes for manufacturing sector
OTTAWA—Today marks the release of a report that urges the federal government to help Canada’s manufacturing sector with its taxes and equipment purchases. The report, called Manufacturing: Moving Forward—Rising to the Challenge, was produced by the House of Commons industry committee and was presented in parliament this morning. It offered 22 recommendations that covered issues ranging from labour to taxation. Of particular note to printers was a recommendation on the capital cost allowance, which affects how long into its lifespan a piece of equipment can be written off. The report suggested shortening this period from five to two years. The report was presented with unanimity by all four major parties. Look to the March/April issue of Graphic Monthly Canada for more in-depth coverage of the report’s recommendations.

New Gear - Pearson upgrades with new CtP equipment
WOODBRIRDGE, Ont.—Pearson Printing, a family run shop that serves the Greater Toronto Area, recently installed a Fujifilm Dart 4300E CtP device. The shop also runs two Heidelberg presses—a 5-colour SM72 and QM46.

Owners Arvind, left, and Karen Sharma, right, are reportedly also in the market for a 40” press to add to the shop floor. Richard Thompson, centre, stands behind Pearson’s new Dart 4300E.

February 1, 2007
Merger forms newsprint giant
MONTREAL—Quebec-based forestry company Abitibi-Consolidated and South Carolina-based Bowater Inc. have agreed to a “merger of equals”—a stock swap that would fuse the companies into a market behemoth based in Montreal. According to a press release, the merger would create approximately $295 million in cost synergies. Abitibi president John Weaver says that will allow the new company to improve on its predecessors’ product offerings, though he did not comment on specific changes to the two companies’ product lines. The two firms currently produce coated and uncoated mechanical papers, newsprint, and various other wood and pulp products. The release also said the new company, called AbitibiBowater, would have revenues of $9.3 billion, 20,000 employees, 32 mills and upwards of 60% of the newsprint capacity in North America. Such a large share will make compliance with anti-competition regulations a complex thing, according to Pierre Lacroix, an analyst from Desjardins Securities Research. The merger should be finalized by Q3 of this year. AbitibiBowater will be headquartered in Montreal.

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