Year in Review: 30 moments to shape Canadian print

PrintAction Staff
December 19, 2017
By PrintAction Staff
Thirty of the most-influential business developments from the past year to drive the direction of Canada’s printing industry, based on the following criteria: Impact on printers; impact on the Canadian industry as a whole or within a given region; and impact of technological or strategic innovation.

1. Transcon drops newspapers, grows packaging
A November deal to acquire Les Industries Flexipak Inc. is Transcontinental’s fifth North American packaging acquisition since 2014, as Canada’s largest printer pivots away from newspapers ownership. In April  2017, Transcontinental launched a process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, involving 93 local and regional publications. Earlier in 2017, Transcontinental sold its publication portfolios in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick (27 newspapers) in addition to a 13-newspaper sale in Saskatchewan in mid-2016 – giving rise to print-media players like SaltWire and Icimédias.

2. DATA CM consolidation
Generating revenues of $278.4 million in its most recent fiscal, DATA Communications Management of Brampton continued its consolidation path in 2017 with the February acquisitions of Eclipse Colour & Imaging and Thistle Printing. Later in 2017, DATA moved its Multiple Pakfold operations into its primary 269,000-square-foot Brampton plant. In November, DATA purchased BOLDER Graphics of Calgary, to be integrated into its existing nearby plant, growing with sheetfed, digital and wide-format. DATA began 2017 with a $2.1 million investment in Xerox presses, a year after investing $6.7 million with Xerox.

3. C.J. Graphics opens new plant
C.J. Group of Companies in October opened its new 240,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, an expansion consolidating three facilities and the company explains with an additional technology investment of $25 million. The new facility saw the addition of a third 6-colour Heidelberg XL 106 (for Push To Stop printing), two new Agfa Jeti systems, and new Xerox presses. From a consolidation standpoint, C.J. Graphics in 2017 merged Annan & Sons after acquiring Clixx, one of the largest mailing facilities in Canada, from WestRock Company.

4. Xerox and Conduent separate
Xerox began 2017 completing its separation into two publicly traded companies, including the print-tech entity maintaining the corporate name and Conduent, a Business Process Outsourcing company. With approximately $14 billion in 2015 revenue and 39,000 employees, Xerox remains a Fortune 500-scale company, as does Conduent with $9 billion in 2015 revenue and 96,000 employees. Conduent touches two-thirds of all insured patients and more than half of all mobile phone subscribers in the U.S.


5. Passing of a print icon
In April, Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, passed away. Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Hemlock Printers in Burnaby, BC, he developed one of the most highly revered commercial printing companies in world based on innovative, high-end sheetfed perfecting. Kouwenhoven, who immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands in 1961, also helped lead the world printing community into a critical era of environmental stewardship, proving such progressive investments are as sound for the planet as they are for  business.

6. CCL acquires Innovia
CCL Industries, headquartered in Toronto, in 2017 acquires Innovia Group for approximately $1.2 billion. It is described by the company, which bills itself as the world’s largest label company, as another transformative acquisition. Innovia provides strength in the disruptive polymer banknote market and depth in materials science with proprietary BOPP films technology. CCL’s label production business contributes around 66 percent to its total sales. By leveraging expertise in consolidation, as described by Canadian Business, in the first quarter of 2016 alone, CCL revenue grew by 22.9 percent year-over-year to reach $866.8 million, while net income jumped 31 percent. Over the past five of years, CCL’s share price has shot up nearly 600 percent.

7. Canadian Bank Note retools
Canadian Bank Note (CBN) in May installed a new 12-colour, 41-inch Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 press to produce secure identity products like passports, drivers’ licenses and identity documents for customers in Canada and throughout the world. It was delivered in record time following a devastating fire in June 2016. Earlier that year, the company’s 45,000-square-foot McAra Unicom facility in Calgary, following the purchase of Unicom Graphics in 2015, rebranded as CBN Commercial Solutions to build a larger presence in the commercial market. A year early, CBN won the coveted Banknote of the Year Award for its production of a New Zealand polymer note.

8. CPISTF provides $75,500
The Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund at the start of the 2017/18 school year provided $75,500 in scholarship funding to students pursuing a career in printing. A majority of the funds went to Ryerson GCM, which saw approximately 130 students graduate last year. Since its founding in 1971, CPISTF has provided more than $1 million in scholarship funding.

9. Mi5’s new Toronto plant
After a decade of aggressive M&A growth, Mi5 Print and Digital was putting the finishing touches on its new 180,000-square-foot facility in Toronto. This includes the addition of a used Heidelberg M130 web press originally scheduled to be operational in mid-2017. In its short 14-year history, Mi5 has grown to become one of Canada’s largest privately owned commercial printing operations with more than 150 employees generating revenues of $29 million in its most recent fiscal year.

10. ICON adds commercial
In February, ICON Digital Productions Inc. acquired Toronto Trade Printing, a well-known 20,000-square-foot operation running two 40-inch sheetfed offset presses. Its move into the litho market is unique based on ICON’s historic position as a large-format inkjet pioneer, services that occupy the majority of its 90,000-square-foot facility in Markham. The TTP purchase came weeks after ICON Digital underwent a rebranding effort in December 2016 to create three distinct divisions: ICON Visual, ICON Media and ICON Print. In October, ICON acquired a controlling interest in Asterisk Media to add an ICON Motion division.

11. Landa starts S10 beta work
In April, Landa Group unveiled its 2017 beta customer line-up around its S10 Nanographic Printing Press. The first press began operating at Graphica Bezalel, an Israel folding carton and label convertor. North America’s first S10 was slated to reach U.S.-based Imagine! with more than 1,600 employees. German packaging giant Edelmann, with plants in nine countries and sales exceeding 300 million euros, is running Europe’s first S10 press.

12. Rise of B2B and Renaissance Printing
In March, Renaissance Printing became a new Toronto-area printer  under the majority ownership of Annex Publishing & Printing. Running a five-unit Mitsubishi Diamond web press, Renaissance was formed after the purchase of the remaining primary assets from Web Offset Publications’ receiver. The new company focuses on printing for publishers and marketers primarily in Ontario, as well as New York State, Pennsylvania, Quebec and New England. Annex is the parent of PrintAction and Canada’s largest B2B publisher – holding industry-leading CASL compliance.

13. HP buys Samsung print business
HP in November completed its purchase of Samsung Electronics’ printer business in a deal valued at $1.4 billion. The move was first announced in September 2016, when HP stated the acquisition – the third largest in its history – positions it to disrupt the $71 billion copier industry. The Samsung acquisition also strengthens HP’s position in A4 laser printing, in addition to providing intellectual property of more than 6,500 print patents and a workforce of nearly 1,300.

14. Springett becomes CEO of Manroland Sheetfed
Canadian Sean Springett begins 2017 as the Chief Executive Officer of Manroland Sheetfed GmbH’s North American subsidiaries, based in Chicago, Illinois, and Vaughan, Ontario. Springett, age 43, joined Manroland Sheetfed in 2008 and most recently served as its VP of Sales & Marketing. Manroland Sheetfed GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned U.K. engineering group, Langley Holdings plc.

15. Agfa Canada inkjet
The 116,000-square-foot Canadian manufacturing facility for Agfa Graphics’ Jeti platform remains a key piece of the Belgium company’s future. Beyond its formidable healthcare division, which attracted a CompuGroup conditional takeover offer in late 2016 that did not materialize, the company’s graphics growth is largely tied to wide-format-inkjet imaging, with more than 3,000 systems installed around the world. The Canada operation launched the Jeti Ceres RTR3200 LED at the beginning of 2017 and in December 2016 the Jeti Mira UV LED with 3D lens printing.

16. Hundsdörfer becomes CEO of Heidelberg
Rainer Hundsdörfer became the CEO of the world’s largest press maker Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in November 2016, while longtime board member Harald Weimer plans a mid-2017 departure. The executive shake-up comes as Heidelberg heavily promotes a restructuring focused on digital transformation. “Heidelberg goes digital,” said Hundsdörfer in February 2017. “We are getting the company fit for the digital future.” In its final quarter of the financial year 2016/2017, Heidelberg records its best sales and result since 2008.

17. KBA celebrates 200 years and rebrands
More than 700 people from around world on September 21 gathered at the Vogel Convention Center in Würzburg, Germany, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Koenig & Bauer. The world’s second-largest printing press manufacturer began its third century by introducing a new branding position leveraging its founder’s surnames, Koenig & Bauer. Thebranding includes a new logo and product design to be implemented immediately for new products.

18. Pollard acquires INNOVA
In August, Pollard Banknote of Winnipeg, Manitoba, moves to purchase all outstanding common shares of INNOVA Gaming Group Inc. based in Los Angeles for approximately $51 million. INNOVA’s primary product is its third generation Lucky Tab machine, an instant ticket vending machine that dispenses tickets while simultaneously displaying the results of each ticket on a video monitor. Pollard has been a world leading supplier of instant tickets for more than 30 years and serves over 60 lottery and charitable gaming organizations worldwide. Its business position is as unique as it is stable, with services like market research, validation expertise, algorithm development, lottery management services, licensed games, player loyalty clubs, Internet and mobile strategies, and retail development.

19. Corley to lead Xerox Canada
John Corley in February became President of Xerox Canada, returning home after recently serving as President of the company’s global Channel Partner Operations and as VP for Xerox Corp. in the United States. A 22-year Xerox veteran, Corley has held a variety of executive positions including time as VP of Canadian Operations.

20. Hemlock Harling Distribution
Printing powerhouse Hemlock Printers of Burnaby created a new entity called Hemlock Harling Distribution Inc., which is described as a company dedicated to providing data-driven marketing, postal and third-party distribution services to customers throughout North America. Hemlock Harling opened the doors of its 40,000-square-foot facility on February 1, 2017, coinciding with the acquisition of Kirk Marketing.

21. Ricoh acquires Avanti
In January, Ricoh announced its acquisition of Toronto-based Avanti Computer Systems, a leading developer of MIS dedicated to the printing industry for three decades. As the printing industry enters an era targetting Industry 4.0, IIoT, and front-end automation, Avanti’s Slingshot technology, built in 2013 from the ground up, positions the Toronto firm with key technology and the financial power of an imaging giant.

22. Heidelberg prepares for Primefire and digital future
Late 2017 saw shipments begin for Heidelberg’s Primefire digital packaging press, developed in partnership with Fujifilm print heads. Series production for these critical presses for the company is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2018. The company states it is already fully booked in this area for two years. With a $72 million German state loan, Heidelberg in 2017 also focused on completing its new development centre. It will be home to 1,000 workers in what Heidelberg projects to become the world’s most state-of-the-art research facility for printing.

23. Canadian print awards
More than 200 people from across the country, including the program’s largest-ever contingent from Quebec, attended the 12th annual Canadian Printing Awards in Toronto, organized by PrintAction. More than 80 Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were presented to printers and technology suppliers, in what has become the country’s largest national celebration of print. The program allows printers to network and build a stronger sense of community.

24. Gala Gutenberg celebrates Quebec excellence
More than 350 people attended the 35th annual Gala Gutenberg at the ballroom of the Bonsecours Market in Montreal to celebrate excellence in print achievement. In total, 17 trophies, Technical Challenge and Innovation Challenge categories, were awarded to a range of printing industry companies from the province of Quebec, which remains as one of North America’s strongest printing markets in terms of innovation.

25. Burke acquires McCallum
In May, the Burke Group of Companies acquired McCallum Printing Group, bringing together two of the leading print and media companies in the region. It creates an entity with a range of commercial printing services operating out of Edmonton, Alberta. Darren Pohl, McCallum Printing’s former President and CEO has committed to stay on in a senior management capacity to oversee sales and sales management.

26. Kruger investing $378M to diversify Québec mills
Kruger Inc. announced a $377.6 million transaction to diversify operations at four Quebec facilities, including mills in Brompton and Wayagamack that will focus on specialty niches, such as flexible food packaging, labelling and digital printing. The project, undertaken in partnership with the Government of Québec, will help to maintain more than 500 jobs in the Mauricie and Estrie regions. Kruger and the Government of Québec have formed a partnership by which Investissement Québec, acting as the government’s agent, will grant loans and a loan guarantee totalling $59.8 million.
 
 27. Hampson National Sales Manager for Fujifilm Canada
Phil Hampson in January 2017 became the National Sales Manager, Canada, for the Graphic Systems division of Fujifilm North America. With more than 20 years in the graphics industry and extensive wide-format-inkjet expertise, he becomes a key piece of the company’s market position, managing the sale of all imaging and printing systems throughout Canada.

28. InterTech Awards
Fourteen technologies in July received the 2017 InterTech Award, a program of the Printing Industries of America that began in 1978 to recognize products expected to advance the performance of the printing industry The winners include: AMS LED UV System by Baldwin’s AMS Spectral operation; ORIS Flex Pack / Web Visualizer by CGS Publishing; ColorAnt 4.0 by ColorLogic; XPS Crystal by Esko; Labelfire 340 by Gallus; Prinect Press Center XL 2 with Intellistart 2 by Heidelberg; PageWide Web Press T490HD by HP; PrintOS by HP; LED moduLight – Dual Illuminant D50/D65 by JUST Normlicht; Impremia IS29 by Komori; AIS SmartScanner by MGI; Ultra Pro with Foil by Scodix; Truepress Jet 520HD by Screen Americas; and Image Test Labs – Image Grader by TechnologyWatch.

29. McCarthy to lead HP Indigo in Canada
In November, Paul McCarthy became Indigo Country Manager for HP Canada. The transition comes after he spent more than 18 years with Konica Minolta Business Solutions Canada, helping that company, most recently as Director of Print Production, develop a strong position with commercial printers. He also serves as a board member of the Digital Imaging Association.

30. Coke showcases the power of print
Based on a partnership that began back in 2013 as a unique Share a Coke label printing campaign, HP and The Coca-Cola Company have worked together in successive years to show the world the power of digital print. There is little doubt major brands around the world have paid close attention to the program. In 2014, Coca-Cola using HP Indigo and SmartStream Mosaic technology printed two million unique Diet Coke labels. In 2016, Coca-Cola inked another deal for the custom printing of Diet Coke bottles for a marketing campaign called It’s Mine. In July 2017, HP’s Monique Cohen told Packaging Europe that since the Share A Coke campaign began it has resulted in the printing of more than 500 billion labels worldwide and led to a four percent rise in sales across the markets where it appeared.

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