Transcontinental Inc., in a move to consolidate its newspaper-printing activities in Québec into three plants, announced the closure of its Montréal-based Transcontinental Métropolitain, scheduled to take place in late January 2018. A day later, Transcontinental announced the sale of 21 of its Quebec and Ontario-based publications to to Icimédias Inc.
Métropolitain’s printing activities will be mainly transferred to the Transcontinental Transmag plant in Montréal, which is described as holding state-of-the-art equipment. The regional plants of Transcontinental de la Capitale in Québec City and Transcontinental Qualimax in Gatineau will also take in volume upon transfer of activities, which will take place progressively beginning in early January.
Transcontinental stated its decision was made in the context of the decline in the newspaper printing market, and more specifically in connection with the upcoming end of the printing of La Presse newspaper.
The Transcontinental Métropolitain plant currently has close to 60 employees. TC Transcontinental explains it will be able to offer employment opportunities to the majority of the workers within its other business units, while noting some job losses will result from the closure of the plant.
Transcontinental Métropolitain was built in 2003 and, in its early days, was primarily dedicated to printing La Presse daily newspaper and its related products. Over the years, other products, namely newspapers of independent publishers and those of TC Media, were added on to the plant's book of business.
A day after announcing the closure of Métropolitain, Transcontinental announced the sale of 21 of its publications and their related Web properties, as well as its InMemoriam.ca site to Icimédias Inc., a company led by its President Renel Bouchard, with Marc-Noël Ouellette as Managing Director.
In total, 140 employees of these various publications and 28 employees from TC Media's Production team are transferred to Icimédias. TC Transcontinental also concluded a multi-year agreement for the printing and distribution of all of these publications. This represents the largest transaction to date in the process for the sale of TC Media's local and regional newspapers in Québec and Ontario. With the completion of this transaction, close to 50 percent of the titles included in this process are now in the hands of local owners.
The publications sold to Icimédias are: L'Avenir de l'Érable, La Nouvelle union – Wednesday edition and La Nouvelle union – Sunday edition, in Centre-du-Québec; Beauce Média, L'Éclaireur Progrès, Hebdo Régional, La Voix du Sud and Courrier Frontenac, in Chaudière-Appalaches; Le Progrès de Coaticook and Le Reflet du Lac, in Estrie; Le Courrier Sud, L'Écho La Tuque/Haut-St-Maurice, L'Écho de Maskinongé, L'Hebdo du St-Maurice and L'Hebdo Journal, in Mauricie; L'Avenir et des Rivières, Granby Express, Journal Le Guide, Le Canada Français, Le Richelieu and Coup d'œil, in Montérégie.
“The sale of 21 of our publications in a single transaction today marks a significant step in the process for the sale of our local newspapers in Québec and Ontario,” said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “It is with pride that we pass the torch to Renel Bouchard and Marc-Noël Ouellette, long-standing business partners of TC Transcontinental, who are eager to contribute to the sustainability of these publications.”
Transcontinental Inc. has more than 7,000 employees in Canada and the United States, and generated revenues of $2 billion in 2016.
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