Transcontinental held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders last week which included the company's 2010 financial results. Speeches were given by Rémi Marcoux, Transcontinental's Chairman of the Board, CEO François Olivier, and CFO Benoit Huard.

"Today, I am proud, on behalf of our some 10,500 employees, to tell you that fiscal 2010 was the best operating performance in our history," said Olivier. "Once again, we responded appropriately to change and to the transformations in the economy and in our industry."

"Our adjusted operating income before amortization rose from $339 million to $382 million, an increase of nearly 13 percent," added Marcoux. "All of our financial indicators improved, making us one of the leaders in the print, media and interactive sectors in North America."

The Printing Sector revenues decreased $88.1 million, down 5.8 percent from 2009's total of $1.53 billion. Transcontinental attributes the lower revenues from the sale of the Retail Group printing plant in Ohio in 2009. Printing still represented two thirds of the company's total revenues, with its Media sector contributing 28 percent and Interactive the final six percent. The Printing sector also has the most employees, representing 5,800 of the company's total 10,500 employees. Total revenues for the company in 2010 was $2.09 billion, a decrease of four percent when compared to 2009.

The company also published its second annual Sustainability Report, which included accomplishments such as saving 14.7 percent on its plants energy use, donations and sponsorships of $5.8 million in communities.

Transcontinental also announced an expansion to its agreement with Canadian Tire in which Transcontinental will print all of the company's flyers and marketing collateral, as well as provide interactive marketing for the retail chain over four years, starting in January 2012.

"We are extremely proud of this new agreement, which is a perfect reflection of Transcontinental's new multi-platform offering in print, Web-based media and interactive marketing. Canadian Tire is one of our most loyal clients, going right back to our very beginnings. We have developed a close relationship, one that will allow us to keep building programs that meet the specific marketing needs of Canadian Tire," said Olivier.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG has announced that it anticipates seeing a "positive operating result" in the current financial year. Heidelberg's financial year ends the first quarter of the calendar year.

"Thanks to stable growth in the global economy, our incoming orders increased in all regions and divisions during the third quarter. Nonetheless, the economic recovery is still marked by regional differences. While incoming orders are rising steadily in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, the recovery in the key U.S. market has been slow to set in," said Heidelberg Group CEO Bernhard Schreier. "The positive developments of the past nine months show that we are on track to achieve our target - a break-even operating result for the current financial year."

Heidelberg has gone through a process of reorganization in order to adapt to the changing press market. During the first nine months of the current financial year, the headcount dropped by a total of 515; the company now has 15,981 employees worldwide, as of December 31.

According to a statement issued by the company, sales continued to improve in the third quarter, reaching the highest level for the current financial year at EUR 687 million, which is above 19 percent up on the previous year and 9 percent up from the second quarter. After nine months, total sales amounted to EUR 1,883 million - an improvement of 18 percent over 2009.

Canada's largest book distributor, H.B. Fenn announced it has filed for bankruptcy protection. The move puts 125 employees out of work and would impact largely on the Canadian book publishing scene.

Established in 1977, H.B. Fenn distributes books for over 90 publishers and inprints. In a statement from the company, it claims to have "encountered significant financial challenges due to the loss of distribution lines, shrinking margins and the significant shift to e-books, all of which have significantly reduced the company's revenues."

The company was dealt a large blow at the start of 2009 when multinational giant Hachette Group announced it will sell directly to Canadians out of its a Toronto publicity and marketing office and shipping from its warehouse in Indianapolis.

H.B. Fenn's major remaining account, Macmillian, put out an announcement calling for booksellers to make purchases through wholesellers, namely Tenessee-based Ingram Book Company. The company said it was working on new arrangements for distribution in Canada.

H.B. Fenn owns Key Porter Books, which had a major restructuring last year which eliminated two-thirds of its staff. The company was acquired by H.B. Fenn seven years ago and publishes major works from Canadian authors such as Margaret Atwood and Farley Mowat.

In the summer of 2009, Heidelberg announced it had arranged a financing package from three main parties totaling EUR 1.4 billion for the period up to the middle of 2012. This week, the company announced it has repaid its commitments to one of the entities, a loan from the Special Program of the KfW (Reconstruction Loan Corporation).

"We would like to thank the KfW for supporting us during the financial and economic crisis and helping us to bridge this difficult period. It was, however, always understood that we would revert to capital market financing as soon as possible. As announced, we therefore used all the net proceeds from the capital increase in September 2010 to reduce our financial liabilities. We then repaid the outstanding sum of approximately EUR 102 million due under the KfW loan ahead of schedule on December 30, 2010. This has simplified our financing structure and will also facilitate our future refinancing," said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe.

According to Heidelberg, the proceeds from the capital increase and the positive free cash flow in the first half of the current financial year enabled the company to lower its financial liabilities from some EUR 816 million at the end of March 2010 to around EUR 377 million by the end of September 2010. Financing has fallen from the previous level of EUR 1.4 billion to just under EUR 900 million. It is now made up of the credit line supported by guarantee pledges from the State and the syndicated credit line from a consortium of banks. These two credit lines have each been reduced to around EUR 445 million.

KfW Bankengruppe has been closely connected to the economic development of the Federal Republic of Germany. Since its founding in 1948 and according to its statutory mission, KfW has been supporting change and encouraging forward-looking ideas - in Germany, Europe and throughout the world. The group claims to have provided nearly one trillion euros in loans over the last 60 years.

Loïc Dufeil, the majority shareholder of Nipson SAS, has acquired 100 percent of France-based press maker. He purchased the remaining interest in Nipson from Guillaume Dumarey, who now intends to focus on his own industrial company called DUMPRO.

Ghislain Segard has been named as Chairman of Nipson SAS, while also assuming the role of Director to look after sales and marketing activities. "In a business with a substantial need for working capital, and to support the strong evolution of our activity, this recapitalization will allow us to support the growing range of our product portfolio in the market of monochrome and colour digital printing,” said Ségard.

Nipson develops the DIGIFlex and VaryPress presses, which are built around a unique printing process that combines what the company refers to as dry toner magnetography and xenon flash fusing. 

The company commercialized its first magnetography press back in 1985. Today, Nipson has sales and service subsidiaries in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia and South Africa.

Montreal-based Transcontinental has announced its fourth quarter results, which the company describes as the best operating performance in its history. The result brings the company to six consecutive quarters of growing operating income, excluding unusual items.

“I am very proud of our results for the fourth quarter and all of fiscal 2010, as they clearly show that we have the strategy, the disciplined management, the financial foundation and the people we need to continue our growth,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transcontinental. “In the past year we have strengthened our core business and invested in new services that meet the emerging needs of our customers, while also improving synergies and generating greater profitability."

The company's revenues for the fourth quarter remained stable at $570 million between the same period in 2009, but the company saw its adjusted operating income grow to $88.2 million from $85.0 million in 2009.

In 2010, Transcontinental has continued to diversify from its printing roots, investing in Internet media companies such as Vortex Mobile while divesting in direct-mail operations, chiefly in the United States. The company also helped The Globe and Mail in its dramatic redesign, stemming from its new printing plant, part of three major capital projects costing $700 million since 2007.

The company's ratio of net debt to adjusted operating income has also improved over 2009, which saw it fall  from 2.59 to 1.85. The company's management says it aims to reduce the ratio to about 1.50.

Richard Garneau, on the first day of January 2011, is to succeed David Paterson as President and CEO of Montreal-based AbitibiBowater, which, among its many forestry interests, is one of the world’s largest producers of newsprint.

Garneau’s appointment comes just days after AbitibiBowater announced it has successfully emerged from creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Protection Act (CCAA) in Canada and chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. AbitibiBowater’s restructuring process began back in 2007. 

"Today, after three years of very demanding work, the foundations for [AbitibiBowater’s] success are clearly in place,” said Paterson, “and I feel it is the right time to turn my time and attention back to the other people in my life who inspire me – my wife and family."
Garneau joined AbitibiBowater as a member of the Board of Directors in June 2010. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of Vancouver-based Catalyst Paper Corp., from March 2007 to May 2010.

"AbitibiBowater is a company with a long history, skilled and dedicated employees, and a determination to succeed as a profitable and sustainable enterprise," said Garneau. "Dave Paterson and his team have laid the foundation for a future success story, and I'm excited for the opportunity to help write its next chapter."

Paterson will stay on with the company in an executive advisory role through January 2011 and a non-executive advisory role through July 31, 2011.

Vistaprint, the popular Web-to-print service provider based in The Netherlands but with operations in Windsor, Ontario, has reported a 18 percent growth in its first financial quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. Its revenues for the first quarter grew to $170.5 million. Operating income for the company fell 14 percent to $12.3 million, however.

"Vistaprint delivered solid results in revenue and earnings per share in the first quarter of the new fiscal year relative to our guidance. Increased operational focus accompanied by currency tailwinds resulted in higher-than-anticipated quarterly revenue," said Robert Keane, President and Chief Executive Officer.

North American orders accounted for 59 percent of the company's revenues for the quarter, 36 percent for Europe, and five percent from the Asia-Pacific region. The average order size was $34.69. Repeat customers generated 68 percent of its first quarter sales, but the company also acquired 1.6-million new customers.

"We are encouraged by these results; however, we believe we have a lot more work to do, organizational evolution to come and investments to make to ensure that Vistaprint remains a high-growth company for the foreseeable future," said Keane.

Along these lines, the company has modified its organizational structure and created the roles of Chief Customer Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Wendy Cebula, currently President of Vistaprint's North American unit, will become the Chief Operating Officer while Janet Holian, the President of the European unit, will become Chief Customer Officer.

Cebula was previously named Chief Operating Officer in early 2007 before ascending to President of North American operations in a 2008 restructuring for the company.

Trynka Shineman and Nick Ruotolo will replace Cebula and Holian in their previous roles respectively, with both reporting to Cebula.

"The dedication, talent and leadership of Janet, Wendy, Trynka and Nick have been instrumental in building Vistaprint into the successful organization that it is today," said Robert Keane. "I congratulate them on their well deserved promotions and look forward to working with them to continue to build a transformational and enduring business institution for the mutual benefit of Vistaprint's customers, employees and shareholders."

Xerox yesterday announced its third-quarter 2010 results, which includes US$5.4 billion in quarterly revenues, described by the company as a 48 percent increase when compared to the same period last year.

“Building on our solid first-half results, we delivered steady revenue and earnings growth in the third quarter, keeping us on track to close the year strong,” said Ursula Burns, Xerox Chairman and CEO. “As a result, we are raising our guidance for both this year and 2011 to reflect the positive momentum we’re building in the marketplace.

“During the third quarter alone, signings for service contracts grew 26 percent and pro-forma revenue from our BPO offerings was up 8 percent,” continued Burns, “Along with 13 percent growth in equipment sales, this progress fuels our healthy annuity stream for the long term.”

Revenue from technology, representing the sale of document systems, supplies, technical service and financing of products, was up three percent. Total install activity for Xerox equipment was up 20 percent. Revenue from services was up two percent on a pro-forma basis.

Xerox expects 2010 restructuring will be US$120 million more than previously disclosed. According to the company, additional restructuring is related to acquisition synergies, adverse currency and cost-reduction activities. The company also expects free cash flow of US$2.1 billion and US$1 billion in available cash for 2011.

Punch Graphix, which controls the Xeikon and basysPrint technology brands, published its mid-year financial report yesterday, describing "considerably strong revenue and profit growth" in both equipment and consumables sales.

"Our recurring digital print consumable revenue is up significantly by 21 percent," stated Wim Maes, CEO of Punch Graphix, who also reported equipment sales are up 23 percent midway through the year, while the company's prepress unit is up over 30 percent. "Overall, we're up 19 percent both in Europe and in the U.S., and our investments in distribution channels in the BRIC areas are also bringing results."

The company's Xeikon entity primarily focuses on industrial (label) and document printing segments, having most recently introduced the Xeikon 3500 label press. Xeikon also recently enhanced its QA-I toner to meet FDA guidelines for indirect food contact, as well as direct contact with dry food substances that contain no surface oil or fat.

Within document-focused printing, Xeikon recently introduced an upgrade option to increase the productivity of its Xeikon 8000 flagship press, which can now reach 260 pages per minute. Punch's BasysPrint entity focuses on the development conventional UV-platemakers.

HP announced its financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended July 31 which saw the company's revenues grow more than 11 percent from the same period a year prior.

"The broad-based strength of HP's Q3 performance further demonstrates the power of our strategy and the discipline of our execution," said Cathie Lesjak, HP chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer. "We raised our full-year outlook and are continuing to build momentum in driving out costs, investing for profitable growth and capitalizing on HP's competitive advantages in the marketplace."

HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) saw revenue increase 9 percent to US$6.2 billion, with supplies revenue up 5 percent and Commercial hardware revenue up 28 percent. Operating profit for the Group was US$1 billion.

Press maker KBA has announced it has seen its equipment orders in the last six months increase 39 percent over the previous year. This has resulted in the groups sales increasing 4.5 percent at 473.2 million Euros. Despite these positive numbers, however, the company still incurred a pre-tax loss of 22 million Euros for the half year, 21.3 million Euros of which the company says incurred in the first quarter.

Sales of sheetfed presses climbed 5.3 percent to €199.3 million Euros and sales of web and special presses were up 3.9 percent at €273.9 million Euros.

"We are confident that the substantial improvement in performance compared to the first six months of 2009 will continue for the rest of the year, and that we shall post a single-digit rise in sales and a bigger pre-tax profit than the €2.7m in 2009," said KBA CEO Helge Hansen. "Precisely how high earnings are will essentially depend on our niche markets, with their shorter business cycles, on our customer services and on a sustained economic revival."

The company says it continues to seek acquisitions or collaborative alliances with new partners, but negotiations so far has not proved fruitful. Last week, rumours based on comments made by Hanson to German newspaper Handelsblatt regarding a potential merger between KBA and manroland were "fiercely" dismissed by the latter party. Last year, negotiations between manroland and Heidelberg also failed to yield a result.

"Further options are being pursued with the due diligence and patience essential in the current business climate," said Hansen. "While KBA has ample reserves to finance any promising project, we are in no hurry and have no desire to enter a venture with an uncertain outcome."

KBA has made major cuts to its workforce during the recent economic downturn. At the end of June the KBA group employed a total of 6,445 people, almost 1,000 fewer than at the same time last year (7,411) and 1,700 below the pre-crisis peak in summer 2008. Staff reductions continue, and when completed, will result in a payroll of around 6,100.

Presstek Inc. today reported financial and operating results for the second quarter ended July 3, 2010. In the quarter, the company reported adjusted EBITDA of US$0.3 million, an improvement of US$2.3 million when compared to the second quarter of 2009.

Presstek noted that excluding the one-time costs of the IPEX tradeshow, where the company previewed its 75DI press, adjusted EBITDA would have been US$0.7 million, or an improvement of US$2.8 million from the prior year's second quarter.

The company reported total revenue of US$31.6 million in the second quarter of 2010, a decline of six percent from the amount reported in the second quarter of 2009. Presstek had an operating loss of US$1.8 million in the second quarter of 2010, a US$21.0 million improvement from a loss of US$22.7 million in the 2009 second quarter.

During the second quarter of 2010, Presstek incurred a net loss from continuing operations of US$1.8 million, or $0.05 per share, compared to a net loss from continuing operations of US$39.9 million, or $1.09 per share, in the second quarter of 2009.

"We have now achieved positive adjusted EBITDA levels in each of our last three quarters and we were pleased to see the continuing development of our growth consumables of CTP and DI plates which increased eight percent and four percent, respectively, versus the prior year's quarter," stated Presstek Chairman, President and CEO, Jeff Jacobson.

"However, during the quarter we saw a reluctance by our North American base of small- to mid-sized customers to make capital equipment purchases primarily due to reduced access to financing and an increased skepticism that the U.S. economic recovery was sustainable in the near term."

Vistaprint has posted its fourth financial quarter results which CEO Robert Keane describes as below expectations, but still saw the company's annual income rise 22 percent over that of 2009 to US$67.7 million.

"Since we established fourth quarter guidance in April, unfavorable currency movements impacted our revenue by over $3 million," said Keane. "We are also disappointed in our own constant currency revenue execution for the quarter. On the other hand, we are pleased that our culture of financial discipline enabled us to deliver earnings within our previously established guidance range."

Revenue for the Internet printing company grew 22 percent over the same quarter in 2009 to US$164.3 million. For the full fiscal year, revenue growth was 30 percent, to US$670 million. Vistaprint acquired approximately 1.6 million new customers in the fourth fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2010.  For the full 2010 fiscal year, the number of new customer acquisitions totaled approximately 6.4 million, but the company also saw two-thirds of its revenue come from repeat customers.

Average daily order volume in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 was approximately 53,000, reflecting a 20 percent increase over an average of approximately 44,000 orders per day in the same quarter a year ago.

The company forecasts its revenue for 2011 to surpass US$750 million.

Eastman Kodak has posted a loss of US$141 million in its second quarter results, primarily due to restructuring costs and the decline of its film business.

Second quarter sales for the company fell 11 percent over the same period in 2009. Worst hit was its Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group, which faced a 21 percent decline.

“We continue to gain share in our growth businesses, maintain cost discipline, and drive improved profitability,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eastman Kodak Company. “Our new digital businesses, particularly consumer and commercial inkjet, continue to gain traction, with sales growth outpacing the competition. Digital commercial printing revenue, for example, grew 9 percent in the second quarter, consumer inkjet printer and ink revenue grew 50 percent, and operating margins improved in the majority of our digital product lines and for our digital business in total. We remain focused on building a leaner, more competitive company powered by innovative products that compete in large, new markets. Given the solid digital unit growth that we saw in the first half of the year, we continue to target full-year revenue of $7.5 billion to $7.7 billion, reflecting the increasing strength of our digital portfolio."

The performance of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group was positive, despite a decline in sales by $14 million, buoyed by lower raw material costs such as those of aluminum. The group's second quarter saw a breakeven result compared to a $28 million loss in 2009.
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