PaperlinX Limited of Australia this morning released interim results for the first half of its fiscal year, which included positive earnings for Spicers Canada and provided details about the Canadian operation’s recent restructuring efforts.

For the first half of its current fiscal year, ended December 31, 2012, Spicers Canada’s earnings received a boost as the operation reported an underlying EBIT of $5.2 million, which increased from $3.6 million in prior corresponding period. Spicers Canada did see its revenues decline from $219.4 million in the prior corresponding period to $211.6 million in its most recent interim fiscal period.

“Spicers is very pleased with our continued progress in improving profitability for the company,” says Cory Turner, who spoke with PrintAction this morning about the results.

“Our recent reorganization,” continues Turner, “while always unfortunate as employees lose their positions, is a clear indication that despite significant financial improvement the company will continue to challenge its internal cost structure while ensuring a reliable service platform delivers solutions that contribute positively to our customers’ success.”

The recent restructuring of Spicers Canada resulted in the laying off of 50 employees, nine of which were temporary positions. During this morning’s interim financial report presentation by Dave Allen, CEO of PaperlinX Limited, it was noted that the Canadian operation put in a strong performance along with region of Australia, New Zealand and Asia (denoted as ANZA).

PaperlinX Limited, as a whole, reported a statutory loss after tax of AUD$57.3 million for the six months to 31 December 2012. This includes an impairment charge of AUD $24.7 million and compares to a loss of AUD $60.9 million for the prior corresponding period.

Allen pointed out that the poor overall results reflect legacy-operating structures in Europe, which are now being addressed. “Actions taken during the half have laid the foundations for PaperlinX to return to profitability in 2014,” stated Allen. “Canada and ANZA continue to be our strongest performers and we will take the learnings from these regions regarding a single brand to market to Europe and the UK.

“Combined with the significant restructuring well underway in Europe and the UK and the investment for growth in packaging and sign and display across all regions, this positions PaperlinX for a turnaround in financial performance.”

During the financial presentation, PaperlinX noted its Canadian operations, while planning to expand its paper offerings in 2013, will also emphasis growth in the sign and display and industrial packaging segments. The Spicers Canada operation, it was noted, also expects immediate positive results from new consumable partnerships.

Last week, PrintAction reported that Kodak had expanded its distribution partnership with Spicers Canada and ended its long-standing distribution through Heidelberg Canada. While Spicers had previously distributed Kodak plates, CTP and workflow in Canada, in addition to the NexPress line, the company will now have additional access to Kodak’s inkjet printing and packaging portfolios.

Spicers Canada Limited, an operating unit of Australia-based PaperlinX Limited, executed several staff layoffs last week. The layoffs are significant and reach across various geographical regions and employment levels.

When contacted by telephone, Cory Turner, President of Spicers Canada and a member of PaperlinX Limited's senior management team, refused to comment about the layoffs or acknowledge any actions had taken place.

PaperlinX Limited began to aggressively restructure its global operations in 2011. The distribution company itself was first listed on the Australian stock exchange in 2000 and expanded rapidly over the next few years.

In 2012, as part of a massive restructuring program, PaperlinX sold its United States operations, listed as Spicers Paper Inc. and Kelly Paper Company, to Central National-Gottesman (CNG) for US$76 million. Soon after, PaperlinX then sold its Italian entity to Lecta for €45 million.

After completing the sale of both its United States and Italian operations, and rebranding its Canadian operations as Spicers Canada, PaperlinX then reached agreements to sell its operations in Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia to the Heinzel Group for €19.6 million. PaperlinX then signed an agreement to sell its South African operation to local management for net proceeds of around €5 million.

In November 2012, as it announced additional restructuring for its United Kingdom operation, from where the company operates its global business, PaperlinX stated its ongoing European restructuring in the 2013 financial year would see 370 employees leave the business.

During this 2012 restructuring process, PaperlinX Limited also went through a series of high-level executive resignations and appointments on its board.

In August 2012, PaperlinX Limited reported its year-end results, which included a statutory loss of $266.7 million (after tax) for its most recent year, compared to a loss of $108 million for the prior year. PaperlinX also reported a net debt of $148 million for the year ended versus the prior year’s net debt of $172 million.

This Thursday, on February 21, PaperlinX Limited is scheduled to release its 2013 interim financial results.

Reader's Digest’s parent company RDA Holding Co. filed for bankruptcy on Monday after struggling to contain its $465 million debt. This is the second time in less than four years it has done so.

The company says the filing will allow it to cut its debt and keep restructuring. RDA Holding aims to emerge from Chapter 11 within six months.

“After considering a wide range of alternatives, we believe this course of action will most effectively enable us to maintain our momentum in transforming the business and allow us to capitalize on the growing strength and presence of our outstanding brands and products,” said Robert Guth, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. 

RDA Holdings publishes 75 publications around the world, including 49 editions of Reader’s Digest. In 2011, the company generated $1.38 billion in revenues. In Canada, it publishes Reader’s Digest Canada, Our Canada and most recently announced, Taste of Home Canada.

In related news in the U.S. magazine sector, it has been revealed that Time Inc. may be in discussions to divest a major part of its magazine portfolio. A report in Fortune Magazine (itself a Time Inc. publication) stated that it was aiming for a joint venture with Meredith Corp., another major U.S. magazine publisher.

Time Inc. publishes many of the largest magazines in the U.S. including Sports Illustrated, People and of course, Time. Meredith has 14 titles including Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens and Parents magazine. Meredith Corporation, like Time Warner, holds other media interests such as 12 local television stations and a marketing agency.

While no formal details have been announced by either company, Time Warner is expected to keep hold of Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines while transferring the rest, which includes People, InStyle and Real Simple

California-based EFI announced its fourth quarter and year-end results which saw the company increase its revenues 10 percent over its 2011 numbers. 

"We finished 2012 with a very strong quarter that marked a record year for EFI. The fourth quarter again demonstrated tremendous execution and commitment by our team, solidifying our third consecutive year of double-digit growth," said Guy Gecht, Chief Executive Officer of EFI. "We are excited about 2013 and the growth opportunities ahead for EFI and our customers."

The company’s revenues for 2012 is US$652.1 million, up 10 percent from its $591.6 million in 2011. Non-GAAP net income was up 16 percent, rising from $53.1 million to $61.5 million. GAAP net income was $56.6 million or $1.19 per diluted share, compared to $11.5 million or $0.25 per diluted share for the same period in 2011, up 393 percent and 376 percent, respectively.

Eastman Kodak Company received approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Allan Gropper to execute emergence plans from Chapter 11. The plan authorizes the company to borrow $844 million.

“The Court’s approval of this financing commitment puts Kodak in a strong position to emerge from Chapter 11. This agreement, in conjunction with the recently approved sale and licensing of our digital imaging patent portfolio, lays the financial foundation for our Plan of Reorganization and a successful emergence from Chapter 11 as a profitable and sustainable company,” said Antonio Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Taken together, these accomplishments, along with other recent developments, such as the resolution of certain of our legacy liabilities, demonstrate the tangible and meaningful progress Kodak is making as it moves through the final phase of its restructuring.”

This new step in emergence is due to its sale of part of the company’s patent portfolio, which was announced at the end of 2012 and will be completed in February. Upon meeting certain additional conditions, the approved financing also provides Kodak the option of converting up to $644 million of the loans into exit financing due five years after emergence.

Eastman Kodak Company has received and accepted an offer from the Steering Committee of the Second Lien Noteholders Committee for interim and exit financing totaling US$830 million in loans. This offer replaces the US$793 million commitment announced by the company on November 12.

Each of the 10 institutional investors that comprise the Steering Committee holds senior secured notes of the company. The new financing is open to participation by all other holders of the notes, including the investors that extended the November 12 commitment.

"As we continue to progress toward successful emergence, we remain focused on doing what is best for the company's creditors and other stakeholders, including our customers, suppliers, and employees,” said Antonio Perez, Chairman and CEO. “We are pleased that these existing creditors have come forward with a new proposal that offers better terms and enables Kodak to further accelerate its momentum to emergence in the first half of 2013.”

The financing includes new money term loans of US$455 million, as well as term loans of up to US$375 million issued to holders of senior secured notes participating in the new money loans in a dollar-for-dollar exchange for amounts outstanding under the company's pre-petition second lien notes.

The financing is predicated on certain conditions, including the successful completion of the sale of Kodak's digital imaging patent portfolio for no less than US$500 million.

The commitment letter also contains provisions allowing for a conversion of up to US$630 million of the loans upon emergence into permanent exit financing due five years after emergence, provided Kodak meets certain conditions, including the consummation of a Plan of Reorganization by September 30, 2013, the resolution of the company's U.K. pension obligations, and the completion of all or a portion of the sales of Kodak's Document Imaging and Personalized Imaging businesses.


HP announced its fourth quarter and fiscal year end figures which saw revenues from its printing equipment activities fall five percent compared to 2011. Commercial hardware units were down 15 percent with consumer printing hardware sales down 22 percent.

Revenues from its printing division (encompassing both consumer and commercial units) fell from US$26 billion in 2011 to US$24.5 billion for 2012. Earnings of its printing division, before taxes, declined roughly US$342 million.

"As we discussed during our securities analyst meeting last month, fiscal 2012 was the first year in a multi-year journey to turn HP around," said Meg Whitman, HP President and CEO. "We're starting to see progress in key areas, such as new product releases and customer wins. We're particularly pleased that in Q4, we were able to improve our balance sheet, generating US$4.1 billion in operating cash flow, and we returned US$384 million to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends."

As a whole, HP's full year net revenue was US$120.4 billion, down five percent from the prior-year period and down four percent when adjusted for the effects of currency.

Based on these results, as well as fraud allegations in the company's acquisition of Autonomy which will see the company write-down US$8.8 billion, the company's share prices sank to under $12, the lowest value seen in a decade.

Sun Media, a division of Quebecor, has announced that it will cut 500 jobs from its operations nationwide, which includes the closure of two printing operations. The corporation's Ottawa and Kingston printing presses will be silenced in part of an effort to shave off $45 million in costs a year.

"This restructuring is regrettable but warranted by changes in our industry which force us to align our cost structure with the new reality," said Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Sun Media.

Quebecor in November last year cut 400 jobs, some attributed to outsourcing of production to India. Previous to that, 600 jobs were axed just prior to Christmas in 2008. Revenues from News Media shrunk $7.6 million to $227.6 million in the three months leading to September 30th compared to the same quarter in 2011. 

According to Qubecor, Sun Media is Canada's largest newspaper publisher with a circulation of over 15.1 million copies a week spanning 36 paid-circulation dailies and six free commuter papers. The Corporation also publishes 200 community newspapers, shopping guides and other publications.

"We very much regret the impact that this has had on employees who are departing our organization and would like to thank them for their contribution. We wish them all well," concluded Mr. Péladeau.   

A report by Jacqueline Palank of Dow Jones & Company, which is owned by News Corp., indicates a group of unsecured creditors are opposed to the auction and financing proposals of Vertis Holdings Inc., which last week announced it had again filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In close proximity to its Chapter 11 filing, Vertis announced it had signed an agreement with Quad/Graphics Inc. of Sussex, Wisconsin, which would purchase substantially all of Vertis’ assets for US$258.5 million.

Palank writes that unsecured creditors feel the auction and financing proposals do not include enough protections to make sure they are not left holding the bag during the company's third time through the Chapter 11 process.

The official committee representing Vertis's unsecured creditors, Palank explains, are urging a bankruptcy judge to slow down the sale of Vertis's print advertising and direct-mail marketing business, which they say is being run for the sole benefit of senior lenders led by General Electric Capital Corp.

See Palank’s full report at

Xerox, despite steady growth in its services business, reported a three percent decline in revenues, hitting US$5.4 billion, for its 2012 third quarter when compared to the year ago quarter. 

The company reported services revenue, which includes printing for corporate and government clients, increased by five percent in the quarter, partially offsetting a seven percent constant currency decline in technology revenue, representing the sale of document systems, supplies, technical service and financing of products. Specifically, equipment sales revenue declined 14 percent as compared to the third quarter of 2011.

“Our third-quarter performance aligns with shifts in our business as services become a larger proportion of our revenue," stated Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO. “Steady growth in services is consistent with our strategy. Scaling our offerings in business process, IT and document outsourcing gives us a diversified portfolio that helps mitigate declines in equipment sales and supplies.”

In the company's services business, constant currency revenue from business process outsourcing grew nine percent, IT outsourcing grew six percent and document outsourcing, which includes Xerox print services offerings, was up four percent.

During the fourth quarter, Xerox is planning to take a restructuring charge in the range of US$50 million to US$100 million.

Electronics For Imaging of Foster City, California, continued its strong financial standing with 2012 third quarter results (ended September 30, 2012) showing a five percent increase in revenues, which moved to US$154.1 million from US$147.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, EFI reported revenue of US$478 million, up 12 percent year-over-year compared to US$428.5 million for the same period in 2011. Non-GAAP net income was US$41.7 million, compared to non-GAAP net income of US$36.4 million for the same period in 2011.

"Another very strong quarter by our industrial inkjet business coupled with continued double-digit growth in our Productivity Software business led to solid results for Q3 despite the softness in Europe,” stated Guy Gecht, Chief Executive Officer of EFI. “For the first time, industrial inkjet represented over 50 percent of total EFI revenues, while at the same time the continued high growth of ink volume shows that our customers are also enjoying a similar business expansion.”

Catalyst Paper of Richmond, British Columbia, announced it has successfully completed its reorganization under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. The news comes nearly a month after Catalyst entered into a commitment letter with a Canadian chartered bank for a $175 million syndicated asset-based loan (ABL) facility.

As a result of the reorganization and related transactions, Catalyst reports to have reduced its debt by $390 million, eliminated $80 million of accrued interest and reduced annual interest expense and other cash costs by approximately $70 million.

“We entered the reorganization process with a clear objective to put Catalyst on stronger financial footing and we have done so,” said Kevin Clarke, President and CEO. “Many parties worked long and hard to resolve balance sheet and cash-flow issues constructively and quickly throughout the process.

“I am very proud of our employees who stayed focused throughout this challenging period. Sales kept our order book strong, operations ran well and, going forward, we intend to capitalize on the momentum generated to compete even more vigorously in the markets for our products.”

The company’s new board of directors as of September 13, 2012, is comprised of John Brecker, Giorgio Caputo, John Charles, Kevin Clarke, Todd Dillabough, Walter Jones and Leslie Lederer.

“As we emerge from creditor protection, I want to acknowledge our former board chairman Jeffrey Marshall and directors Thomas Chambers, William Dickson, Douglas Hayhurst, Alan Miller, Geoffrey Plant and Dallas Ross for their service to Catalyst Paper,” said Clarke.

PaperlinX Limited, after arguably its most tumultuous year since being listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2000, has reported its year-end results, ended June 30, 2012.

PaperlinX announced a statutory loss of $266.7 million (after tax) for its most recent year, compared to a loss of $108 million for the prior year. The statutory loss of $266.7 million is increased from the $171 million expected loss that was announced on June 26 2012. The company states this is largely because of the board’s decision to write-off all remaining goodwill on its European operations. 

PaperlinX’ revenue was $4.11 billion for the year, down from $4.67 billion in the prior year, which the company relates to weaker sales and the negative impact arising from the strength of the Australian dollar. Pointing to a weaker demand in Europe, the company also saw a drop in annual volumes, moving from last year’s 2.63 million tonnes to 2.44 million tonnes in the current year.

For its most-recent year, PaperlinX reported a lower net debt of $148 million versus the prior year’s net debt of $172 million. This follows the recent sale of its operations in the U.S. and Italy, while the sale of PaperlinX operations in South Eastern Europe and South Africa are expected to be complete in the first half of fiscal 2013.

Harry Boon, PaperlinX Chairman, said, “These results reflect a company in transition as we respond to the reality of the continuing structural decline in paper demand, current weak market conditions and the continuing poor outlook in Europe.

“The implementation of the strategic review involved taking substantial measures to reshape the company,” continued Boon. “Cash generated from asset disposals and the close out of the currency option have provided much needed liquidity, reduced debt and funded crucial restructuring. When completed, the expanded and accelerated restructuring program will provide a significantly lower operating cost base.”

Yesterday, Mississauga-based Central Reproductions Limited entered receivership, which is to be administered by trustee Paddon + Yorke Inc.

The news comes just one year short of the company’s 30th year of operation, after its founding in 1983. Central Reproduction’s was a long-established commercial printing operation in the Greater Toronto market. 

In addition to its focus on the 40-inch sheetfed market, the company was an early adopter of toner reproduction technologies. In more recent years, Central Reproductions expanded its services into mailing and fulfillment and a range of creative services for print and online communications. 

Eastman Kodak Company today released its financial results for the second quarter, ended June 30, which included a revenue decline of 27 percent when compared to Q2 in the previous year. The company reported a net loss of US$299 million for its most-recent quarter, compared to US$179 million in the second quarter of 2011.

For the six months ended June 30, 2012, Kodak reported a net loss of US$655 million compared to a net loss of US$425 million for the same six-month period in 2011.

Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on January 19, 2012, also reported it has since received approximately 5,900 proofs of claim from creditors. On May 10, 2012, the Bankruptcy Court entered an order establishing July 17, 2012, as the bar date for potential creditors to file proofs of claims.

Within its Q2 2012 results, Kodak reports that, as of August 2, 2012, total creditor claims filed against it now amount to approximately US$20.5 billion. The company’s cash balance at the end of the quarter stood at US$1.257 billion.

Kodak, however, points to some positive news within its Q2 2012 results. The company reports its second quarter earnings improved for its Commercial and Consumer segments by a combined total of US$82 million, compared to the same quarter in the prior year. Second quarter loss from continuing operations before interest expense, other income (charges), net, reorganization items, net and income taxes improved by US$79 million compared to the prior-year quarter.

“I am pleased with our progress, and our operating results are both improved from last year and also ahead of our plan,” said Antonio Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to sustaining the progress required to successfully emerge from Chapter 11.”

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