The board of Winnipeg-based media conglomerate, Canwest Global Communications Corp., placed its prime business units, including the National Post newspaper and Global Television, into the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Announced today, the move quickly followed another announcement of Canwest entering into a recapitalization agreement with a key group of creditors, what the company calls an “Ad Hoc Committee,” representing eight percent of senior subordinated note-holders of Canwest Media Inc. “Because it has the support of the Ad Hoc Committee, we believe that we can use the stability offered by the CCAA to implement this plan in four to six months,” said Leonard Asper, Canwest President and CEO, adding, “all our operations will continue uninterrupted.”

The CCAA bankruptcy protection specifically involves Canwest, CMI, Canwest Television Limited Partnership (including Global Television, MovieTime, DejaView and Fox Sports World) and The National Post Company. It does not include Alliance Atlantis, which the company purchased in association with Goldman Sachs in 2007 or Canwest Limited Partnership – the company’s Canadian publishing and associated online and mobile operations.

Canwest purchased 50-percent ownership in the National Post newspaper back in July 2000, as part of what was then the biggest media deal in Canadian history, involving the $3.2-billion acquisition of Hollinger International Inc.’s Canadian newspaper and Internet assets – controlled, at the time, by Conrad Black. The deal also involved 13 daily metropolitan newspapers, 126 community newspapers, and various Websites such as Canada.com.

Then in August 2001, Canwest purchased the remaining 50 percent stake in the National Post from Hollinger – for $1. In April 2009, Canwest wrote down the value of its newspaper assets by $1.2-billion. At the start of this October, National Post CEO Paul Godfrey was reported to be leading a management buyout of the daily newspapers owned by Canwest.

View Canwest timeline: From 1974 to 2009 by The Globe and Mail.

Traditionally focused on the North American printing market, Presstek Inc. today signaled a new direction by signing up a Hong Kong distributor for its printing presses and placing a Business Manager into the European market.

While it is headquartered in Hong Kong, Duplica Printing Equipment will also distribute Presstek presses throughout China. "The printing industry in Hong Kong and China is seeking an efficient, high quality solution for short-run color, and Presstek's family of DI digital offset presses is the perfect answer," said Charles Lam, Managing Director of Duplica.

Presstek Inc. also strengthened its position in Europe by appointing Axel Thien as its Business Manager for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Thien is responsible for expanding Presstek's presence within the region, as well as developing a European dealer channel for the company. Thien has over 11 years of experience on the technological side of printing, working in a variety of roles at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, including the last four years as a Product Manager for CTP and six years as Product Manager Consumables for Heidelberg USA. Earlier in his career, Thien spent five years with Agfa in a variety of management roles.

Agfa Graphics announced today that LR Graphic Supply, a Canadian dealer with over 30 years of experience in the graphics communications industry and newspaper publishing market, will begin distribution of Agfa's prepress solutions.

"We are very excited about working with Agfa," said Guy Potvin, Executive Vice President at LR Graphic Supply. "It is no secret that Agfa has a portfolio of cutting-edge products that have been well received in the industry and increasingly in Canada. On the other hand, at LR Graphic Supply, we have built a reputation for unparalleled service and support to our customers. We have a special knack for building bridges and forging new opportunities. We view this new partnership with Agfa as a natural complement to our current business and will benefit our current and future customers."   

"LR Graphic Supply's consultative sales approach with newspaper accounts as well as small- to mid-size companies is exemplary. Their reputation for tapping new opportunities is impressive. We believe this new partnership will be mutually beneficial going forward," said Ruben Silva, managing director, Agfa Inc.

LR Graphic Supply has offices in Mississauga, Ontario, and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

Heidelberg CEOThe Frankfurt branch of Reuters reports that Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG and manroland AG “are set to decide by mid-October whether to proceed with formal merger talks,” according to unnamed sources “familiar with the matter.”

While the Reuters report does not claim a merger is eminent, it does indicate that Heidelberg and manroland executives, and their banking representatives, are involved in serious discussions about melding the two German press makers.

As of yet, no executive from either Heidelberg or manroland has gone on record about the possibility of the merger. At Heidelberg’s PRINT 09 press conference, in Chicago on September 11, CEO Bernard Schreier said, “I do not comment on rumours,” which was a sentiment shared by Vince Lapinski, CEO of manroland North America.

Reuters’ sources suggest Allianz Capital Partners, the investment arm of insurer Allianz, is the driving force behind the merger talks. Allianz has a 65-percent interest in manroland and a 12-percent interest in Heidelberg. One source said, “The government does not at all want state aid [for Heidelberg] to be seen as aid for Allianz.”

The possibility of a merger between Heidelberg and manroland first appeared in mid-2009, when most printing-industry Websites cited various sources within Germany – most focusing on reports from German-based Beyondprint.de and the financial newsletter The Platow Brief. In late August, Beyondprint.de reported that negotiations were underway between Heidelberg’s Merrill Lynch representation and manroland’s Deutsche Bank – with Boston Consulting examining operational issues.

The new Heidelberg-manroland merger reporting, from Reuter’s Philipp Halstrick and Alexander Huebner, quotes one source as suggesting, "There are still a few issues to clear up."

Relative to Canada’s Federal government, Germany traditionally takes more interest in massive domestic business transactions. In addition to the thousands of employees and millions of dollars that both Heidelberg and manroland infuse into the German economy, any such merger would also need to address the €1.4 billion loan Heidelberg received – through various Federal- and State-level initiatives – in August 2009. The governmental loans fall due in mid-2012.

Details of Heidelberg’s €1.4 billion loan

• €300 million loan from the Special Program of the KfW (Reconstruction Loan Corporation) for large companies (with a 50 percent indemnity from the KfW to the banks);

• A €550 million loan supported by 90 percent guarantee pledges from the Federal Government and the States of Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg; and

• A syndicated credit line from a consortium of banks, also for €550 million.

Xerox Corp. signed an agreement to acquire Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) in a cash and stock transaction valued at $63.11 per share or US$6.4 billion, as of the closing price of Xerox stock on September 25.

Headquartered in Dallas, ACS is described as the world's largest business process outsourcing (BPO) firm. It employs more than 74,000 people, working with multinational corporations and government agencies in over 100 countries from 500 locations. The transaction, which has been approved by the Xerox and ACS boards, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.

"By combining Xerox's strengths in document technology with ACS's expertise in managing and automating work processes, we're creating a new class of solution provider," said Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO, who described the deal as a “game-changer” for the company. "Xerox becomes a US$22 billion global company, of which US$17 billion is recurring revenue – a significant boost to our profitable annuity stream. The revenue we generate from services will triple from US$3.5 billion in 2008 to an estimated US$10 billion next year." 

In addition to the exchange of shares, Xerox will assume ACS's debt of US$2 billion and issue US$300 million of convertible preferred stock to ACS's Class B shareholders. On an adjusted earnings basis, Xerox expects the transaction to be accretive in the first year.

THP Greeting CardsFood-assistance programs across Canada will receive 100 percent of the net proceeds from The Printing House’s Seasonal Greeting Card campaign, which last year raised more than $70,000.

For more than 15 years, The Printing House (TPH) has produced seasonal greeting cards in support of various registered Canadian charities. Because the entire production of the greeting cards is donated, including artwork, stock and printing, TPH is able to give 100 percent of the selling price to the chosen charities.  The cards, starting at $1.35 each, can be imprinted with standard greetings, blank or customized with a personal message.

This year, the Toronto-based company has chosen to fight hunger and will donate the proceeds to food programs – run by organizations like the Amethyst Women's Addiction Centre, Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, HomeBridge Youth Society and the Daily Bread Food Bank – in Canadian cities that hold TPH operations. The company, which donated $70,742.12 to the selected 2008 charities, has 70 locations across Canada.

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The United Steelworkers (USW) joined with NewPage Corp., Appleton Coated LLC and Sappi Fine Paper North America in filing trade petitions, for antidumping and anti-subsidy duties, against Chinese and Indonesian imports of certain types of coated paper.

USW, which represents about 6,000 production workers at paper mills operated by the previously mentioned three companies (in nine American states), claims the unfair trade practices carried out by paper producers in China and Indonesia  “have eliminated thousands of domestic jobs." Over 130,000 workers are represented by the USW in the paper and forestry products industry. The union claims to have measured a loss of more than 60,000 jobs across this sector since 2002.

The new petitions focus on job cuts over the past five years. According a USW statement, “The petitions estimate an increase of 40 percent from total imports of coated paper have flooded into the U.S. market – jumping from 131,687 tonnes in the first six months of 2008 to 185,422 tonnes in the first six months of 2009.  Imports from the two countries [China and Indonesia] together account for nearly 30 percent of the domestic market.”

The petitions were filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC.

Eastman Kodak Company hopes to raise upwards of US$700 million in funds, including an estimated US$400-million commitment from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR) based on the planned purchase of Senior Secured Notes that are to fall due in 2017.
 If the transaction is completed, scheduled for around September 30, Kodak's board of directors will appoint two individuals designated by KKR to the board.

In addition, Kodak agreed to issue to KKR warrants to purchase up to 53-million shares of Kodak common stock, which means Kodak could ultimately vary the amount of Senior Secured Notes purchased by KRR. Under the terms of the agreement, KKR is required to hold the warrants and shares for a minimum of two years. 

"KKR has a long, successful record of working with, and investing in, companies with significant value-creation potential,” stated Antonio Perez, Kodak's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in a press release about the arrangement. “We look forward to working with the KKR team to accelerate the growth of our portfolio of high-margin annuity businesses."

Kodak also announced it will readjust the release of its upcoming third-quarter results, as it “estimates total segment losses from continuing operations before interest expense, other income (charges), net, and income taxes will be between US$50 million to US$60 million.”

Cenveo Inc., led by Chairman and CEO Robert Burton out of Stanford, CT, today completed its previously announced acquisition of New Hampshire-based Nashua Corporation, which focuses on the development of materials for the label and specialty-paper markets.

Together, the new company is said to be one of the United States’ largest manufacturers of pharmaceutical, scale and shelf labels, while the new assets also allow Cenveo to enter deeper into point-of-sale and wide-format printing markets.

Under the terms of acquisition, each share of common stock of Nashua will be converted into (i) $0.75 per share in cash and (ii) 1.265 shares of Cenveo common stock.

As it continues to operate under bankruptcy protection in Canada and the U.S., papermaker AbitibiBowater released further details about its restructuring plans, which includes the indefinite suspension of production at three Canadian mills, while another three Canadian operations will see paper-machine shutdowns. Another AbitibiBowater U.S.-based mill also faces an indefinite paper-machine shutdown.

According to a report from The Canadian Press (CP) news agency, the Montreal-based company estimates the closures, set to begin October 31, 2009, will affect 1,500 Canadians jobs. CP quotes the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, which operates within the mills, stating that these cuts represent "disasters of historical proportions for communities that have been a mainstay of the Canadian forest industry."

The shutdowns include operations at a digital printing paper plant in Beaupre, Quebec, as well as plants in Clermont (Quebec) Fort Frances (Ontario), and Brooklyn (Nova Scotia). At the start of September, the Montreal-based company announced the sale of approximately 121,000 hectares of private timberlands in Quebec for $53 million in cash.

New York-based On Demand Books LLC, which makes the Espresso Book Machine, announces an agreement with Google to access over 2-million public-domain titles in the Google digital files repository. This adds to the preexisting 1.6-million titles available to consumers via the Espresso Book Machine (EBM).

EMB locations in Canada include the University of Alberta bookstore, McMaster University bookstore, McGill’s McLennan Library, University of Waterloo bookstore, while machines are scheduled for placement with Books Inn Inc. of Miramchi, NB, and Oscar’s Art Bookstore in Vancouver.

According to the U.K.’s Telegram newspaper: “On-demand prints will cost around $8, with Google taking and On Demand taking $1 each, the retailer earning $3, and the remaining revenue going toward covering the costs of materials and labour.”

Ampersand CIPPIGuelph-based Ampersand Printing, using press technology from Mitsubishi, Kodak Prinergy and Hiflex MIS software, and cutting equipment from Heidelberg, won first place in the annual CIPPI awards, which celebrate world-class JDF integration.

Ampersand received its recognition, officially presented under the Jürgen Schönhut Memorial CIP4 International Print Production Innovation (CIPPI) Awards, in the category of Best Process Automation Implementation, North America. CIP4 names its winners based on the most-compelling case-study submission across three topical categories and four regions.

Under the leadership of Damian and Mike McDonald, Ampersand has won a CIPPI award for the past four years: Automating prepress and MIS in 2006; extending JDF automation to postpress in 2007; and extending JDF automation to press operations in 2008. In May 2008, the 17-employee printing company installed a new 40-inch, 6-colour Mitsubishi DIAMOND press.

Key results from Ampersand’s current win include a 34-minute, average time reduction in “first-signature preparation”– to 16 minutes from 50 minutes. The company also reduced its “following signatures” prep from 30 minutes to eight, while it also cut an average of 400 sheets of waste per reprint signature.

The full list of winners, as decided by a panel of five international judges, includes:

Best cost/benefit realization and improvement in efficiency as a result of process automation implementation
First Place: Druckerei Bauer GmbH of Pfedelbach, Germany
Second Place: Sirivatana Interprint Public Company Limited, of Bankok, Thialand

Biggest improvement in quality production & customer responsiveness as a result of process automation
First Place: C. Maurer Druck und Verlag GmbH of Geislingen/Steige, Germany  
Second Place: Druckerei Bauer GmbH of Pfedelbach, Germany

Most innovative use of process automation technology in an implementation
Shinkosha Printing Company of Tokyo, Japan

Small Business Process Automation Implementation of the Year
5Sept Etiquette of Courthézon, France

Best Process Automation Implementation, Asia/Pacific
Shinkosha Printing Company of Tokyo, Japan

Best Process Automation Implementation, Europe
Cloître Imprimeurs of Saint-Thonan, France

Best Process Automation Implementation, North America
Ampersand Printing of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Best Process Automation Implementation, Emerging Markets
Emirates Printing Press of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Increasing its interests in online-based advertising, Adobe Systems Inc. signed an agreement to purchase an analytics company, called Omniture Inc., for US$1.8 billion. The systems of Omniture track the performance of Websites and online advertising campaigns.

Adobe agreed to pay $21.50 a share for Omniture, which Bloomberg news reports to be 24 percent more than the closing price yesterday. A company statement explains, “Adobe’s acquisition of Omniture furthers its mission to revolutionize the way the world engages with ideas and information.”

In addition to its online measurement systems, Omniture also focuses on strategies and technologies to optimize the backend efficiency of Web-based communications.

Adobe also announced its third quarter financial results which saw the company's profit fall 29 percent.  In the third quarter of fiscal 2009, Adobe achieved revenue of $697.5 million, compared to $887.3 million reported for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 and $704.7 million reported in the second quarter of fiscal 2009.


WadesBaumfolder Corp., at PRINT 09, introduced its new BaumPrint 18 printing press and announced its first Canadian distributor will be Cambridge, Ontario-based Wades Bindery Repair Service Ltd.

In April 2009, Baumfolder began building a production line to assemble the BaumPrint 18 press as Hamada announced it would stop selling printing presses into the North American market. Most U.S.-based Baumfolder dealers, which previously sold Hamada presses, will now focus their attention on the BaumPrint 18. This small-format press is rated to run at 10,000 sheets per hour with a printing format of 17.83 x 12.99 inches. Sheet size can range from a minimum of 3.94 x 3.94 inches to a maximum of 18.11 x 13.39 inches.

Wades Bindery Repair was established in 1986 by industry veterans Wade and Mary Sears. The company primarily focuses on the sale and service of post-press technology, while Wade Sears has over 30 years of experience installing pressroom technology into small- to mid-sized printing and finishing companies.

Baumfolder Corp., now owned by Heidelberg, traces is roots back to a 1935 distribution agreement with Liberty Folder Company, when dealer Russell Baum began moving these Liberty branded machines across the eastern United States. Baum took over the folding company in 1950.

Muller Martini signed an exclusive agreement with Chicago-based printing company R.R. Donnelley & Sons (RRD) to develop “the first fully integrated digital inkjet press and inline binding system.” This production line, according to Muller, will focus on producing books and reach speeds of up to 800 feet per minute.

The first six systems, to be formed through the combination of RRD’s proprietary ProteusJet press, which hits 1,200 dpi, and Muller Martini's SigmaLine, are scheduled for United States-based deployment through 2010 and 2011.

Just days earlier, at PRINT 09, HP announced it had finalized plans to collaborate on the development of inkjet-based presses with RRD, still regarded as the world’s largest commercial printing company, although it also carries several print-related services.

While they have not yet signed formal agreements, HP and RRD stated that they initially plan to focus on the development of a Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) printing system. MICR-based printing is primarily used by financial institutions for security reasons on products like cheques. The resulting printing system, which the companies expect will ultimately be offered as an “optional component” of the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press (formerly known as the HP Inkjet Web Press), would focus on transactional and direct-mail work.
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