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The sale of CanWest Global's newspaper holdings is set to begin later this week, despite strong objections from CEO Leonard Asper, who feels these assets are undervalued in the current economy.

CanWest Global has been operating under bankruptcy protection since October 2009, with RBC Dominion Securities acting as the company's financial advisor. RBC Dominion has found four potential suitors – Corus Entertainment, Shaw Communications, Fairfax Financial Holdings and Jim Pattison Group – to invest in the CanWest parent company, according to The Globe and Mail (see link below, along with two other related news links).

Each of these potential investors show varied interest in CanWest’s broad group of media assets. RBC has positioned the newspaper division to be sold separately. The Globe reported, that last week, CanWest CEO Leonard Asper wrote a letter in an attempt to stop creditors from putting CanWest’s 45 newspapers, as well as the National Post, up for sale.

While Asper feels the sale of the newspaper division is being rushed, and that a better price can be garnered when the economy improves, Grant Robertson of The Globe points out, “CanWest's newspaper division, known as CanWest LP, has fallen seven months behind on its debt payments. The bank has warned Mr. Asper that he now has no say over whether the assets are sold to recoup $935-million the senior lenders are owed.”

CanWest’s newspaper division owes creditors more than $1.3-billion. The auction for this division, and its 45 newspapers, is scheduled to begin this Friday. It will not include the National Post.


Read The Globe and Mail articles:


CanWest Draws four potential bidders

CanWest newspapers go on block despite CEO Asper's objections


CanWest lenders can't wait on sale, Scotiabank tells Asper




Jim Rimmer, famed Canadian typographer and designer, passed away last Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Rimmer founded Vancouver-based Pie Tree Press after retiring from a career as a linetype operator at the North Shore Citizen.

"I didn't quit just because I was 65. It was just good timing. I was living as an illustrator and letterer and that kind of work just completely disappeared," Rimmer told PrintAction in a story about him in September 2003. "The trade was beginning to evaporate. So I left letterpress as a trade but continued to practice it as a craft."

At Pie Tree Press and Rimmer Type Foundry in his home city of New Westminster, BC, Rimmer was able to express his talents in letterpress and design at a time when the craft hit a resurgence in the art community. Despite an initial mistrust of computer technologies, late in his career he embraced it and started designing typography digitally.

Rimmer was responsible for the typeface Stern, the first font to be created in metal and digital formats at the same time. In his career as a type designer, he has created over 200 typefaces. In 2006, Rimmer wrote an autobiography Leaves from the Pie Tree, which features all of this fonts as well as his design philosophy.

Read the September 2003 story on Rimmer and letterpress printing.


In a confusing move by Transport Canada, new regulations regarding what can be brought into the cabin during air travel could exclude printed materials such as books and magazines. The National Post reported yesterday that Transport Canada, in response to the Christmas Day attempt by Umar Farouk to blow up a passenger plane, has far-reaching restrictions which only exclude a small number of items.
 
According to the National Post, the carry-on ban includes everything except for: medication, medical devices, small purses, cameras, coats, items for care of infants, laptop computers, crutches, canes, walkers, containers carrying life-sustaining items, special-needs items, musical instruments, or diplomatic or consular bags.
 
Because newspapers, magazines and books are not on Transport Canada’s list of exceptions, news organizations across the country are asking if these printed items, and others, are effectively banned from flights. The National Post story quotes Transport Canada spokesperson Melanie Quesnel stating that the ban is to stay in effect “until further notice."
 
Read National Post story:

In a move to boost its presence in mobile advertising, Apple late yesterday confirmed its purchase of Quattro Wireless, as news of the acquisition quickly spread across a host of Apple-hungry technology Websites.

Most of the Websites picked up on a Reuters report, as well as a post from All Things Digital, a Wall Street Journal-affiliated blog, suggesting the purchase price would be around US$275 million. Apple has not officially confirmed it paid this amount for Quattro.

Apple’s move into mobile advertising comes a few months after Google Inc. purchased AdMob, which is a direct competitor to Quattro Wireless, for US$750 million in November 2009. Google yesterday introduced its new – unlocked – smart-phone hardware, while Apple, on the same day, announced that “more than 3-billion apps have been downloaded from its revolutionary App Store by iPhone and iPod Touch users worldwide.”


The Enterprise Print Services division of Xerox Canada signed a $40-million, 6-year deal with the University of British Columbia, which is to include Xerox building a “near-site document production facility for high-volume print requirements.”

Xerox Canada estimates the 6-year deal, focusing on document and print services across all University of British Columbia (UBC) campuses, will save the school about $8 million – based on a Six Sigma operational approach. UBC has a student population of 50,000 on two major campuses in Vancouver and Kelowna.

"[The contract] involves nearly every aspect of the document lifecycle including printing, copying, scanning, faxing, design and delivery of print materials as well as electronic storage and retrieval,” said Pierre Ouillet, UBC’s VP of Finance, Resources and Operations. “The move means printing and document management campus-wide will be consistent, affordable and reliable."

According to a Xerox press release, the deal also involves Xerox building a high-volume printing facility for the university, which is to be located off-campus.




The National Post is reporting an elaborate case of fraud has been uncovered which traces back to a small Toronto-based printer. The alleged fraud centers around Tzvi Erez, the print shop owner of E Graphix Ltd.

According to the Post, the scam involved 76 high-profile investors from Toronto's Jewish community, who lost more than $27 million. Erez is alleged to have claimed to be brokering large print jobs for blue-chip clients, and then asked the alleged victims for cash advances on large printing orders, claiming a return on original investment plus 30 percent per annum on delivery. There were no large orders, and money was diverted to attract more alleged victims.

Erez's lawyer claims the money was lost gambling in an effort to repay investors, which, according to the newspaper article, casino records seem to collaborate at least in part.  A bankruptcy order has been issued to Erez and all of his companies. A criminal investigation is currently underway by the Toronto Police Services' Fraud Squad, with police asking for victims to step forward.

Read the full story here.



Warner TenKate, owner of Accell Graphics, suddenly passed away on December 14 at the young age of 48.


Accell GraphicsAccell Graphics was founded in London, Ontario, in 1985, and now employs over 35 staff members. Over the past few years, TenKate had been driving his company to become one of Canada’s most environmentally progressive commercial printers. In 2007, KenKate received the inaugural Agfa Environmental Recognition Award. More recently, Accell was named as one of the official printing suppliers for the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Beyond its environmental push, Accell Graphics is a highly respected company within Southern Ontario’s tight-knit printing community, as TenKate was also an early adopter of technologies for variable-data and large-format printing. In addition to the Accell’s offset base, the company also holds a large bindery and in-house design. 


Warner TenKate service details

Friends will be received at the Bieman Funeral Home, Dorchester, on Thursday between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 pm.

A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 377 Oakland Ave. at Dundas St., London on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 10:30 am.




Transcontinental Inc. released its fourth-quarter results (ended October 31, 2009), which saw the company grow 15 percent in operating income, despite a nine percent decrease in revenues compared to the same quarter in 2008. The company, in its 2009 fiscal year, saw an overall three percent operating income decrease and six percent decrease in revenues  when compared to 2008.

“I am particularly proud of our operating performance in the fourth quarter — one of the best in our history — and the steady improvement in our financial results over the course of the year in very turbulent conditions,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer in a statement. “We are making it through this serious recession by doing better than most of our main competitors and gaining back much of the ground lost compared to 2008."

The company saw a decline in the printing sector in the past year, with revenues dropping from $1.54 billion to $1.4 billion between 2008 and 2009. Its Marketing Communications sector rose from $341.7 million to $373.5 million.

Due to the North American recession, the company was unable to reach its goal of five percent organic growth in sales per year, which was set in its Evolution 2010 plan, introduced back in 2005. Instead the company shrunk 11 percent in 2009, compared to the growth of two percent in 2008.

“We also signed financing agreements for a total of $888 million despite the tight credit situation, and we did so at competitive rates," continued Olivier. "I see this as acknowledgement by investors of our financial credibility, as well as their confidence in our growth strategy and prospects for the future. We plan to maintain our prudent balance between profits, costs, debt and investments."



As PrintAction today opens up the Fifth Annual Environmental Printing Awards to entries, the magazine is announcing the inaugural Best of Show Award, which is to recognize the most-progressive submission from across all categories and entries.

Click to download submission guidelines (530kb PDF)
, including all 17 category descriptions.

Entry deadline: March 8, 2010

Awards Gala: April 8, 2010, Eglinton Grand, Toronto
       
Event speaker: Peter Robinson, CEO of The David Suzuki Foundation



 
 


Transilwrap Company Inc. has entered into a co-operative arrangement with Azuna LLC to be the exclusive supplier of Azuna's patented 3D printing technology. The line of Azuna’s clear polypropylene is designed to create “eye-catching visuals” for point-of-purchase, packaging, signage, publishing inserts, direct mail, cards and other printed materials.

"We are thrilled to add the Azuna line of products to our portfolio of printable plastics," said Michael Reid, National Market Manager for Transilwrap of Canada Ltd. "Our customers are continually looking for special effects that broaden the scope of and go far beyond traditional marketing and advertising."

The Azuna technology is unique because it is not based on applying challenging lenticular prepress and printing processes. According to Transilwrap, the "magic" of applying Azuna technology is based on the substrate, which can be applied to a surface through UV litho, converntional litho-, screen printing, or UV digital flatbed production. Azuna is also a completely recyclable product.

For more than 75 years, Transilwrap has been manufacturing and converting plastics for the thermal laminating, printing, industrial, specialty packaging, and graphic arts markets. The Illinois-based company has a Canadian division headquartered in Scarborough, Ontario, with additional offices in Delta, British Columbia, and St. Laurent, Quebec.




Koenig & Bauer AG today announced plans to cut an additional €300 million in costs by 2013 “to counter falling sales and accelerate a return to profit.” Claiming to be the world's third-largest printing-press maker, KBA is now seeking total cost cuts of €580 million, after originally announcing a 3-year target of cutting €280 million.

As a result of the new cuts, which will include some 300 more jobs, the company states that by mid-2010 its workforce will be at around 6,200. KBA reported a €87.1 million- loss in 2008.


"We must cut capacity," commented CEO Helge Hansen, in a press release about the new cuts, adding, "It's a tough business." The company’s statement explained that “printing-press sales are falling as Internet publications squeeze Western demand for newspapers and magazine.”

KBA also pointed to its strong growth in the Asian market, as Hansen said the company is now considering opening up a manufacturing plant in the region's largest country. "China and the other emerging countries bring in volume, but not necessarily profit," said Hansen. "They help retain jobs, but they don't help in terms of a positive balance."

KBA forecasts a 35 percent sales drop this year, when compared with 2007 levels. "There's no going back to the old levels," said Hansen.



After selling its Australia-based paper manufacturing interests to Nippon Paper Group of Japan, in February 2009, PaperlinX yesterday announced plans to close its Wesley Vale operation in Tasmania as well as portions of its Burnie operation in Australia.

These cost-cutting efforts will result in PaperlinX becoming a pure paper-merchant company, focusing on the distribution of various paper, large-format and packaging materials. The paper-manufacturing closures are expected to effect around 250 Australian jobs.

PaperlinX made the announcement as it outlined progress on “new regional asset-based borrowing facilities,” which is an effort to restructure its approach to obtaining credit facilities. According to a statement, since July 2009, PaperlinX has secured a US$40 million facility in the United States; a NZ$35 million facility in New Zealand; and is in the process of finalizing a C$50 million facility in Canada and a A$80 million facility in Australia.



C.J. Graphics hosted an open house celebration last Friday which featured a food drive for the Daily Bread Food Bank and a live auction. Vendors, clients and other members of the industry attended the event at the plant on Park Lawn Road in Toronto, which also featured a travelling magician and a gallery display. Host and Auctioneer Jay Mandarino took bids for about 20 items donated by various suppliers and with all $5,100 going to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

This is the 24th annual open house party by C.J. Graphics, which started at the company's 645 King Street East location with only 125 people. According to the company, more than 1,400 guests made an appearance and donated more than 3,410 lbs of food (more than double of last year's total).

Below are pictures from the event.


 
 
 
 
 
 


Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses USA, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that the parent corporation plans to establish a new company which will be focused on printing and paper converting machinery, starting July 1, 2010.

The new entity will be formed by the merger of MHI Paper & Printing Machinery Division and Printing & Paper Converting Machinery Sales Co. New Mitsubishi printing presses sold in North America, Central America and Mexico by MLP U.S.A. all originate from the Paper & Printing Machinery Division.

The new company will handle all business activities associated with Mitsubishi sheetfed, commercial web and newspaper presses, as well as paper converting and box-making machinery. It will be responsible for design, manufacturing, procurement, marketing, quality assurance and after-sales service.

The company explains the change as "an opportunity to implement even more dynamic strategies for product development and localized marketing. By dedicating resources to this area of business, the new company will be able to respond precisely to today's diversified customer need and expand the Mitsubishi brand to emerging markets."


Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. this week filed its plans for reorganization, which would see the company emerge from Chapter 11 in the spring of 2010. The company announced it would be seeking bankruptcy protection last January in both U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions.

Patrick J. Moore, Chairman and CEO, said, "The filing of our Plan of Reorganization and Disclosure Statement is an important step toward Smurfit-Stone's successful emergence from the reorganization process. Our employees, customers, suppliers and other supporters have been instrumental in our ability to reach this important milestone. We will remain focused on tackling the many challenges that remain ahead."

The company stated it has prepaid all of the $43 million in loans outstanding in the U.S. and expects to prepay the approximately $7 million remaining of the Canadian term loan by the end of December. Smurfit-Stone will also merge all the Canadian assets under one entity, which will be held as a subsidiary.

Smurfit-Stone's total assets had a net book value of about $5.28 billion and total debt of about $6.6 billion as of September 30, 2009.


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