Fujifilm Holdings Corporation of Japan on January 31, 2018, entered into an agreement which would see it own 50.1 percent of Xerox Corporation shares. This end result would follow other complicated agreements in which Fujifilm’s subsidiary Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. (Fuji Xerox) becomes a subsidiary of Xerox, which then allows Fujifilm to take the controlling interest in Xerox.

In a press release issued today about the move, Fujifilm outlined some of the reasons for the combination of the two companies, including the fact that Fuji Xerox (a document solutions company founded in 1962) is an entity formed with 75 percent capital invested by the Fujifilm and 25 percent by Xerox.

Fuji Xerox is known as a rare success story for a cross-border joint venture, explained Fujifilm, and the combination of the two companies Fujifilm and Xerox is the optimal conclusion for both. Fuji Xerox is mainly engaged in business in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, while Xerox is mainly engaged in business in U.S. and Europe.

Fujifilm explains it will make Xerox an owned subsidiary after Xerox makes Fuji Xerox a wholly owned subsidiary, and Xerox will be renamed Fuji Xerox. As mentioned, Fujifilm will hold 50.1 percent of the shares of the new Fuji Xerox, which will maintain its listing on the NYSE. It is also planned that the current brands of both Fuji Xerox and Xerox will continue to be used after the combination of the two companies.

Fujifilm explains the new Fuji Xerox will become the largest document solutions company in the world by revenue. Jeff Jacobson, current Chief Executive Officer of Xerox, will be appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the new Fuji Xerox entity.
Muller Martini has taken over the perfect binding and bookline business from Kolbus, which also includes the service and spare parts business for all Kolbus bookbinding systems installed worldwide. Kolbus in turn is setting its focus on the packaging and case making business, parts manufacturing and its foundry business.

“Structural change has changed the graphic arts industry in recent years and our market has become much smaller and versatile at once,” said Bruno Müller, CEO of Muller Martini. “Customers need innovations on a regular basis, which have to be financed with lower sales quantities. Above all, our customers benefit from the efficiency gains bringing together the bookbinding activities.”

The bookbinding business of Kolbus is transferred to the new business unit Müller Martini Buchbinde-Systeme GmbH, which will be integrated into the Muller Martini group with around 250 employees as an independent factory in Rahden, Germany. “This secures the future of the softcover and hardcover business of both the customers and the two machine manufacturers – and thus also jobs in the graphic arts industry,” said Müller.

With 900 employees, Kolbus will remain under the direction of CEO Kai Büntemeyer. “In recent years, the packaging market was growing consistently. We see a good potential and will vigorously expand our current activities in this business,” said Büntemeyer. “There are also very good perspectives in the segment of component manufacturing for sophisticated mechanical engineering companies including Müller Martini Buchbinde-Systeme GmbH and Kolbus Luxury Packaging.”

Muller Martini, a family business that was founded in 1946, has its headquarters in the city of Zofingen (in the Swiss canton of Aargau). It has around 1,800 employees active in the development and production of industrial system solutions for print finishing.
Over the past several days, NPES - The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies – has made two significant rebranding moves, including a name change that will see the group renamed as the Association for Print Technologies (APT). The association has also designated its PRINT brand as the name for its annual trade show event moving forward, which effectively ends the use of Graph Expo.

In the past, PRINT was used in lieu of the Graph Expo branding in order to mark a larger – more global – trade show every four or five years. First introduced in 1968, the permanent move toward PRINT comes as the APT is now the exclusive owner and producer of this trade show, which typically runs in Chicago at McCormick Place every September or early October.

APT, a non-profit association, indicates 100 per cent of the net proceeds from the trade show are being invested back into the industry through research funding, education, advocacy and standards development.

"With the entire graphic communications industry in a state of major transformation, we are in a unique position to redefine ourselves as an organization and provide a new vision for the future," said Thayer Long, President of APT. "Attracting the largest attendance of any printing, imaging and mailing industry event in the U.S., PRINT convenes our global community and represents our identity and path forward."

In addition to its name change, APT is introduced a new staff department called Community & Industry Development, which aims to advance programming designed to support businesses throughout the industry value chain, including initiatives that will address Workforce Development and Training.

Spearheading this new department will be industry veterans Ken Garner, formerly of Idealliance and NAPL, who joins APT as Vice President of Business Development and Industry Relations, and Julie Shaffer, formerly of Idealliance and PIA, who becomes Associate Vice President of Program and Community Development.

"To drive the industry forward for decades to come, our board made the decision to evolve and reposition the organization. Our new identity, as the Association for Print Technologies, reflects the way forward," said Mark Hischar, APT Chairman and President & CEO, KBA-North America.

PRINT 18 is to be a three-day event taking place in Chicago from September 30 to October 2 at McCormick Place South.
Imprimerie Gauvin Ltée of Gatineau, Quebec, has been granted $800,000 in financial assistance in the form of a repayable contribution through Canada Economic Development’s Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP), within the larger framework of the Government of Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan.

Together with the Government of Canada, Imprimerie Gauvin's other partners, namely the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Investissement Québec as well as the City of Gatineau through Investissement et Développement (ID) Gatineau, are funding this project.

"We are delighted with the support from our partners, which is helping us improve our productivity and continue to grow in a traditional market that was disrupted with the arrival of eBooks. The support will help us access local and international markets," said André Gauvin, Chief Executive Officer, Imprimerie Gauvin.

Imprimerie Gauvin is a family company that has been in the printing business in the Gatineau region for 125 years. More specifically, the printing company produces softcover books and is a significant player in short- and medium-book print runs. Imprimerie Gauvin has more than 200 client-publishers of varying sizes across Canada, the United States and Europe.

The financial assistance will go towards the acquisition of equipment and the company's move to a new plant. The funding awarded will be used for the acquisition of software and hardware for on-demand digital printing.

“Thanks to its innovative ideas and an interest in research and development, Imprimerie Gauvin has developed expertise by building on innovation and creating wealth for residents of Gatineau and the region. I sincerely congratulate the company for this great success, yet another example of Canadian ingenuity,” said Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull–Aylmer.

Earlier in the year, Imprimerie Ste-Julie, a family business founded 42 years ago, received $750,000 in funding through QEDP for the acquisition of a flexographic press to increase its production capacity and productivity.

As well, MIIP was granted $94,700 in financial assistance through QEDP to commercialize its products in the United States and Europe, notably its flagship product, the miipCam, a camera inspection system for the printing and labelling industries.
A new report by 24/7 Wallstreet shows six companies commonly recognized as having close ties to the printing industry are among the 50 most innovative on the planet. The report is based on patents being granted in 2017 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

Of these six companies, which includes Apple Computer and Seiko Epson, four develop digital toner presses, including: HP, Ricoh, Canon and Xerox. These four printing powers also have significant inkjet printing interests, which is where Seiko Epson’s expertise lies, in addition to a range of imaging assets.

Canon is the top patent recipient among these six printing-industry-related companies. In January 2018, Canon reported it was among the top five companies granted U.S. patents for the 31st consecutive year, ranking third with 3,665, ahead of tech giants like Google (fifth with 2,835) and Intel (sixth with 2,784). IBM was first with 8,088 followed by Samsung with 5,518. In 2015, Canon reinvested 8.6 percent of its net sales back into research and development.

To identify the 50 most innovative companies for its report, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 1,000 companies receiving the most PTO patent grants in 2017. These grants are based on the entity that applied for the patent, so 24/7 Wall St. combined the grants awarded to a company and also its subsidiaries to arrive at its final numbers.

24/7 Wallstreet indicates that the PTO had granted more than 320,000 patents to companies last year, which was up 5.2 percent from the previous record of 304,126 patents granted the prior year. The research organization also found that American companies accounted for 46 per cent of patents granted in 2017, companies based in Asia accounted for 31 per cent, and European companies accounted for 15 per cent.

Below are the statistics for the six printing-industry-related companies as reported by 24/7 Wallstreet, with number-one IBM included for reference:

1. International Business Machines

2017 patent grants: 9,043
2016 patent grants: 8,090
Country: United States
Products: Data management, IT services, application development

5. Canon

2017 patent grants: 3,285
2016 patent grants: 3,665
Country: Japan
Products: Cameras, camcorders, printers

12. Apple

2017 patent grants: 2,229
2016 patent grants: 2,103
Country: United States
Products: Mobile phones, computers, tablets, software

25. Seiko Epson

2017 patent grants: 1,406
2016 patent grants: 1,650
Country: Japan
Products: Printers, projectors, wearable products

30. Ricoh

2017 patent grants: 1,145
2016 patent grants: 1,412
Country: Japan
Products: Printers, cameras, watches, IT services

33. Xerox

2017 patent grants: 1,026
2016 patent grants: 1,215
Country: United States
Products: Printers

35. HP

2017 patent grants: 984
2016 patent grants: 1,051
Country: United States
Products: Computers, printers

See the full list of 50 Most Innovative Companies compiled by 24/7 Wall Street report, as highlighted in USA Today.
North American trade printer 4over has launched its new Strategic Print Advisory Program to help commercial printers generate revenue growth and expand their customer base without the stress of overhead costs.

The program will be led by Joe Stramel, who has more than 40 years of consulting experience in print having worked for companies like MAN Roland and Komori America.  

The program’s main objective is to determine growth strategies that don’t require taking on additional debt. They’ll work closely with printers to foster new revenue streams with products and services such as EDDM, Printer Bridge (W2P), Large Format and more,

4over explains in-depth consultation will also be provided in the buying and selling of equipment, print-to-broker conversions, merger and acquisition solutions, and succession planning with acquisition workouts.
More than 60 people attended the Digital Imaging Association’s latest monthly meeting at Canon Canada’s headquarters in Brampton, Ontario. The 180,000-square-foot facility was built around 16 months ago.

Canon began the night describing its global position to attendees, explaining its 2016 fiscal year generated net sales of $29.2 billion (profit of $1.3 billion) through 367 consolidated subsidiaries and 197,673 employees around the world.

The global group in 2016 generated 53.2 percent of its revenue through the printing segment, which accounts for office and production printers, including wide-format. Slightly more than 32 percent of the revenue was generated in imaging systems such as cameras and projectors, while medical, security, micrometers comprise the company’s remaining 17 percent of revenue generation. 

The company then focused on its inkjet position with the Océ Varioprint i300 and new ProStream inkjet press technology. In terms of short-run packaging initiatives, Canon described its new Océ Arizona 6100 Series with High Flow Vacuum, which features completely new vacuum systems for printing on difficult materials like corrugated cardboard, plywood and light and medium density fiberboard, among others.
Mitchell Press of Burnaby, BC, became one of 14 printing companies around the world to received Kodak’s 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award. The program, now in its fourth year, recognizes printers whose products, services and operations set an example for sound operational initiatives that reduce their environmental impact. All of winning printers also use Kodak Sonora Process Free Plates.

Kodak explains Mitchell Press, a high-speed, premium-quality commercial printer based in Vancouver, received the award for its expansive recycling program, including materials like paper, ink, cardboard, wood and plastics. The company also collects key data on projects to aid its clients’ efforts to track their environmental footprint, paper usage, distribution and transport data. Kodak also points to Mitchell’s advanced HVAC and IT systems that save energy.

The complete list of 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award winners include: Alcom Printing (U.S.), Mitchell Press Ltd. (Canada), Druckerei Lokay (Germany), School Lane Colour Press (UK), Litotec (Ecuador), Cartocor S.A. (Argentina), Southern Colour Print (New Zealand), Colour King (South Africa), Zühal Ofset (Turkey), ASCON CO., LTD. (Japan), Hongbo Co., Ltd. (China), Golden Cup Printing Co., Ltd. (Hong Kong), Changsung P&Tech (Korea), and Viva Printing Sdn Bhd (Malaysia).
Sun Chemical today announced plans to increase the prices for its offset inks, coatings and consumables in North America, effective February 15, 2018. The company explains the pending change, which follows a trend from other suppliers, is based recent price increases of a variety of raw materials including carbon black, oil and pigments.

“While Sun Chemical has done all it can to offset the price increases of our suppliers, it has now become necessary to pass some of these increases on to our customers,” said Felipe Mellado, Chief Marketing Officer, Sun Chemical. “We regret having to take this action, but remain committed to providing the products and services that address all of our customers’ needs.”

Prices will vary depending on the product line, according Sun Chemical, but in general most prices will go up by a percentage in the high single digits.

Bell and Howell has acquired the assets of Connecticut-based Gunther International Ltd. to expand its mail-inserting product portfolio. This acquisition follows the purchase of Sensible Technologies one year ago and, most recently, the introduction of CX Touchpoints, described as Bell and Howell’s omnichannel communications platform.

“Acquiring Gunther is another strategic move that strengthens Bell and Howell’s leadership position in an area that is fundamental to our success as a company,” said Ramesh Ratan, CEO, Bell and Howell. “We are committed to the production-mail space and are making substantial investments that will enable us to better serve our customers.”

Gunther International is a manufacturer of high-volume, software-driven mailing systems to the insurance and banking industries. It specializes in complex, high-page-count mail finishing via high-throughput machines, integrity at every stage of the insertion process, and machines that can process both flat and folded mail.

Its Champion software, explains Bell and Howell, is a sophisticated and extremely flexible operating system in mail-finishing equipment control and management systems. “We are excited to add top technical talent to the Bell and Howell service team,” said Jim Feely, Bell and Howell’s Senior VP of Global Service Solutions.
Minuteman Press International has been rated as the number one printing and marketing franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018. This is the 15th straight year, and 26 times overall, that the printing franchisor has received the distinction. Minuteman Press’ franchise network holds nearly 1,000 locations across the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Minuteman Press International is also once again a part of the join the Entrepreneur Franchise 500. “It is a testament to our Minuteman Press franchise owners who follow our tried and proven system, our corporate staff, our regional franchise support teams, and our franchise business model that we are the number-one ranked marketing and printing franchise by Entrepreneur in 2018,” said Bob Titus, Minuteman Press International President & CEO.

In 2018, Minuteman Press International stated it plans to continue a pattern of franchise growth and expansion. Started in 1973 by Roy Titus and his son, Bob, Minuteman Press began franchising in 1975 and, as mentioned, has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide. Franchise Business Review also named Minuteman Press International to its 2017 Top Franchises and 2017 Top B2B Franchises lists.
Graphic Packaging Holding Company has completed the combination of Graphic Packaging's existing businesses with International Paper's North America Consumer Packaging business. Graphic Packaging owns 79.5 percent of the combined company and will be the sole manager.

International Paper will own 20.5 percent of the combined company. Graphic Packaging has assumed $660 million (all figures in U.S. dollars) of International Paper debt and concurrently has amended and restated its senior secured credit agreement.

There is no change to Graphic Packaging's current Board of Directors or leadership team. International Paper has a 2-year lock-up on the monetization of their ownership interest and cannot purchase GPK shares for a period of 5 years, subject to limited exceptions.

On a combined basis, Graphic Packaging is now one of the world’s largest integrated paper-based packaging companies with approximately $6 billion of projected revenue and approximately $1 billion of projected EBITDA post-synergies.

Graphic Packaging is one of the largest producers of folding cartons and paper-based foodservice products in North America, has strategic folding carton and foodservice converting positions globally, and holds leading market positions in solid bleached sulfate paperboard, coated unbleached kraft paperboard and coated-recycled paperboard.

“We are excited to close this transformative transaction at the start of the New Year… [We] expect the transaction will significantly increase our mill production and converting scale… The combination meaningfully increases our exposure to the growing foodservice market,” said Graphic Packaging President and CEO Michael Doss.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Graphic Packaging holds two Canadian operations in Cobourg and Mississauga, Ontario. In November 2017, Graphic Packaging agreed to acquire the assets of Canada’s Seydaco Packaging Corp. and its affiliates National Carton and Coating Co., and Groupe Ecco Boites Pliantes Ltée.
Apex International, described as the world’s largest anilox roll manufacturer, expanded its existing distribution relationship with Anderson & Vreeland Canada (AVC). Starting in January 2018, AV Canada became the Apex North America exclusive partner for sales and support for all Canadian provinces for the anilox market. AVC has serviced the Quebec and Eastern Canadian provinces for the last 12 years for Apex.

“The AV team which is led by Sean Sawa, Sales Director for AV Canada, working with Claude Pineault heading up the anilox team, has really helped Apex [North America] become the significant anilox roll solution provider for all of Canada,” Dave McBeth, Vice President for Apex North America. “The significant growth of our Canadian market in 2017 now calls for a wider coverage and AV can offer this to Apex’s existing and new customer base.”

McBeth explains, that in addition to his current role as VP of Apex North America, he will continue working directly with some key longstanding strategic Canadian customers and will also be a support channel for the AV team working with Pineault, who is the key contact for AV for the Canadian anilox market.

“We believe that when choosing partners, not only do our sales and strategy goals need to align; but of equal importance is that our values and philosophies are shared," said Sawa. "We found all of this in Apex, and cannot wait to deliver these shared benefits to the rest of Canada in 2018 and beyond.”
ModusLink Global Solutions Inc., which is controlled by Steel Partners Holdings, completed the acquisition of privately held IWCO Direct, one of North America’s largest producers of data-driven direct marketing, for US$476 million in cash.

“We have been looking to acquire a profitable business with attractive operations and financials, and with a strong management team in order to leverage our approximately US$2.1 billion in net operating loss carryforwards and cash,” said Warren Lichtenstein, Executive Chairman of ModusLink. “We found a great fit in IWCO Direct. We essentially double the size of our company and add significant earnings and free cash flow.”

Lichtenstein also pointed to IWCO Direct’s client base with a range of Fortune 500 companies, and significant opportunities to drive both top- and bottom-line results. “We intend to aggressively grow IWCO Direct,” he said, “organically and through acquisitions.”

IWCO Direct, which becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of ModusLink Global Solutions, will continue to be run by Jim Andersen, who has been CEO since 1999. Jack Howard, President of Steel Partners, and William Fejes Jr., President of Steel Services Ltd., join the ModusLink board of directors.

For the last 12 months through October 2017, IWCO Direct had net revenue of US$470.6 million, net income of US$18.9 million and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) of US$82.2 million.

For the last 12 months through October 2017, ModusLink had net revenue of US$417.8 million, a net loss of US$22.5 million and negative EBITDA of US$3.8 million, although net loss and EBITDA improved by US$32.5 million and US$28.0 million year-over-year, respectively.

IWCO Direct’s range of services includes strategy, creative and production for multichannel marketing campaigns, as well as postal logistics programs for direct mail. Through its Mail-Gard product, IWCO Direct also offers business continuity and disaster recovery services to protect against unexpected business interruptions, along with providing print and mail outsourcing services.

IWCO Direct claims to be the largest direct mail production provider in North America, with the largest platform of continuous digital print technology and a growing direct marketing agency service.
The London Chamber of Commerce has awarded Jones Packaging with the 2018 Corporate Icon Award, determined annually by the Chamber’s board of directors. The organizers of the award explain, “The Corporate Icon Award is presented by the board of directors each year to a corporation that has demonstrated particular excellence or achievement in business, making either an immediate impact on, or a substantial long-term contribution to, the economic progress of our community.”

Past winners of the London Corporate Icon Award include McCormick Canada, Libro Credit Union, Goodlife Fitness, TD Canada Trust, 3M Canada and London Life, among others. Jones Packaging will be recognized at the London Business Achievement Awards on March 21, 2018.

Jones was founded in 1882, under the name Lawson & Jones Inc., as a regional manufacturer of drug boxes and specialty drug labels. The company has evolved into a global power in delivering innovative packaging and medication dispensing solutions. “The London community has played an important role in our business for over 135 years, and we wish to extend many thanks to everyone who has helped make us who we are today,” said co-owner and Principal, Corporate Development Chris Jones Harris.

In announcing its 2018 winner, the London Chamber of Commerce explains “[Jones Packaging] grew its roots in London as a regional manufacturer of drug boxes and specialty drug labels until 1920, when founder Henry Jones established Jones Box and Label based on Dundas Street East. While the company’s role in the pharmacy industry continued to expand, it also began to support the primary packaging needs of some of the most recognized global pharmaceutical and consumer brands through the middle of the century.”

The company became known as Jones Packaging Inc. in the mid-1990s under the ownership of fourth generation Jones family members Ron Harris and Chris Jones Harris. Jones then moved to its current 135,000-square-foot primary printing and converting facility just off of Veterans Memorial Parkway in London, Ontario.
“Jones has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to innovation throughout its history, from introducing the first pre-gummed prescription label for pharmacies in the early 1900s to distributing the first child-safe vial to the Canadian market in the 1970s and co-developing the first compliance card for multi-medication regimes in the 1980s,” noted a statement by the London Chamber of Commerce. “Over the past several years, the company has participated in key international alliances, acquired European compliance packaging leader Venalink Ltd., as well as contract packaging leader Ivers-Lee Ltd., adding a new, 76,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art contract packaging facility in Toronto to its locations in 2013.”
Jones provides what it describes as integrated printed and contract packaging solutions including intelligent packaging, folding cartons, labels, leaflets, pouching, blistering, vial filling and secondary packaging. The company also offers a range of medication dispensing and delivery products for many of the largest pharmacy groups and independent pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities across Canada and Europe.

“Our journey has been based on quality and trust with our customers – both long-standing and new – while adapting our business to respond to their needs,” said Jones Harris. “Today, we have grown to become a global leader in delivering leading-edge packaging, medication dispensing solutions and a technology portfolio that continue to drive many market firsts.”
The London Chamber of Commerce also noted Jones Packaging’s corporate giving plan and ongoing participation in local capital campaigns for London Health Sciences Centre, the Children’s Hospital and Thames Valley Children’s Centre, to name a few. Over 200 of the company’s 350 employees work and live in London and its surrounding area.

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