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In the final quarter of its financial year 2016/2017 (January 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG recorded what the company describes as its best sales and result since 2008.

With a further improvement in the net profit after taxes to €36 million (previous year: €28 million) – based on preliminary figures – the company states it has achieved its objective for the year as a whole of a sustained return to profitability. The improvement of nearly €60 million in the free cash flow to €24 million, explains Heidelberg, also underlines the success of the strategic realignment towards a digital company that has been initiated.

“Heidelberg has achieved its targets for 2016/2017 thanks to an excellent final quarter. The net profit after taxes improved once again and we’ve created a solid basis for the company’s further development,” said CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. “We now need to gear our strategy towards becoming a digital company focused on customer needs. This will also bring the expected growth in sales and a further substantial improvement in profitability in the future.”

At the beginning of February 2017, Heidelberg’s restructuring for the company’s digital future took effect on April 1, 2017 under the motto Heidelberg goes digital!.

This move saw the Heidelberg Digital Technology (HDT) and Heidelberg Digital Business & Services (HDB) segments established. HDT combines sheetfed offset, label printing, and postpress operations and is responsible for developing, producing, and marketing the appropriate technologies and products for new business models. HDB, meanwhile, is where Heidelberg manages its operations relating to services, consumables, remarketed equipment, digital printing technology, and solutions throughout the value-added chain. The third segment – Heidelberg Financial Services (HDF) – will remain the same.

Sales after 12 months were slightly up at €2.524 billion (previous year: €2.512 billion). In the final quarter alone, sales increased by just under 20 percent to €845 million (previous year: €710 million). The more substantial growth in sales originally planned for the year as a whole did not materialize, explains Heidelberg, due to planned acquisitions being postponed until the new reporting year.

In the period under review, Heidelberg states incoming orders of €2.593 billion bucked the industry trend by being significantly up on the previous year’s level (€2.492 billion). Despite the costs for the drupa industry trade show of €10 million in financial year 2016/2017, EBITDA excluding special items in the reporting period amounted to €179 million (previous year: €189 million, including non-recurring income of €19 million from the PSG takeover).

This resulted in an EBITDA margin of 7.1 percent (previous year excluding PSG: 6.8 percent). The €85 million operating profit (EBITDA before special items) for the fourth quarter was over 20 percent higher than in the same period of the previous year.

Special items in the reporting period amounted to some €–18 million (previous year: €–21 million). Lower interest costs resulted in a further improvement in the financial result to €–56 million (previous year: €–65 million). This led to a net result after taxes of €36 million (previous year: €28 million). In the final quarter, the net profit after taxes climbed from €35 million to €46 million.

The free cash flow at the end of the financial year reached a positive value of €24 million (previous year: €–32 million). Operational enhancements and efficient cash flow management thus resulted in an improvement of €56 million compared with the previous year. In the quarter under review, the net financial debt fell to €252 million (March 31, 2016: €281 million) and the leverage remained below the target value of 2 at 1.4.

“We’ve significantly increased the free cash flow and further improved our balance sheet quality in reporting year 2016/2017. This lays a firm foundation for the Group to independently finance our transition into the digital world and step up our pursuit of attractive takeover targets. We’ll be announcing some successes in this regard in the near future,” said Heidelberg CFO Dirk Kaliebe.
Quark software has announced that the newest version of its fully-integrated graphic design and layout software, QuarkXPress 2017, will be released Wednesday, May 24.

Customers can expect new design features, including non-destructive image editing, transparency blend modes, new shape tools, multicolour gradient enhancements, item format painters, text stroking and shading, column spanning and splitting, and smart quotes. Customers can also expect developments to digital publishing, including free iOS single apps creation, adaptive layout conversion for digital, and responsive HTML5 publications.

Quark has made improvements based specifically on user requests, including proportional leading, UI enhancements on Mac and Windows, adaptive layout conversion for print, enhanced word import, and the most recent fonts.
Dick Kouwenhoven, one of the icons of Canadian printing for more than four decades, passed away on April 25. Kouwenhoven was the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hemlock Printers Ltd., based in Burnaby, BC, one of the most highly revered commercial printing operations in North America and indeed known throughout the printing world for its industry leadership.
Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management, located in downtown Toronto, is hosting a three-day G7 Training course from May 16 to 18. This is a theory-based program, offering a blend of lab instruction and lecture on how to apply the G7 method on any type of printing process.

The G7 Methodology will be demonstrated across various output devices (G7 Certified Systems) that may include: Epson 7900 inkjet, Ricoh 901 MFP, Fiery FS-100 system. A method of calibrating G7 by hand (The Fan Graph Method) is reviewed during the training course and all materials related to this calibration are available free of charge and are part of the course handouts.

Idealliance explains the course is geared toward digital press operators, offset press operators, pressroom supervisors, prepress supervisors and technicians, quality assurance managers and printing equipment suppliers.

Idealliance has also made its online Color Management Professional (CMP) Fundamentals course available complimentary to registered attendees. CMP Fundamentals covers the principles of colour management. Successful completion of the CMP Fundamentals will certify those who take it as a Color Management Professional. Idealliance strongly recommends taking the CMP course prior to the G7 Training.

Event registration
Transcontinental has launched a process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario, which are controlled under the Montreal company’s TC Media operation. The sale process, which Transcontinental expects to span several months, involves 93 local and regional publications and their related web properties, including the Métro Montreal newspaper.

The move comes just days after Transcontinental sold its publication portfolio in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick to SaltWire Network Inc. That the transaction included the sale of 28 brands and Web-related properties, as well as four printing plants. In June 2016, Transcontinental sold its publishing assets in the province of Saskatchewan in a transaction that includes the sale of its 13 local newspapers and associated Web properties to Star News Publishing.

The new process to sell all of its newspapers in Quebec and Ontario excludes, among others, the following activities, to which Transcontinental reiterated its commitment: TC Media's specialty brands for the business, financial and construction sectors, its educational book publishing activities as well as the distribution activities operated through Publisac and Targeo in the printing division.

“In light of TC Transcontinental's business transformation strategy, already underway with steps including the sale of our media assets in Saskatchewan in 2016 and of our media properties in Atlantic Canada last week, we also undertook a strategic review of our local newspaper publishing activities in Quebec and Ontario,” explains François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “As a result of this analysis conducted over the past few months, we have decided to put TC Media’s local and regional newspapers up for sale. We are convinced that selling these assets to local players is the best course of action in order to contribute to the continued sustainability of local media and to foster greater connections with the advertisers and communities they serve.”
Xitron, the developer of RIP and workflow products has shipped more than 4,500 units of its Screen interface kit, which allows computer-to-plate devices to be driven with any RIP or workflow.

The Screen interface kit is capable of driving all of the PIF-based platesetters, including the 4000, 6000 and 8000 series engines and the large-format Ultima 16000, 24000, 32000, 36000 and 40000 systems.

The interface can be coupled with Xitron’s Navigator RIP and like engines are also supported.

Xitron drives CTP devices from Agfa, ECRM, Creo, Kodak, Presstek, Heidelberg, Fuji and Screen.
New surface treatments for paper might enable significant savings in the use of commercial inkjet presses, which remains one of the biggest challenges for wide-spread adoption of what most envision as the future of printing


At PaperWeek Canada, the annual conference of the Canadian pulp and paper industry held in Montreal the week of February 13, 2017, one of the presentations discussed a new surface treatment for paper that could allow high-speed inkjet printers to improve quality and save money on their high quality print jobs.

Inkjet printing is achieved by spraying fine ink droplets on the printing medium from a print head. In order to obtain a good quality image on paper, the ink droplet arriving on the surface of the sheet must be immobilized, to prevent spreading of the ink and blurring of the image. There are two types of inkjet ink: pigment-based and dye-based. Pigment-based inks contain solid coloured particles which remain on the surface of the sheet. Dye-based inks, which are cheaper, absorb into the sheet and often produce duller images.

Commercial high-speed inkjet printing has shown an annual growth rate of about 15 percent over the last five years in the U.S., according to a study by Poyry. Inkjet printing is already the leading digital printing technique on transactional print jobs such as credit card statements where mostly black ink is used, since dye-based inks are cheaper than toners. It is also increasingly used for new business models such as print-on-demand and custom publishing.

Market shift in print
Commercial inkjet printing is starting to take significant market share away from offset printing. There are many reasons for this, including fast setup time, ease of customization, less waste and lower cost per copy for shorter print runs.

High quality marketing communications such as catalogues and brochures are traditionally printed by offset printing on glossy coated paper. With inkjet machines, printing on these types of papers can be a challenge, because the water phase of the ink must pass through the coating while the colorant remains fixed on the surface. For this type of promotional printing, pigment-based inks are the inks of choice for inkjet printers.

To design a paper surface that works well with inkjet inks, there are two strategies. One is to coat the surface with positively charged particles, which immobilizes negatively charged ink pigment particles. An approach using calcium chloride in the coating formulation was developed jointly by HP and International Paper about 10 years ago and is trademarked as ColorLok technology.

The second strategy is to provide a surface treatment that rapidly absorbs the liquid phase while keeping it near the surface of the sheet, and minimizes the drying time required. Home and office inkjet printers print relatively slowly, and the drying time is not critical, but web-based production inkjet printers often need to use inline drying techniques to run paper webs at several hundred feet per minute without ink smearing.    

KemPrint 17 in Montreal
An interesting research paper presented in Montreal was given by Bob Hardy from Kemira Paper Chemicals. Kemira has developed a new product, KemPrint 17, that can be applied at the size press of a paper machine. The product is a very high surface area cationic pigment and thus it uses both of the above strategies to immobilize the ink and minimize the set time. Ink penetration into the sheet is significantly reduced, creating high ink densities.

Kemira carried out lab printing trials with their product to demonstrate how it compares with a calcium chloride surface treatment, using either pigment-based or dye-based inks. A constant coat weight of 2.3 g/m² was used. The CaCl2 treatments used a 4:1 mixture of oxidized starch and CaCl2.

Two levels of KemPrint were applied, at 1/3 and 2/3 of the coat weight, mixed with oxidized starch. The results indicate, that for pigment inks, the black print density can be matched with KemPrint and coloured print density can be improved. The colour gamut, where a higher colour gamut value equals more vivid colour reproduction, was also improved with the KemPrint treatments.

The tests were repeated with dye-based inks, and here the KemPrint treatments all gave higher values of print density and colour gamut than the CaCl2 (ColorLok) treatment. This makes sense, as dye-based inks are non-ionic, so the cationic nature of the CaCl2 is ineffective at immobilizing this type of ink.  

Print-through tests also showed that the KemPrint product could match or improve the print-through performance of CaCl2, a good indication that liquid penetration into the sheet is being minimized.

High-speed inkjet printers are always looking for the higher print quality for lower cost. This new technology from Kemira, which is now being tried out by a few papermakers and printers, should result in brighter, sharper images, and may allow them in the long run to move from more expensive pigment-based inks to dye-based inks for these high-speed jobs.  

Production inkjet is already driving change in the printing industry, both by enabling new applications and by capturing volumes previously produced with analogue technologies such as offset and flexography. Over the past couple of years, there have been major advances in both technology and pricing models, with ink and substrates being front and centre in the future success of the production inkjet model.

Avanti Computer Systems Limited has announced that its award-winning Avanti Slingshot is the first print MIS to integrate with MarcomCentral JobDirect Plus.

MarcomCentral’s SaaS-based JobDirect Plus offers an online portal which allows customers to engage with print providers, build orders, customize features and finishing options, preview submissions and submit through almost any application.

The integration with Avanti Slingshot manages backend processes such as reporting, estimating, imposition, inventory management, scheduling, shipping, billing and more.

The combination of the JobDirect Plus and Slingshot makes workflow automation for print jobs easy, efficient and cost effective.
Eastman Kodak Company announced it plans to retain its Prosper inkjet business after initially announcing plans to sell these assets in March 2016 after engaging advisors and banks to manage to process. In late December of that year, Kodak again announced it was still in talks with potential buyers.

However, on April 7, 2017, the imaging technology giant announced plans to retain the business after what it describes as an in-depth management review of business operations and multiple discussions with prospective buyers.

“This is a pragmatic decision given the improvements in the business and the offers received,” said Jeff Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Kodak. “Prosper performed well in 2016 with a 40 percent increase in annuity sales for the full year. We expect our Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division [EISD] to be profitable this year, including our next-generation Ultrastream investment.”

Kodak explains it continues to invest in the Ultrastream program and has entered into letters of intent with partners, which the company expects to create new applications that drive market.

Kodak will begin delivering Ultrastream evaluation kits to 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, GOSS China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery (MHI-PPM) and Uteco, to explore the integration of Ultrastream into their future printing solutions. Kodak expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

”The sale process for Prosper which we conducted over the past year was robust,” said David Bullwinkle, Chief Financial Officer, Kodak. “We hired Sagent Advisors, which solicited interest from global organizations. Strong interest in the business and technology existed throughout the process. While we had multiple offers, the range of consideration did not reflect the value of the business today.”
Transcontinental Inc. of Montreal has sold its publication portfolio in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick to SaltWire Network Inc.

Approximately 650 Transcontinental employees in Atlantic Canada are part of the sale to SaltWire, according to the Financial Post, which also reports the companies said these employees will receive an offer from new ownership.

As a result of the purchase, SaltWire Network Inc. is a newly created media group that previously owned The Chronicle Herald’s seven publications in Nova Scotia. The Canadian Press reports Saltwater’s acquisition of Transcontinental's Atlantic region publishing assets comes amidst a more than yearlong strike involving editorial staff at The Chronicle Herald.

“We are bringing together 950 talented employees to create a media network that will give national and regional brands access to 71 percent of the region’s newspaper readers,” Mark Lever, President and CEO of SaltWire. “We will also reach hundreds of thousands of digital content consumers across several media channels and offer printing services ranging from custom print jobs at Bounty Print [part of SaltWire’s preexisting assets] to mass printing services at our commercial printing plants.”

In total, the transaction includes the sale of 28 brands and Web-related properties, four printing plants operated within Transcontinental’s Media Sector, commercial printing activities in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as distribution activities in Atlantic Canada. Transcontinental remains the owner of the two plants operated within its printing division in this region, which are Transcontinental Halifax, located in Halifax, and Transcontinental Prince Edward Island, located in Borden-Carleton.

The printing assets now owned by SaltWire include facilities in the following locations: Austin Dr. in St. John's, N.L.; Columbus Dr. in St. John's, N.L.; West St. in Corner Brook, N.L.; and George St. in Cape Breton, N.S.

The TC Media newspapers included in this transaction are:

    Advertiser (The), Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.
    Amherst News, N.S.
    Annapolis Valley Register (The), N.S.
    Aurora (The), Labrador, N.L.
    Beacon (The), Gander, N.L.
    Cape Breton Post, N.S.
    Citizen Record (The), Amherst, N.S.
    Colchester Weekly News, N.S.
    Compass (The), Carbonear, N.L.
    Guardian (The), Charlottetown, P.E.I.
    Gulf News (The), Port aux Basques, N.L.
    Journal-Pioneer (The), Summerside, P.E.I.
    Labradorian (The), Labrador, N.L.
    News (The), New Glasgow, N.S.
    Northern Pen (The), St. Anthony, N.L.
    Nor'wester (The), Springdale, N.L.
    Packet (The), Clarenville, N.L.
    Pilot (The), Lewisporte, N.L.
    Queens County Advance (The), N.S.
    Sackville Tribune Post, N.B.
    Southern Gazette (The), Marystown, N.L.
    Telegram (The), St. John's, N.L.
    Tri-County Extra (The), N.S.
    Tri-County Vanguard (The), N.S.
    Truro Daily News, N.S.
    Valley Journal Advertiser, N.S.
    Western Star (The), Corner Brook, N.L

The www.novanewsnow.com website (digital-only) is also included in the transaction.
hubergroup has acquired substantially all of the assets of Alden & Ott Printing Inks Company for an undisclosed price. Hubergroup expects to retain virtually all employees and management team of Alden & Ott in order to continue operations in the Midwest and Northeast United States without interruption.

hubergroup is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of printing inks, coatings and pressroom auxiliaries, currently comprising 40 companies and 130 sites. The family-owned company, with more than 250 years of experience in the printing inks industry, manufactures products for the packaging, commercial printing and newsprint markets. In 2016, the Group with its global workforce exceeding 3500, generated sales of approximately $885 million.

“As a key raw material supplier, we already had a great relationship with the talented Alden & Ott team… our combined capabilities in conventional, water-based, low-migration and energy-cured inks will create an enviable offering to the growing packaging market,” said Derek McFarland, President of hubergroup,USA.

Alden & Ott Printing Inks Company was founded by Joe Alden and Henry Ott in 1957. The company expanded its products from heat-set to sheetfed, UV inks, and flexo inks. Today, Alden & Ott develops custom solutions for both the offset and flexo printing markets in the Midwest and Northeast United States.

“The cultural alignment of the family-owned businesses was a key factor and we are happy that the combined team will continue to serve and grow our existing business,” said Tom Alden, President of Alden & Ott.
The Toronto Club of Printing House Craftsmen last week at the Duncan House recognized local printers for their award-winning work in the Toronto IAPHC Gallery of Superb Printing competition. The Craftsmen Club also presented secondary and post-secondary students with scholarships, including the Chai Tse Award, for their achievements in industry-related programs and the annual Toronto Craftsmen Graphic Challenge Competition. This was the 42nd year of the Craftsmen awards program.

The two primary sponsored awards for exceptional reproduction, based on the IAPHC judging process, where presented to Colour Innovations for the Heidelberg Canada’s Best of Finishing Award (COC Centre Stage Gala Invitation) and C.J. Graphics for the Taniguchi Ink Best of Press Award (Uncharted 4 Limited Edition Posters)

The Gallery of Superb Printing Awards went to C.J. Graphics (15 gold, 12 silver, 4 bronze and 1 honourable mention); Avant Imaging & Integrated Media (5 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze and 1 honourable mention); Colour Innovations (3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze); Polytainers  (1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze); and Wellington Printworks  (1 gold and 2 silver).

Toronto Craftsmen Student Chai Tse Awards
Christopher Jessop, Centennial College The Centre for Creative Communication
Patricia Marie Gonzales, Central Technical Secondary School
Marissa Ponn, George Brown College School of Design
Samantha Martin, Georgian College Design and Visual Arts
Jodi Ho, Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School
Jordan Jackson, Humber College Advertising & Graphic Design
Julia Tincombe, Ryerson University School of Graphic Management
Alicia Jordan, Seneca College School of Creative Arts and Animation

Graphic Challenge Awards, Post Secondary
Julia Laude, Seneca College School of Creative Arts and Animation
Daphne Chan,    Ryerson University School of Graphic Management

Graphic Challenge Awards, Secondary    
Jose Bautista, Central Technical Secondary School
Hetta Patel, Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School
Printers and suppliers attended the biannual printing trade show Graphics Canada from April 6 to 8 at the Toronto International Centre. The three-day event included a range of educational sessions, including Innovations Theatre run by Print Media Centr, IDEAlliance’s G7 Summit, Label Forum, intelliPACK workshops, specialty graphics opportunity zone, and the Printing Sales Training Day. The following photo gallery provides some of the highlights from this year’s show.
Landa Group today announces its final 2017 beta customer line-up around its S10 Nanographic Printing Press. The first shipment of this press is scheduled to take place in July 2017 to Graphica Bezalel, an Israel-based folding carton, packaging and label convertor.

In November 2017, Landa plans to ship North America’s first Landa S10 press to U.S.-based Imagine!, which focuses on point-of-purchase printing and services with more than 1,600 employees in various U.S.-based facilities.

In December 2017, Germany’s Edelmann, which produces board and paper packaging, is scheduled to become the first European beta customer for the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press.

Built as an offset operation, Graphica Bezalel is installying the Landa S10 as its first digital printing technology. “Nanography is the first technology to tempt us into the world of digital print,” said Eyal Harpak, Director of Graphica Bezalel.” Until we saw what the Landa S10 could produce, we couldn’t believe that any digital press could match offset print quality at the high-speeds required to open-up the medium-run folding carton market

Harpak continued to explain that Graphica Bezalel provides work for major brands like Calvin Klein, Carlsberg, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and SodaStream, pointing to what he describes as the S10’s advantages in colour gamut and production flexibility, such as versioning for customized packaging and special promotions. Landa and Graphica Bezalel will hold a worldwide customer event during the week of September 12, 2017, to demonstrate the Landa S10 in a customer production environment.

As announced at Drupa 2016, Imagine!, which produces point-of-sale displays and instore signage, is scheduled to become the first beta site for the Landa S10 in North America. “We bought this press because of Benny Landa’s track record in developing innovative, industry-changing technology,” says Bob Lothenbach, Founder at Imagine!. “We don’t usually chase technology trends, however we believe in Nanography and want to be instrumental in the digital-for-mainstream revolution.”

Specializing in packaging solutions for health care, beauty care and consumer brands, Edelmann has production plants in nine countries with sales exceeding 300 million euros. The company produces more than 5.5 billion packages and leaflets per year. “Our business is all about customer service. Staying in tune with the market and delivering what it needs, but also anticipating, innovating and then proactively offering what it didn’t know it needed,” said Dierk Schröder, Chairman, Edelmann. “We’re excited to be working with Landa; this is a value-based partnership that will drive long-lasting end customer relationships.”

Headed by Indigo founder, Benny Landa, the Landa Group is comprised of four units: Landa Digital Printing, which oversees Nanographic Printing presses; Landa Labs, which explores nanotechnology for use in alternative energy, industrial coatings, cosmetics, packaging, drug delivery and other fields; Landa Ventures, which invests in early stage companies; and the Landa Fund, which helps underprivileged youth pursue higher education.

“I am thrilled that after many years of development, we are now reaching the milestone of delivering our first Landa Nanographic Printing Presses to customers. We are very proud that these industry leaders, and others who share their vision, have chosen to become our beta partners in this program,” said Benny Landa. “As promised, Landa press stability, print quality and speed are now consistently high. It’s exciting to think that in only a matter of months we will see Nanographic print in the market, representing a paradigm shift in print economics and empowering brands like never before.”
Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), the German printing press manufacturers, has started construction on a new digital and flexographic press demo centre in Würzburg, Germany.

On March 14, Chairman Claus-Bolza-Schünemann, CEO of KBA and Christoph Müller of KBA-Flexotecnica, who will rent the demo space from its parent company, laid the foundation stone of the new building.

The demo centre has a usable area of around 2.100 square metres, modernised premises of 21,164 square metres and was an investment of 6 million euros (about C$8.66 million). It will feature a RotaJET digital printing press for commercial, publication and decor printing, a flexo rotary press for flexible packaging and a sheetfed flexo press for direct printing on corrugated cardboard.

The location of the demo centre was chosen for its easy access to Frankfurt International Airport for international customers. It is the latest in a series of new buildings in Würzburg, following a logistics centre and design building in 2001, two production halls in 2003 and 2008 and a new foundry in 2012.

The demo centre is due to be ready for occupancy in autumn 2017.

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