Mergers & Acquisitions

KBA continues its push into the packaging sector with a move to take an 85 percent controlling interest in Kammann Maschinenbau GmbH, a German manufacturer of presses and systems for container, label and technical printing.

Private-equity firm Perusa of Munich, Germany, was the previous majority shareholder of the company. In addition to KBA’s 85 percent controlling interest, Kammann’s two managing directors will continue to hold a 15 percent stake in the company. The acquisition is still subject to formal conditions.

The investment in Kammann follows KBA’s March 2013 decision to take majority control of Flexotecnica in Tavazzano, Italy, which is still under review by regulatory authorities. Flexotecnica moves KBA into the flexible packaging sector, with an emphasis on films. Around 100 Flexotecnica employees build central-cylinder flexo presses.

Kammann Maschinenbau was founded in 1955 and has a total of 175 employees. In 2012, the company generated annual sales of over €30 million ($39 million). Kammann primarily produces presses and screen-printing systems for decorating hollow containers made from premium-quality glass, plastic and metal.

Along with screen printing, Kammann’s transport systems can also be equipped with hot-stamping, inkjet printing and decorating processes. Kammann, according to KBA, is the global market leader in developing systems for directly decorating glass containers.

Domtar Corporation of Montreal today announced an agreement to sell its Ariva business in the United States to privately held Central National-Gottesman (CNG) Inc. Ariva's Canadian operations are not affected by the transaction. The Canadian operations are to be consolidated into Domtar's pulp and paper division.

Shortly after its signing the transaction with Domtar, CNG then entered into another agreement to sell the U.S. Midwest portion of the Ariva business to The Millcraft Paper Company, a family-run paper merchant based in Cleveland, Ohio. CNG plans to integrate the remaining United States-based Ariva business into its Lindenmeyr Munroe division.

“Our employees’ efforts to adjust to a rapidly changing printing industry are commendable and I am appreciative of their dedication over the years," stated John Williams, President and CEO of Domtar. “Today's decision to rationalize and sell the business represents the best alternative for our shareholders and the agreement with Lindenmeyr, a well-established and long-time valued business partner of Domtar, will assure business continuity for customers.”

Ariva has approximately 400 employees in the United States, some of whom will lose their jobs, without exact numbers being disclosed. Headquartered in Covington, Kentucky, Ariva operates from 15 locations in the United States across eight states in the Northeast and Midwest regions.

In mid-2012, PaperlinX, as part of a worldwide restructuring program, sold its United States operations, listed as Spicers Paper Inc. and Kelly Paper Company, to Central National-Gottesman for US$76 million. At the time, CNG already ran 22 Lindenmeyr Munroe paper distribution facilities and stores. 

The purchase of Ariva in the United States marks CNG’s sixth acquisition of a paper merchant in the past four years, including five in the U.S. and one overseas. CNG’s sales of pulp and paper exceed $4 billion annually.

Bencis Capital Partners of Belgium has moved to purchase 65.68 percent share interest of Xeikon, owned by Punch Graphix also of Belgium. Punch Graphix has recommended its approval of the deal to shareholders. 

The purchase price offered for the 18,856,298 shares held by Punch is approximately EUR110 million or $150 million in Canadian dollars.

According to the agreement, Bencis will pay a price of EUR 5.85 for each Xeikon share, which equates to a premium of 69 percent versus Xeikon’s closing price on 7 January 2013, or a 32 percent premium in relation to the average closing price of the Xeikon shares over the last six months.

The transaction, expected to complete by mid-September, will still need to meet approval of regulatory authorities in the country. If the transfer of shares is completed, Gimv, another European investment company, is to acquire a 20 percent interest stake in Xeikon.

Xeikon was founded in 1988 and broadened its presence in the printing industry in 2004 with the launch of the Xeikon 5000 and Xeikon 330 toner presses. The architecture of this product line remains core to the company with its subsequent introduction of more advanced models, toners and front-end software.

Ricoh Company Ltd. today announced it made a multimillion-dollar investment in Avanti Computer Systems Ltd., a developer of Print Management Information Systems (MIS) based in Toronto.

This marks Ricoh's second significant investment in a printing-software company in the past 10 months after the company announced its investment in PTI Marketing Technologies in August 2012. PTI Marketing develops Web-to-print and marketing personalization applications, such as such as MarcomCentral and FusionPro, for both enterprise users and print-service providers.

“Avanti’s Print MIS capability is a perfect complement to our portfolio. In the same way we automate print workflow, Avanti automates the printer’s back office systems: inventory management, job pricing, estimating, and billing,” stated Yasuhiko Hosoe, Associate Director and Deputy General Manager, Ricoh Production Printing Business Group. “This strategic move, like our investment in PTI, further demonstrates our commitment to help companies imagine the changes that they can make to automate and improve their businesses, and most importantly, their customers’ experiences.”

Avanti currently has hundreds of MIS installations in commercial printing and in-plant operations, primarily in North America. The investment by Ricoh, which itself has been focusing on the development of new management tools for printers, will allow Avanti’s MIS applications, including job costing, tracking and billing, scheduling, CRM, inventory management, warehouse and direct mail management, to reach a broader global market. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2013, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 1,924 billion yen (approximately $20 billion).

“At Avanti, our priority has always been to invest in our people and our technology, which in turn, provides our customers with innovative, effective and award-winning software solutions,” stated Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti. “This strategic investment by Ricoh means that we can accelerate product development and expand into new markets, and most importantly, ensure that both current and future customers have options when choosing a Print MIS system.”

Since its founding in 1984, Avanti has been specifically focused on the development of print management software for the printing industry. At Graph Expo in September 2012, Avanti showcased version 12.4 of its Graphic Arts Management System, including its new Advanced Fulfillment module which was named as a Must See ‘Em product. The Advanced Fulfillment module includes a contract management system, where print providers can manage and track their customers’ finished goods, as well as manage the billing of those goods.

Annex Business Media of Simcoe and Aurora, Ontario, has acquired PrintAction magazine, its associated media properties, and the Canadian Printing Awards, from Youngblood Publishing Ltd. of Markham.

“We at PrintAction are very excited to become part of the dynamic Annex team,” says Sara Young, Publisher of PrintAction and President of Youngblood Publishing. Young has joined Annex and is to continue in her role as the publisher of PrintAction. The magazine's full-time staff is also joining the Annex organization.

“I personally look forward to continuing to build the PrintAction brand," says Young, "And creating new opportunities for members of Canada’s printing industry to communicate with one another.”

Annex Business Media is Canada's largest privately owned business-to-business media company, with 37 B2B publications and 54 digital brands reaching business communities through print, news Websites, electronic newsletters, events, digital video and social media.

“This is an excellent acquisition for Annex,” says Mike Fredericks, President of Annex. “The PrintAction properties fit very well with our print and digital business model and the annual awards event provides a platform for expansion into other sectors that we serve. Sara’s knowledge of the industry will be of benefit not only in our publishing group, but also our publication printing division.”

PrintAction magazine was founded in 1961 by Sara Young’s father, John Young. The publishing entity, among other initiatives, has produced an annual Buyers’ Guide for the graphic communications industry since 1994. In 2006, PrintAction began the annual Canadian Printing Awards program to recognize the best in Canadian printing, while presenting notable speakers such as David Suzuki, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Lewis.

Drytac, an international manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, has acquired Toronto-based adhesive coating company Multi-Tac Inc. Multi-Tac has been serving the industry, both domestic and abroad, for nearly 25 years through the manufacture of pressure-sensitive products and custom coatings.

“The combined operation will result in improved efficiencies, greater flexibility and shorter development time from customer concept to finished product,” stated Marc Oosterhuis, President of the Drytac Group. “With an increased coating, slitting and sheeting capacity, we can not only expand our standard product range but grow our specialty custom coating services in North America.”

According to Drytac, the acquisition allows the company to offer aqueous, solvent and hot-melt coatings. It will also be able to offer adhesive and top coat up to 61 inches wide. Existing Multi-Tac customers in Europe and the Middle East will be handled through Drytac Europe, based in Bristol, UK.

In related news, the company also announced the sale of its UV liquid coating division to North Carolina-based Advanced Finishing Technologies, a member of the Digital2You network. Current manager of Drytac’s UV liquid coating line will join Advanced Finishing Technologies as a result.

[UPDATED June 28, 2013, 2:00PM EST] K-North Inc. has ended its distribution agreement with Komori America. Steve Ranson, who served as VP at the company, is forming a new entity called K-North Services Inc., which is to begin operations in Georgetown, Ontario on August 1, 2013.

K-North Inc. of Mississauga, owned by President Liana Howard, became Komori America’s sheetfed press distributor for Ontario and Western Canada in 2003 and proceeded to reestablish the Komori press brand across the country. Ranson was heavily involved in this effort through his previous role as Vice President of K-North Inc. He now takes on the title of President of K-North Services Inc.

"We look forward to continuing the great success of Komori in Canada," says Ranson.

Over the past decade, K-North Inc. placed new-generation Komori technologies like the Lithrone S40, SX29, and GL40 into dozens of Canadian pressrooms. The organization also ran one of Canada’s largest press service departments through its Komori-Kare program (established 2010) and REMOTE-ACCESS (established 2012).

“We at K-North Inc. felt it was the right time to cease selling new machinery,” reads a statement issued this morning by K-North Inc. “During the last few months, we together with Komori America discussed the right way to provide peace of mind to our customers, and we are both happy to report that effective August 1, 2013, a new business, K-North Services Inc. will continue the work and take over all Komori obligations. Furthermore, the right management and ownership has been put in place headed by Mr. Steve Ranson.”

When K-North Services begins operations on August 1, 2013, the new business will also distribute consumable products like the K-Press blanket cloths and Finito blankets, as well as KUDA guillotines and peripheral equipment.

Somerset Graphics has installed a new 6-colour, 29-inch Komori LSX 629 press with UV capabilities into its Mississauga facility.

The Komori LSX 629 press, sold through K-North, can do both inline UV printing and conventional printing with water-based coatings. The new 29-inch press also includes fully automatic plate changers and wash-up systems, as well as closed-loop colour controls.

“We will have more to offer our customers at very competitive prices,” stated Jack Youngberg of Somerset Graphics, in a press release. Youngberg also noted the benefits of adding another interdeck press system on the company’s pressroom floor.

Founded 33 years ago, Somerset Graphics is a privately owned commercial printing operation and well known in the Greater Toronto Area for its focus on high-quality production.

Printing technology giant EFI has acquired Belgium-based GamSys Software, a provider of Management Information Systems for French-speaking markets. Specific terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"We are very pleased to have GamSys join the EFI family and our continually expanding portfolio of industry-leading business automation technologies. We look forward to continuing the high-level of support for their over 400 customers in France, Belgium, Switzerland and throughout the rest of the world have come to expect as they join our large global client base," said Marc Olin, SVP/GM of EFI Productivity Software (EPS) business unit.

GamSys was founded by Patrick Vreven in 1992 has grown a customer base of over 400 customers. Vreven himself has been active in CIP4 since 2004. The company will become a part of EFI’s Productivity Software organization.

"GamSys is excited to join the world-class team of EFI employees and be a part of EFI's strategic focus and investment in Europe," said Vreven, who is now Director of EFI GamSys. "As our market continues to evolve, our customers will now have access to an extensive portfolio of industry-leading technology, with more options to grow their business, while continuing to receive the same high-level of support and attention they are accustomed to."

Southwest Binding Systems has purchased the B.C. division of International Binding & Laminating Systems. Mississauga-based Sprial of Canada will take on the International’s Ontario division.

“It’s going to be a great marriage, with two well-known brands in the B.C. market, International being around for 30-40 years, and Southwest being there for 25 years,” Louis Cordeiro, President of Southwest Bindings told PrintAction. “Merging the two of them in the B.C. market is going to give us a great advantage.”

Cordeiro said Southwest’s current operation in Burnaby will move into International Binding and Laminating’s Vancouver location, which is roughly twice the size, by the end of June. The company will operate under the name of Southwest/International Bindings.

“[For our customers] it will mean increased inventory and increase purchasing power,” Cordeiro adds. “They will have an increased selection of products they can pass along to their customers also. It will be a win-win situation for everyone.”

Southwest Bindings was founded in Toronto in 1978 by Hank Mercer. Cordeiro purchased the company in 1987 and has since expanded its reach across Canada, numbering eight locations from coast to coast.

The C.J. Group of Companies, which owns C.J. Graphics of Toronto, has purchased the publishing entity Design Edge Canada, including its printed magazine and associated Website and the Regional Design Awards.

"We are very excited about taking on this publication and its affiliated properties,” stated Jay Mandarino, Founder and CEO of C.J. Graphics “It’s important to us that this publication flourishes and continues its mandate to inform and inspire graphic designers, art directors and all other professionals associated with design in its many forms across Canada.”

Design Edge Canada was founded in 2006 by North Island Publishing Ltd., which produces Graphic Monthly magazine.

EFI adds to its portfolio of Management Information Systems (MIS) software with the acquisition of printLEADER, a privately held MIS developer based in Palm City, Florida. 

printLEADER technology is installed at over 800 printing operations. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but EFI states the purchase is not expected to be material to its second-quarter or full-year 2013 results.
“We are very pleased to have printLEADER join the EFI family and our expanding portfolio of business automation technologies,” stated Marc Olin, Senior VP and GM of EFI Productivity Software (EPS). “We also welcome printLEADER’s customers to our global client base.”

printLEADER’s MIS products are to be integrated into EFI’s PrintSmith Vision product line. EFI states that it will also continue to support the existing printLEADER client base, which consists of more than 800 commercial and in-plant printing operations across North America. In addition to PrintSmith Vision, EFI’s MIS portfolio includes EFI Pace, EFI Monarch and EFI Radius, which will not be altered after the purchase.

“Our customers need to remain extremely competitive in today’s 24/7 world,” stated John Fleming, Founder and President of printLEADER. “After 25 years, the timing is right to join EFI.”

Rhino Print Solutions Inc., headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, acquired Marcam Cross Media Ltd. of Toronto, Ontario. The purchase gives Rhino, led by President and CEO David Allan, its first location in the Eastern Canadian market to better serve its national clients.

“Now, with operations in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, we are uniquely positioned to provide high quality colour-managed print on demand solutions to Canadian businesses nation-wide,” stated David Allan. “We are fortunate to be inheriting such a high-caliber operation in Marcam.”

Founded in 1971, Marcam has evolved from its offset roots into a range of toner-based production, while focusing heavily on providing multi-channel print marketing and related analysis. This technological direction of Marcam fits with Rhino, which plans to build its new operation by emphasizing print on demand and multi-channel marketing .

“We are excited to be joining the award–winning Rhino team,” stated Matthew Marczak, President of Marcam. “We know for certain that our clients will admire Rhino’s relentless pursuit of quality and appreciate the new, broader national scope that is now achievable with an East to West print network.”

Rhino is one of Canada’s most-awarded printing operations, including its multiple-year achievements in the Canadian Printing Awards. Rhino received the Best of Show Award at the most recent Canadian Printing Awards event in 2012. The company has also received numerous awards in the Gallery of Superb Printing competition and the Premier Printing Awards, including multiple Benny Awards.

“This expansion and investment in our business reflects Rhino’s confidence in what we know to be a strong, healthy and continuous demand for higher quality, well-produced print marketing materials,” stated Allan.  “Today’s online, electronic marketplace requires print support that has a strong and appropriate stand-out effect.”

Eastman Kodak has announced it has settled with its largest creditor, the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP), in which the company will spin off its Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses to KPP for $650 million. The deal will also resolve $2.8 billion of claims by the KPP against Kodak.

“In one comprehensive transaction, Kodak will realize its previously announced intention to divest its Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses and settle its largest legacy liability,” said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The KPP transaction moves us past several key hurdles in our reorganization, resolving all potential claims worldwide, assuring continued operations outside of the United States, placing our Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses with a new owner that recognizes their value and is focused on their growth and success, and providing the remaining liquidity we require to emerge from Chapter 11. We are very pleased with the transaction, the value it creates for our stakeholders, and the dedication and creativity of KPP that made it possible to achieve this extraordinary result.”  

The company has also posted its financial result for the first quarter of 2013: a profit of $283 million. This number is compared to a $366 million loss in the same quarter last year. This positive result is mainly due to the sale of its digital imaging patent portfolio worth $535 million. 

The company’s Commercial Imaging segments saw improvement, reporting a loss of $8 million compared to a loss of $89 million a year prior. The company's overall sales, however, fell nine percent compared to the same quarter in 2012, totalling $849 million compared to $928 million.
“These results demonstrate that we are on track with our strategy to focus on Commercial Imaging, and that we are making operational improvements as Kodak takes the right steps to emerge as a profitable and sustainable company,” said Perez. “We have the right strategy and the right technology and products to extend our leadership in the industry.” 

In a letter to its customers today, Unisource revealed that it has been in talks with International Paper, the parent company of xpedx, to investigate the merging of its distribution businesses.

According to the letter, Unisource initiated the dialog and the two parties have subsequently signed a non-binding letter of intent about a potential transaction. The letter states that the deal would allow wider global reach in distribution and a stronger supply chain resulting in better service.

xpedx is a $6 billion business-to-business distributor with 85 distribution centres in the U.S. and Mexico. In 2007 the company expanded into Canada, leading with a 150,000 square foot facility in the Greater Toronto Area. In November 2011, the company pulled out of Canada completely, citing the decline of the print marketplace.

Unisource is a Georgia-based distributor with a workforce of roughly 4,000 people around the world. The company was formed in 1996 when it was split off from Alco Standard Corporation; it was then purchased by Georgia Pacific in 1999 and a majority stake was sold to Bain Capital. According to Forbes magazine in 2011, the company is the 82nd largest private company in the world.

The letter from Unisource stressed that if no agreement is reached between the two companies, Unisource will continue to operate as a private company.

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