Mergers & Acquisitions
Flint Group moved to acquire toner press maker Xeikon N.V. with an agreement to purchase XBC B.V., a company that holds more than 95 percent of the shares in Xeikon. The acquisition remains subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close before the end of 2015.

Headquartered in Eede, Netherlands, with Belgian operations in Lier, Ieper and Heultje, Xeikon also develops consumables for its presses used in packaging, label and commercial printing operations.

Flint explains Xeikon’s products and services will become the foundation of a newly created division to be called Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions. “This acquisition represents an excellent opportunity for Flint Group, propelling the organization further into the digital solutions market, where we will continue to deliver on our long term strategy of driving growth through product innovation, focus on developing markets and portfolio expansion,” said Antoine Fady, CEO Flint Group.

Wim Maes, CEO of Xeikon, will become President of Flint Group’s Digital Printing Solutions division, reporting to Antoine Fady. “Xeikon has shown that dedication to the digital label, folding carton, commercial and document printing market segments has paid off in terms of market share, customer satisfaction and financial contribution,” said Maes. “This next chapter in our more than 20-year existence opens many opportunities for Xeikon as a company, as well as for our customers, employees, partners and stakeholders.”

Mike Heggie has acquired Grovetree Press, a high-volume trade lamination company that has been serving the Greater Toronto Area printing industry since 1998. Grovetree runs eight lamination systems, two coaters, and a range of auxiliary machines such as eyeleters, cutters, and drills.

Heggie explains his first order of business is to shore up current services at Grovetree and to make some internal changes to become more efficient and service oriented. Earlier this month, Grovetree Press hired Selma Singh as Operations Manager. Formerly with Coatings Canada, Singh brings 16 years of experience in print finishing to Grovetree Press. She will be responsible for all operations, including customer service, with the company.

Heggie continues to explain growth for the North York-based company is to come through innovative finishing products that are completely new to the industry. He plans to focus Grovetree in two directions, including specialty products for offset printing and packaging, and specialty coatings for digital printing.  

Safety Seal Plastic has agreed to buy the shrink sleeve business of Jones Packaging Inc. of London, Ontario, according to Plasticnews.com. The Guelph Mercury newspaper also reports that, as a result of the purchase, Safety Seal plans to move the shrink sleeve operation to Guelph after purchasing a 50,000-square-foot building in the Ontario city.

Plasticnews.com reports the current Safety Seal operation in Hamilton, Ont., is on four levels and accounts for just 18,000 square feet in area. Safety Seal operates eight printing presses, explains Plasticnews.com, as well as seaming machines, cutting machines and slitters to make shrink sleeves for customers in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, consumer goods and other industries.

Safety Seal Plastics was formed in 1989 to provide PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tamper-evident bands to the pharmaceutical and food industries. The company grew to become one of North America’s largest shrink sleeve manufacturers. Safety Seal states its major breakthrough came five years ago when it began printing multicoloyred shrink sleeves on a new eight-colour Chromas LXflexo.

Safety Seal’s client base include major brands like Ocean Spray, Associated Brands, E.D. Smith & Sons, Patheon, McCormick Canada, Bausch & Lomb, Cadbury Schweppes, Ciba Vision, Renee’s Gourmet Foods, Lounsbury Foods, Novopharm, Pfizer Canada, Stoney Creek Dairy, Trophy Foods, Unico and Wrigley.
C.J. Graphics became the first company in North America to purchase a Scodix Ultra Pro with Scodix Foil. News of the purchase comes a week after the Toronto printing company announced its Canada-first installation of a new Highcon Euclid II+ system.

On September 10, the C.J. Group of Companies, which controls C.J. Graphics, also announced its acquisition of Toronto-based SBC Media, one of Canada’s leading sports lifestyle media companies.

Launched this week at Graph Expo, Scodix Foil is an inline digital foiling system supporting the Scodix Ultra Pro enhancement press. Scodix Foil is designed for producing cost-effective foil with run lengths from one up to 10,000. Most printing projects, such as packaging, brochures, business cards, invitations and book covers, can be enhanced via the Scodix Ultra Pro system.

The C.J. Group of Companies’ acquisition of SBC Media includes six magazines, two annual guides and all related websites, social media platforms and assets, which will operate under the C.J. Oyster Publishing division of the C.J. Group. Former printing industry journalist Filomena Tamburri joined C.J. Oyster Publishing several weeks ago as Group Publisher.

The SBC titles and brands moving to the C.J. Group umbrella include: Snowboard Canada, SBC Skateboard, SBC Skier, SBC Wakeboard, SBC Business, SBC Ski & Snowboard Resort Guide (annual), Snowboard Canada Women’s (annual), and SBC Surf.

“SBC is woven into the fabric of skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, wakeboarding and action sports across Canada. Our vision and leadership will ensure athletes, content producers and brands continue to have a prestigious national, multi-media platform to showcase their sports, lifestyles and products,” said Jay Mandarino, CEO and President of the C.J. Group of Companies. “We are very excited by the positive support we’ve received from the action sports industry and community about our acquisition.”

TC Transcontinental Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ultra Flex Packaging Corp., a supplier of flexible packaging, located in Brooklyn, New York. The acquisition is for US$80 million to be paid in cash at closing, plus an additional undisclosed payment if certain financial targets are hit.

Ultra Flex Packaging employs close to 300 people and generated US$72 million in annual revenues and US$12 million in operating income before amortization in its last fiscal year. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in the United States and is expected to close before the end of our fiscal year.

“This acquisition builds on our Capri Packaging acquisition last year and is part of our strategy to ensure our future growth path through diversification,” said François Olivier, President and CEO of TC Transcontinental. “This latest acquisition expands our footprint in the U.S., gives us access to a national sales force, to new vertical markets and manufacturing capabilities.”

Olivier explains, when the acquisition is completed, TC Transcontinental expects to report annualized revenues of over US$150 million in its packaging division.

The three co-owners of Ultra Flex Packaging have agreed to stay for the acquisition transition. “We are very pleased to join TC Transcontinental,” said Eli Blatt, founder and CEO of Ultra Flex Packaging. “While we bring to the table industry knowledge, a highly skilled workforce and a national sales team, TC Transcontinental brings strong leadership, financial means and decades of manufacturing experience.”

ND Graphics Inc., a technology distributor primarily focused on large-format imaging, has purchased Western Rim Industries, which has offices in Kelowna, British Columbia, and Mississauga, Ontario.

“We’ve been talking about this for a few years now,” said Garwood Leigh, owner of Western Rim Industries (WRI). “I knew that when the time came for me to retire and move on to pursue my other interests that I wanted ND Graphics to take over. They are a Canadian company, they share the same values as WRI and I know they will continue the legacy of Western Rim.”

ND Graphics is headquartered in Greater Toronto with more than 100 employees and a network of stocking locations in Dartmouth, Montreal, Ottawa, London, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, as well as Toronto.

“This was really a very easy decision for us,” said Mark West, President of ND Graphics. “WRI are so similar to ND in terms of their products, but more importantly their culture. Their people are the key. They are passionate about what they do, they are totally committed to their customers and they’ve all been at WRI for many years.”
 
WRI will operate as a standalone business with Frank Braeuer as General Manager of the company. “This acquisition isn’t about synergies,” said West. “This is about bringing two great Canadian companies together [and] maintaining those value added elements that both organizations possess.”
Shanghai Electric Corporation (SEC) of China entered into an agreement to sell Goss International, a global web-offset printing press supplier, and its subsidiaries to New York’s American Industrial Partners (AIP), which is a middle-market private equity firm that has been investing in North American industrial businesses since 1989. The AIP transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and meeting certain closing conditions over the next few weeks.

In November 2012, AIP, through its MAI Holdings affiliate, purchased Presstek Inc., which develops DI presses and CTP systems, as well as environmentally progressive plate technology. In August 2014, AIP sold its majority interest in Mark Andy, which develops flexographic press technology, to a new investment group formed by P.J. Desai, who is Mark Andy's former CEO. AIP also previously owned pressroom consumables manufacturer Day International.

SEC noted AIP’s past and current holdings in printing machinery manufacturers as a positive move forward in the ownership of Goss. “As a leading supplier of commercial web, newspaper and packaging offset printing presses, Goss is wholly committed to its valued, worldwide customer base and to the sale and support of its broad range of the industry's most innovative products,” said Rick Nichols, CEO, Goss International.

AIP currently holds more than $1 billion of equity capital under management and has completed more than 30 transactions since its founding in 1989.

Cansel, which distributes a range of software and hardware technologies for commercial and packaging printing, in addition to other graphics arenas, today announced its acquisition of Ernest Green & Son Ltd., which has been a staple of Canada’s printing industry for more than 60 years.

“This acquisition marks our commitment of expanding in the print and graphics space,” said Stephen Fletcher, VP of Cansel. “Ernest Green & Son has been a leading supplier to the commercial print marketplace in Canada and brings a depth of expertise, products and clients that we don't currently have in our organization; we are extremely excited to have them on board with Cansel.”

Ernest Green & Son began as a small family-owned business in Montreal, opened by Ernest Green and his son, Ric, to distribute pressroom technologies to printers. After Ernest's retirement in 1962, Ric, who had earlier departed to Ontario in 1951 to open up a Toronto branch, Ernest Green & Son moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1963.

In 1964, Dennis Lynch joined the company and in 1990 assumed the position of President and COO. In 1974, Ernest's grandson Doug joined the company and in 1990 become Executive Vice-President, before taking on leadership of the company as President & COO.

Today, Ernest Green & Son’s distribution and service portfolio, with branches stretching from Quebec to British Columbia, primarily focuses on flexographic packaging, commercial offset, toner and wide-format inkjet printing.

“We are very pleased to join the Cansel team,” said Doug Green, President, Ernest Green & Son. “We see this as a great opportunity to broaden our footprint, and enhance the product offering and level of service that we are able to offer our loyal customer base.”

Mi5 Print & Digital Communications of Markham, Ont., over the past month has purchased certain assets and intellectual capital of two well-known printing companies in the Greater Toronto Area.

On July 6, Mi5 finalized its acquisition of Magnum Fine Commercial Printing Ltd., which was controlled by John Popovski, CEO of Media-Vision in Toronto. Popovski had purchased Magnum Fine one year earlier (July 2014) for $1.5 million from Intertainment Media Inc.

Mi5, on July 6, also acquired intellectual capital of Media-Vision, which primarily amounts to its name and associated brand vehicles, and then hired approximately 17 Media-Vision employees – a combination of salespeople, CSRs and pressroom operators, who have already been integrated into Mi5. Another 12 Magnum Fine employees have joined Mi5.

On July 21, the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice approved Mi5’s auction bid for specific assets of J. F. Moore Lithographers Inc. of Scarborough. J.F. Moore first filed a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) in April 2015 and was subsequently granted a couple of extensions to work through a restructuring process. Following a June 23 court extension, however, J.F. Moore, controlled by Dean Baxendale, and its trustee moved to an auction process, through the BIA, allowing third parties to bid on the company as a whole or for specific assets.

Through this process, Mi5 is acquiring JF Moore’s book of business and intellectual capital, the latter of which includes its name and related brand properties. J.F. Moore itself is being liquidated on July 31 by Asset Services Inc. (ASI), which is scheduled to hold a J.F. Moore equipment auction between late August and early September. Approximately 12 J.F. Moore employees, including Dean Baxendale, are joining Mi5 in Markham on August 1.

“Dean reached far more into his own pocket than any other owner I have ever seen and it was done out of trying his best to do the right thing,” says Derek McGeachie, Chief Vision Officer of Mi5. “He protected a lot of his suppliers more than anybody else I have ever seen in his situation and I have a lot of respect for him for doing that.

“And [Dean] is continuing on, which is the other good thing. He is joining us and his goal is to fix what wasn’t right and make it much better going forward. That is admirable as well. He is not running away,” says McGeachie.

McGeachie, who founded Mi5, stepped back as CEO earlier this year in favour of Sheryl Sauder, who now leads the Markham company, one of North America’s fastest growing printing operations, which now generates around $40 million in annual revenues. McGeachie estimates the J.F. Moore and Media-Vision assets will initially bring approximately $10 million in additional sales.

“J.F. Moore is a good company. They have been around for 30 years, basically,” says McGeachie. “They have great customer relationships that we are looking forward to building on… the second good opportunity is they have some excellent, capable people that we are thrilled to have on board and the third opportunity is that they have some strengths in direct mail and digital small-format that we are happy to bring on board as well.”

The acquisition of Magnum Fine Commercial Printing, and hiring of Media-Vision staff, also brings in some new capabilities to Mi5. “They have some expertise that we do not have in their personnel, so that is exciting,” says McGeachie. “And we have a lot of expertise they don’t have, so I think there was a good opportunity to mix the two companies together and we are stronger together than we are apart.”

The Magnum Fine purchase provides two foiling machines and a cylinder die press, but only one of Magnum’s three Heidelberg Quickmaster DI presses is being set up at Mi5. The asset purchases are primarily about obtaining book of business and acquiring the well-known names of Media-Vision and J.F. Moore, which McGeachie also acknowledges to hold some risk based on the fact that many suppliers are hurt when companies wind down through either the BIA or Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

“Our society over the last couple hundred of years has formulated these bankruptcy rules so that they minimize the damages essentially among all parties,” says McGeachie. “If they didn’t have this system what would the alternative be? These companies would just dissipate and become nothing and there would be no highest-bidder auction going on and there would be less money going to the creditors.”

In the J.F. Moore liquidation process, a little more than $300,000 remains owed to unsecured creditors prior to the upcoming auction process. “Unfortunately, there is a ranking of people who are owed money and banks are sophisticated entities and they secure their loans,” says McGeachie. “Then the less sophisticated guys, which includes us, essentially give unsecured loans to these companies and that is a big question in our industry. I have seen all of the suppliers tighten up and I think that is ultimately a good thing... it is dangerous when you give too much free credit.”

Canadian Bank Note Company, based in Ottawa, Ont., has acquired commerical printer Unicom Graphics of Calgary. Unicom is to be integrated into CBN's McAra Printing division, also of Calgary. The merged operation is currently being referred to as McAra Unicom.

“By combining the complementary strengths of two leading Calgary-based commercial printers, we have created a single exceptional print solutions provider,” said Ronald Arends, President and CEO of Canadian Bank Note (CBN). “[We are] committed to providing McAra Unicom investment and technical support to successfully grow the business.”

Over the past six years, CBN has invested more than $10 million in printing technology alone for its McAra operation, including the December 2013 installation of a new Heidelberg XL106 10P+UV sheetfed press. Weighing around 112 tons and measuring 75 feet in length, this was the first press of its kind to be installed in Canada.

The 41-inch Heidelberg perfecting press is able to run both conventional and UV inks at up to 15,000 sheets per hour (straight or perfecting). Among a raft of modern features, the press includes automatic plate loading and Heidelberg’s Hycolor inking and dampening system, as well as two inline spectrophotometers to inspect every sheet produced on the press.

Based out of a 45,000-square-foot facility, McAra in 2011 installed what was Calgary’s largest solar array when 48 solar modules on its rooftop. These 48 photovoltaic modules hold an electrical generating capability of 11,280 watts.

“CBN is a strong parent company," said Dean McElhinney, General Manager, Unicom Graphics. "McAra Unicom is now well positioned to be the leading print solutions provider in Calgary."

The Unicom purchase provides CBN with further lithographic assets, including UV technology, as well as digital print and wide format services, finishing (binding, foiling and embossing), direct mail and fulfillment.

"Merging our two operations with strong business ethics, complementary capabilities and deep technical knowledge will significantly strengthen and extend our capabilities,” said Rodger Grant, General Manager, McAra Printing.

Established in 1897, Canadian Bank Note now has 10 locations worldwide with over 1,400 employees. The company provides integrated hardware, software, print, and systems services to organizations and governments in Canada and throughout the world. CBN focuses its security applications into four primary markets; Payment, Identification, Lottery and Shareholder Services including commercial print.

Tapp Label of Napa, California, has purchased Metro Label, headquartered in Toronto with locations also in Napa and Vancouver.

This is the fourth acquisition in less than a year for Tapp Label, led by David Bowyer, CEO and Owner, and provides the U.S. firm with an East Coast location.

Founded in 1974, Metro Label specializes in high-end decoration label, shrink/sleeve and flexible packaging markets for clients in markets like wine, spirits, pharmaceutical, health and beauty. Metro Label has clients throughout the United States, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.

Tapp states Metro Label will continue to be known as Metro Label for Toronto-based customers and Tapp Label for West Coast customers.

Founded in 1992, Tapp Label now operates from seven facilities on the East and West Coast and employs over 300 staff.

EFI announced the purchase of two companies on July 1 extending its inkjet printing interests, including Matan Digital Printers, which focuses on grand-format printing, and Reggiani Macchine, which focuses on textiles.

EFI explains the Matan purchase fills a key spot in its product portfolio for a lower-acquisition cost line of roll-to-roll printers aimed on signage, banners, billboards and fleet graphics. Based in Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel, Matan has developed super-wide inkjet systems, primarily with in-line cutting and slitting, for more than a decade.

Matan’s work force of approximately 70 employees has joined EFI, which the company describes as providing it with a significant presence in Israel. Yosefi becomes VP and GM of EFI Inkjet Israel.

EFI’s all-cash acquisition of Matan pays the shareholders approximately $29 million to acquire all outstanding shares. Under the purchase agreement, EFI also assumed approximately $5 million of Matan’s debt, and deposited $14 million into escrow, portions of which may be released to the sellers in 2017 and 2022.

Four days later, EFI entered the textile printing market with its acquisition of Reggiani Macchine of Bergamo, Italy, which has been active for more than 60 years. Reggiani is a provider of inkjet printers utilizing water-based inks for printing on fabric.

Reggiani’s technologies, which will be rebranded as EFI Reggiani, address a range of textile printing, with systems suitable for water-based dispersed, acid, pigment and reactive dye printing inks.

“This acquisition gives EFI an immediate leadership position in one of the world’s largest industries undergoing the transformation from analogue printing to digital,” said EFI CEO Guy Gecht. “The textile printing market is just beginning that transition.”

Reggiani has customers in more than 120 countries served by a wide distribution network and agents in over 40 countries. Its workforce of approximately 190 employees joins EFI.

To acquire all of Reggiani’s outstanding shares, EFI will repay Reggiani debt of about €20.1 million (US$22.6 million), pay the former Reggiani shareholders up to about €27.4 million (US$30.8 million) of cash, and issue the former Reggiani shareholders up to about €27.4 million (US$30.8 million) of EFI stock, and will pay up to €50 million (US$56.2 million) in the future as long as the next 30 months based on the achievement of revenue and profitability targets.

 

Taylor Corp. of Minnesota, one of the largest private graphics communications companies in North America, announced it will acquire the assets of Dayton, Ohio-based Standard Register Co., pending court approval. The news was quickly followed by a report on Daytondailynews.com that Joseph Morgan Jr. had resigned from his position as President and CEO of Standard Register to accept a leadership role with another company.

The acquisition is the result of Taylor’s successful bid for the company through a bankruptcy auction held last week. Final approval of the sale is subject to resolution of outstanding objections before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware. Pending that approval, the parties expect to complete the transaction within 45 to 60 days.

With this acquisition, Taylor expects to add over 3,000 employees from Standard Register locations around the United States and Mexico. “While Standard Register has encountered financial challenges, I have no doubt its best days are ahead,” said Deb Taylor, CEO of Taylor Corp. “The acquisition by Taylor Corp. is the best possible outcome for all involved – and most of all Standard Register’s customers. Taylor Corp. provides the strong and reliable financial foundation that will allow the company to turn the page and focus on the future.”

Standard Register Co. on March 12 announced that it and its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States.

The company also announced that it is pursuing a sale process and has entered into an acquisition agreement with an affiliate of Silver Point Capital L.P., a private investment firm managing approximately US$8.5 billion in combined assets. Under the proposed purchase agreement, Standard Register’s assets will be sold for approximately US$275 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities.
Grimco, a distributor of printing systems and medias for the signage industry, continues its investment in the Canadian market with purchase of the Access Imaging, a division of Access Group, which took place in April 2015.

Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Grimco made a significant move into the marketplace one year ago, in July 2014, purchasing the Canadian operations of Proveer Sign and Graphics, which had five locations across the country – Toronto, ON, Montreal, QC, Dartmouth, NS, Calgary, AB, and Vancouver, BC. Grimco previously bought the United States interests of Proveer in May 2012, bringing its scope south of the border to more than 40 locations.

A spokesperson from Grimco indicated the company plans to maintain its existing five locations in Canada, while the Access Imaging purchase expands its wide format sales and technical expertise in multiple markets.

“The Canadian sign industry is growing and expanding in exciting ways,” explained the spokesperson. “The knowledge and creativity of the customers is what really attracted us to the market. We are excited about the ability to offer our customers the benefits of our North American purchasing power while maintaining a local presence in each market.”

Brother Industries formally completed the acquisition of Domino Printing Sciences plc, having met all the conditions of the offer first announced on March 11, 2015.

Domino is a global developer and manufacturer of inkjet-based coding, marking and printing equipment, as well as the supply of aftermarket products and customer services. Brother Industries noted its desire to delve deeper into the inkjet printing sector as a key reason for the purchase.

Brother Industries indicates the Domino brand and management structure is to remain unaltered, with Domino Printing Sciences operating as an autonomous division within Brother.

“Brother respects and values Domino’s brand equity, technologies and strategic vision for the business and the markets it serves,” said Nigel Bond, CEO of Domino Printing Sciences. “As such, the companies will be working closely together on natural growth opportunities, as well as explore collaborative possibilities to develop new products.”

Founded in 1978, Domino now employs 2,600 people worldwide and sells to more than 120 countries through a global network of 25 subsidiary offices and more than 200 distributors. Domino’s manufacturing facilities are situated in China, Germany, India, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K. and U.S.

Brother Industries, based out of Japan, has more than 34,988 employees and generated just over $5 billion in revenues last year.

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