May 29, 2006
Cheque printers get extension for changes
TORONTOAs of this month, the deadline for adopting the new cheque specifications has been extended to June 30, 2007. The new deadline, set by the Canadian Payments Association, allows businesses more time to make the necessary changes to their cheques and modify or update their software involved in cheque production. The new specifications were created to ensure that cheque images can be captured for clearing purposes, for delivery to clients, and to enhance processing efficiency. Key changes include adoption of a numeric date field, a mandatory serial number, an increase in the minimum length of a cheque, and disallowance of italics, a bottom border or black carbon on the reverse side.
Printera struggles in May
TORONTOPrintera, a custom label printer, has had a tough month. Last week the company was advised by its biggest customer, Labatt Brewing Company, that it has awarded all its label business to a U.S. supplier. Labatt represented about 50% of Printera’s revenue. Earlier this month, the company’s shares were suspended from the TSX for failure to meet listing requirements. It will be delisted at the close of market on June 9, 2006. A press release from the Toronto Stock Exchange says Printera fell below the requirements of financial condition and/or operating results, and public distribution, price or trading activity of the company’s securities has been so reduced as to not warrant continued listing.
May 25, 2006
Phone directories move from print to online
TORONTOMontrealers and Torontonians may have noticed that those thick bastions of print, residential phone books, are marked with 2006-2008, indicating that the annual print and distribution of the tome has been decreased to every other year. Annie Marsolais, corporate communications director of the Yellow Pages says the decision was made partly due to the growing popularity of the company’s online search site, canada411.ca, which is updated monthly, and the significant reduction of paper usage. The new two-year schedule will also be introduced in Quebec City and Ottawa. Marsolais says market research conducted before the switch revealed that 2/3 of users supported the idea when factoring in environmental concerns. She says a certain percentage of copies will be updated and reprinted after a year based partly on requests from a form inside the directory. The updated interim version will be available in print form or on a CD. Yellow Pages residential listings for the four cities in the new two-year print schedule are printed by Quebecor.
Graphic Monthly Canada up for more writing awards
Graphic Monthly Canada, PrintCAN’s sibling hard copy publication, has been short-listed for three prestigious Kenneth R. Wilson Awards for excellence in business writing. Printer of the Year (December 2005), a profile of Mary Black, by freelance writer and former Graphic Monthly Canada editor Nancy Clark was nominated for best profile of a person. What is a Quick Printer? (April 2005), by Clark, and Growing FSC (December 2005), by associate editor Kate Calder both received nominations in the category for best industrial/manufacturing article. The KRW awards will be handed out by the Canadian Business Press, the national association of business publications at a gala on June 5.
May 22, 2006
Transcontinental surveys American cataloguers
MONTREALTranscontinental’s annual Catalog Insights survey revealed that 68% of cataloguers participating in the poll cited flexible printing capabilities as one of the most important factor in selecting a printer. The 2006 survey examined attitudes of 158 cataloguers in the United States in March. Other top responses from participants regarding choosing a printer included highest printing quality and turnaround time. Sixty-one percent of respondents revealed that they turn to their printer for the latest press and prepress technologies. Another 20% look to their printer for the latest innovations in premedia solutions.
Print Three adapts e-procurement
TORONTOIn its latest string of corporate improvements, Print Three has announced that it has implemented ePower Online, a print e-procurement system for its chain of 60 quick printing shops. The franchisor was the first ePower Online subscriber and is now able to offer customers web-to-print document outsourcing solutions.
Mississauga counterfeit shop busted
MISSISSAUGA, ONA counterfeit money manufacturing plant in an industrial unit in Mississauga that produced more than $2.4 million in phony bills has been seized by police. Inside the plant, police found an old Heidelberg press that had been adapted to produce nearly perfect foil strips found on Canadian bills. Also seized were computers, inks, foil, and dies. Thirty people have been arrested in the counterfeit scam and more than $4.5 million has been linked to the money-making ring. Fifty people in total, ranging in age from 15 years to 40 years, have been identified as allegedly being directly involved in the trafficking of the counterfeit currency. The counterfeit operation was discovered during a police investigation into two bank robberies in Bramptom, Ont, last year, which also revealed a debit and credit card theft operation. One of the ways in which the fake money was laundered involved purchasing goods from a store and then returning them at a different location of the same chain in exchange for real money. Hundreds of stores throughout Southern Ontario were paid in counterfeit money.
Dose print version dies, goes online
OTTAWADose, the year-old free daily newspaper aimed at 18-24 year-olds, will stop being printed and exist only in online form as a youth channel of Canada.com and on cellphones. CanWest MediaWorks Income Fund made the decision to cut its losses on the publication, which was losing between $9 million and $10 million a year. Dose was distributed in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa, but failed to compete against several other free newspapers. CanWest had recently tried cutting the newspaper’s circulation down 80,000 copies to 200,000. Peter Viner, CEO of the income fund told The Globe and Mail, “We went out and talked to advertisers and it became pretty clear that those that want to spend against an 18 to 24 year-old group want to do it on the Web. They don’t want to do it in the paper.” A report from Comscore MediaMatrix says that monthly uniques to the dose.ca site are more than 160,000 and Ipsos-Reid found that readers are visiting the site frequently and spending a lot of time on the site.
C.J. Graphics expansion details
TORONTOC.J. Graphics partners Jay Mandarino and George Hurley recently released more details on their shop’s expansion that took place this earlier this spring. The location now boasts more than 40,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing, warehouse and office space as well as new equipment in the pressroom, bindery and prepress departments. Included is a custom-ordered 40”, 6-colour Heidelberg CD with extended delivery and in-line aqueous coating, an MBO folder, a new 40” Fuji CTP line and a 40” waterless plate line. As well as a new independent digital printing, e-commerce and on-line media operation, CJ Digital, the company has added warehouse space for a boutique pick and pack operation.
May 16, 2006
Transcontinental combines Toronto operations
TORONTOEquipment at Transcontinental O’Keefe will be gradually transferred to the Transcontinental Direct facility by the end of September, thereby combining the company’s commercial printing and direct-marketing facilities in the Toronto area. The majority of Transcontinental O’Keefe’s employees will be transferred to the Transcontinental Direct location, which will now have 225 employees. The company says severance and outplacement counselling will be provided to support 11 Transcontinental O’Keefe and 12 Transcontinental Direct employees who were given their notice today. President of Transcontinental’s marketing products and services sector, Guy Manuel, said in a released statement that the decision to combine the two plants was made strictly on the basis of a sound business case to keep Transcontinental competitive and protect the maximum number of jobs in the company as a whole. He added, “Our commercial printing operation in Ontario required further consolidation to realize similar economies of scale and efficiencies.”
Quebecor Inc. Q1 results show loss
MONTREALQuebecor Inc.’s revenues dropped to $2.37 billion, a decrease of $130.5 million from the same period of 2005. The company’s printing arm, Quebecor World, experienced a $205.4 million decrease in the first quarter revenues was mainly due to the impact of the conversion of its revenues into Canadian dollars, as well as to volume decreases in Europe and continuing pricing pressures in North America and Europe. Quebecor World’s loss was only partially offset by a $74 million increase in Quebecor Media’s revenues. Parent company Quebecor Inc. recorded a net losss of $60.7 million in the first quarter of 2006 compared with a net loss of $23.6 million in the same period of 2005. President and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau said the printing division pressed ahead with its long-term strategic development plan, continuing its $580 million retooling program in North America and Europe. He told the annual meeting of shareholders last week that although Quebecor World is losing money, it’s not time to sell the printing division.
May 11, 2006
Quebec’s AAGQ declares bankruptcy
OttawaCPIA president Bob Elliott announced in the association’s recent newsletter that the Association AGQ (AAGQ) was forced to declare bankruptcy in December. Elliot writes that after struggling for more than three years, they were forced to throw in the towel. The CPIA plans to continue serving members in Quebec while working with industry members to determine the viablility of a potential new FARA (formally affiliated regional association) in the future.
PLM reports Q1 growth
MARKHAM, ONPLM increased its earnings 27% to $0.9 million from $0.7 million a year ago, which the company says reflects higher sales, active cost management and lower interest expense. Sales also grew 6% to $31.6 million compared to $29.8 million a year ago. The U.S. market accounted for less than 4% of PLM’s first quarter this year compared to 7% in the same period in 2005. The company says that although it is still actively pursuing U.S. assignments, its wholly-owned subsidiary, PLM America, ceased operations in the fourth quarter and was wound up in January. President and CEO Dave Stuart said, “There has been material change in the competitive landscape and while not a driver of our sales, U.S. market opportunities have weakened with the rising value of the Canadian dollar. So this is a ‘made-at’home’ recovery that, in part, reflects an intense operational improvement program within out print and premedia operations launched in the fourth quarter.” Stuart added that the company is seeing early benefits from the addition of a new digital technologies and sales increases within the Optium brand.
May 9, 2006
Dollco wins 2006 Canadian Association of Family Enterprise award
OTTAWADollco Printing recently won the 2006 Family Enterprise of the Year award from the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The national award recognizes significant achievement made by a Canadian family enterprise and was presented at the CAFE national symposium last week in Toronto. “Having reached its third generation of ownership and celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, Dollco Printing continues to flourish as a model of family business success under the co-leadership of Krista Nicholds and Kevin Nicholds,” says Lawrence Barns, CAFE CEO. Dollco has been owned and operated by the Nicholds family since 1956 and has more than 300 employees in facilities in Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax and the Northeastern U.S. Says co-president Krista Nicholds, “At Dollco we strive to maintain a stable and caring workplace which is reflected in our employee retention and dedication to the community. Running a successful family business is not without challenges, but this award is testament to the fact that, with open lines of family communication and careful planning, a family business can go from strength to strength with each successive generation.”
Presscraft takes on former Cuttell Brothers assets
MISSISSAUGA, ONPresscraft Litho Finishing has acquired some of the foil stamping and embossing equipment from Cuttell Brothers, and has hired some of its former employees. The new assets now make Presscraft capable of foil stamping and embossing on most stocks up to 41”. Earlier this year Cuttell Brothers shut down due to declining business and not enough capital, compounded by the loss of major customers such as Arthurs-Jones and Baker Graphics.
Quebecor World at it again with union
MONTREALQuebecor World has released a statement that it has filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Chicago against the Teamster’s Graphic Communication Conference that the unions have violated The Neutrality and Organizing Agreement with the company by making denigrating, negative and adversarial statements to the employees, customers and public. The complaint alleges numerous written statements made by the unions are simply untrue and libelous. The agreement was signed in 2005 as a response to, what Quebecor World says, was a corporate campaign against the company to increase the union’s membership by pressuring Quebecor World to give up its U.S. employees’ right with respect to secret ballot elections for choosing union representation. Quebecor World says it is not seeking to end any agreement it has with unions.
May 4, 2006
Cheque’s on the Internet for Custom Direct
TORONTOCanadian-owned Custom Direct Income Fund, a direct marketer and cheque provider operating in the U.S., has reported strong sales increases and consistent operating income for its first quarter. Sales increased 7% to $31.6 million from $29.5 million in last year’s first quarter. Profit increased more than 5% to $22.5 million from $21.4 million during the same period in 2005. The company says the migration of its business to the Internet includes new product services offerings, e-marketing and other initiatives. E-commerce order represented 35.5% of the first quarter sales, an increase in sales dollars of 28.5% from the same period last year.
Canadian print software company buys U.S. competitor
TORONTOAvanti Computer Systems, a Canadian provider of estimating and costing software to the printing industry, has acquired Denver, Colorado-based Parsec, a complementary business management software firm. The Denver office will remain open as a satellite support operation and all Parsec employees have joined the Avanti team. Avanti has been in business for 22 years with more than 350 installations. The acqusition of Parsec adds up to a combined customer base of more than 750 installations.
SMR Tytrek makes a move
TORONTOThe SMR Group Tytrek Graphic Finishers is relocating from its downtown Toronto location of 19 years to another facility in Etobicoke. Production will continue as normal all through May and the move is expected to be finalized by June 1. SMR Tytrek provides a full range of direct marketing and graphic finishing services.
May 2, 2006
Eastern printer makes Globe’s top 40 under 40 list
PICTOU, N.S.Sean Murray, president and CEO of Advocate Printing and Publishing, has landed a spot on The Globe and Mail’s coveted top 40 under 40 list. Murray, 37, is profiled in today’s Globe as transforming his regional publishing company in the small town of 3,800, into Atlantic Canada’s largest and most dynamic print communications company. He is also praised with leading Advocate in taking pioneering role in electronic data transfer, digital proofing and commercial printing on heatset web. Murray also made the cover of PrintCAN’s sister publication, Graphic Monthly, in April as a leader in the inkjet printing industry. The company has 350 employees and annual sales in the mid $20 millions. In Atlantic Canada, it owns and operates three web and sheetfed offset printing plants, eight other publishing and print sales offices, seven newspapers and 14 community and trade magazine, and a flyer distribution company.
TPH opens 65th location
TORONTOThe Printing House has opened it 65th location in Brampton, Ont. Vice president of marketing Alan Roberts says the new location is a natural extension of the three locations operating in Mississauga. The new branch is fully networked to TPH’s other 64 locations across Canada.