Archive for December, 2001

  • More news…overflow column…extra items… more news

    New MD at CPI– Steve Somogyi has taken on the task of restoring the industry’s largest supplier to profitability. Coming from a background in finance the new managing director is described as being an expert in mergers and acquisitions.

    Agfa has promised to help financially stricken digital press manufacturer Xeikon in which it has a 25 per cent stake. Spokesman Johan Jacobs says: “We could provide money and there are also talks about buying back factories.”

    Xeikon is currently under bankruptcy protection in Belgium and France. The commitment by Agfa ensures that the OEM Xeikon agreement with MAN Roland will continue.

    Supply company Ferag has plans for an innovative merchandising campaign. The Ferag Graphix Flash is a delivery and service van concept that will bring parts and consumables as well as service to printers.

    The brainchild of Byran Larkins, Ferag sales manager, graphical equipment, the stylish promotional vehicle will take to the roads around Easter 2002. “It will be a first for the industry and will promote the wide range of products that Ferag now supplies to printers large and small,” he said.

    The International Colour Consortium has announced that a major revision to the ICC specification. Version 4 of the ICC specification contains more than 15 significant changes. Implementers of colour management software will be required to upgrade their software in order to use the new version. The review period will close on February 6, 2002.
    The purpose of the review is to provide interested parties with an opportunity to see the content of the revised specification prior to its final adoption by the ICC and to identify any possible infringement of intellectual property by the technical content of the ICC specification.
    The proposed specification can be downloaded from the ICC website at www.color.org/upload/ICC_Final_Major_Revision_Nov29_2001.pdf

    Penfold shareholders are going to have to work over the Christmas break A meeting of shareholders has been called for 28 December 2001 to approve the merger with Buscombe Vicprint. The company secretary apologised for breaking into the holiday season but blamed it on the drawn-out process of getting the merger together.

    “Like other areas of printing, trends in the hardcover book market are toward shorter runs, showing the need for more automation and makeready features to cope with the increasing number of short runs. In the U.S. we’ll see shorter runs pushed by new digital printing – maybe not this year or next year, but definitely a few years down the road, and that’s why we’re involved in both developing new equipment and pursuing product lines in that market,” said Werner Naegeli, president and chief executive of Muller Martini Corporation, which announced that, effective January 1, it will handle the parts and service operations for hardcover book manufacturing equipment formerly sold by Book Technology Group in the U.S.

    AOL Time Warner has decided to close down its electronics books unit iPublish.com. “The market for e-books has simply not developed the way we hoped, and given the overall economic climate we can’t jeopardise out thriving print business by carrying a money-losing operation indefinitely into the future,” says Larry Kirshbaum, chairman of Time Warner Trade Publishing.

    This follows on closures in its magazine publishing business that saw the end of Asiaweek among others. The decisions raises further questions over the long term viability of a product dependent on semi-proprietary technology and expensive hardware.

    Anne M. Mulcahy, president and chief executive of Xerox Corporation, was elected chairman of the company’s board of directors on Monday, succeeding Paul A. Allaire, who has been chairman since 1991 and will retire from the Xerox board at the end of this year. Mulcahy, 49, was named chief executive of the company in August following her appointment in May 2000 as president and chief operating officer. She will formally assume the title of chairman and chief executive on January 1, at which time the position of president will be eliminated. Allaire, 63, was named president of Xerox in 1986 and chief executive in 1990.

    Markzware announces an online training course created by StaffingTools.com for its award winning preflighting application, FlightCheck CLASSIC. This new training solution will provide publishing and printing organizations worldwide a way to train their staff to properly preflight digital documents with Markzware’s comprehensive FlightCheck, via the Internet.

    This new training course first qualifies preflight proficiency, then identifies areas that need strengthening and improvement. It builds an interactive curriculum for each employee that targets the skills that require more training as well as a follow up assessment that measures improvement and allows you to quantify the value of the training. Visit www.markzware.com for more information.

    Scitex sold seven million shares of Creo Products valued at approximately US$78 million as part of a private placement to new and existing Canadian institutional investors. Scitex continues to hold 6.25 million of the original 13.25 million Creo shares acquired in April 2000 in exchange for its digital preprint and print-on-demand assets.

    ScenicSoft has released Pandora 1.2. New features include a tool for specifying and controlling complex non-rectangular bleed paths and the ability to automatically transform PJTF-based in-RIP trapping settings. Support for the CreoScitex PCF file format enables full integration with the CreoScitex Brisque Pack workflow solution, the variant of the popular Brisque workflow that has been tailored for the packaging market.

    And finally, this I got from the excellent technovaworld .com – I paraphrase.

    Three blokes go for a job interview. The first goes in and the guy behind the desk asks him, “When you look at me what is the first thing you notice?”

    The bloke says, “You’ve got no ears.”

    This evidently true statement drives the guy wild and he orders the hapless applicant from the office.

    Second bloke goes in and the same thing.
    “What is the first thing you notice about me?”
    “You’ve no ears.”
    “Get out, you’ll never work in this company.”

    Third bloke on his way in gets a word of advice from the previous applicant. “Don’t mention his ears, he goes crazy.”

    Once inside he is asked, “What is the first thing you notice about me?”
    “You wear contact lenses,” says your man.
    “That’s amazing, however did you know?”
    “It’s easy, you couldn’t wear glasses – you’ve got no ears.”

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • Sweetening the pot for sales graduates

    Picon is prepared to fund new recruits to its members with grants of up to £20,000 (Aus $71,000) over four years to be set against the salary the high calibre students will demand. The aim is to encourage the creation of new positions that will help increase the level of management competence employed in the industry.

    John Brazier, Picon chief executive says: “We’re not in the business of subsidising the status quo. Only members with a positive attitude and clear strategic objectives need apply.”

    “Over the last couple of years we have been told by companies and members how difficult it is to attract the calibre of graduates into the industry, as opposed to them going into the media, finance or the City,” said Picon chief executive John Brazier.

    “Candidates have to be brought in to do a new job for companies who have a solid vision and plan for the future,” he added. Brazier said the initial response from members had been “very enthusiastic”.

    The aim of the scheme is to provide companies with board-level directors with well-developed skills.

    The scheme has drawn criticism from the Australian industry with one senior commentator doubting it is the way to go, saying it is liable to skew the marketplace for employers without doing anything to address the underlying problem of failure to attract entrants. There are no plans from GAMAA in Australia, the equivalent supplier’s organisation, to introduce a similar scheme here.

    The UK grants will be limited to one per member company, with plans submitted in support of their application and personal performance measures set for each successful candidate.

  • Superb win for Australian printing

    Known as the International Gallery of Superb Printing Awards, and now in their 28th year, these honours have great credibility globally.

    The Australian success came after an international jury evaluated more than 3,000 entries.

    “We were delighted when the news came through,” said Chris Day, Buscombe Vicprint sales director. “Within our direct marketing specialist division, Action Mailer, we work hard to achieve a consistent level of outstanding quality and when awards like this come through, it is a real buzz for all our enthusiastic team members.”

    Buscombe Vicprint is currently partaking in a merger with Penfold Printing to form one of the largest sheet fed printing groups in Australia.

    The three awards are:

    Gold Award:
    Foxtel direct mail booklet in the direct mail single component category. For this job, Buscombe Vicprint worked with Sydney agency Impiric from the pre-planning stage to achieve the best strategy for making an impact with personalised data. Among other things Buscombe Vicprint was also responsible for the organising of a competition, data preparation, printing including a scratch game, unique numbering, binding and plastic bagging.

    Bronze Award:
    ANZ Bank Personalised Self-Mailer in the direct mail self-mailer category. The advertising agency for this job was the Melbourne based, Simon Richards Group and the initiator within the bank was ANZ Global Cards. Numerous versions of this piece were completed to incorporate different data streams for overprinting and personalisation. Buscombe Vicprint did the data preparation, print and personalisation as well as the lodgment into the mail system.

    Honorable Mention:
    St Kilda Football Club membership renewal booklet in the direct mail single component category. For this membership renewal and new member acquisition program for year 2000 season, the designer was Vanzella Graphic Design of Melbourne. The job involved full digital personalisation with design & formatting advice to the client as well as data preparation, printing, personalisation, collation, bagging, liaison with Australia Post and lodgment into the mail system

    The international Gallery of Superb Printing Awards is a global event with entries in 2001 from the USA and Europe as well as China, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.

  • – the magazine and On-Line

    Taking its title from the ground-breaking government backed report on the challenges facing the industry, Print 21 will be circulated to the industry at large as well as being the official publication of the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA), the premier industry organisation. From day one the magazine will be complemented as a communication medium by Graphics On-Line, which itself will be rebranded as Print 21 On-Line.

    As a member of the Graphic On-Line community you will still receive your favourite industry new bulletin under its new title. Current complimentary subscribers will be able to purchase a subscription to the new magazine at a special offer and access value-added archives and graphic arts technical resources on the web site.

    Print 21 will have access to the research and data collection capabilities of the PIAA and will keep you up to date on the financial, raw material and technology trends in the broad visual imaging industries. It aims to provide readers with a clear and concise view of the industry and create a forum where the concerns and aspirations of its members can form the basis of an action agenda.

    This is the last Graphics On-Line for the year. The first Print 21 On-Line will arrive on your desktop in the first week of February 2002.

    It has been an exciting first year of development of the industry’s on-line news presence and web community. Thank you to all our readers and especially to the many who have contributed views and news to Graphics On-Line.
    See you next year.

  • Adobe extends font truce to December 21

    Craig Tegel, Managing Director, Pacific, Adobe in an open letter to Gary Donnison, CEO of PIAA, acknowledges that the company and the industry maintain different positions regarding the use of fonts in outputting print jobs, the so-called ‘transient use.’ He undertakes to continue discussions to “attain some clarification and resolution” for users.

    He confirms the extension of the font truce to PIAA members beyond the industry-wide cut-off of November 30 to the Friday before Christmas. After that, although Adobe will push for action against non-compliance, it will give PIAA members special consideration. The discounted offer made by Adobe for the purchase of Font Folio (including the special offer to PIAA members) was also due to expire on November 30. Association members will be able to buy the package from IT Direct until December 21.

    In the letter he states that, “Adobe Pacific agrees that consultation with the PIAA will take place prior to the commencement of any investigation into the usage of unlicensed fonts, to determine membership status of the company in question. If the company is a financial member, the PIAA will be granted an opportunity, within an agreed timeframe, to assist the company in complying with any legal obligations regarding fonts, as well as any other Adobe software prior to Adobe considering further action.

    “This undertaking will be reviewed before June 30, 2002 in the light of continuing negotiations between our organisations.”

    The font furore has been a huge source of industry contention since Adobe raised the issue of the industry practice of sending fonts with a job for processing. It flagged an active campaign to enforce copyright compliance.

    Details of the campaign are available in the archive section above.

    In an un-related matter the following e-mail was received from a Graphics On-line reader.

    My name is Jim Roelofs and I have had to take Adobe to task after it tried to force me to pay full new product prices for PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign, even though I already own these programs on the wintel platform.

    You see, I have decided to migrate to the Mac and Adobe (in its wisdom) had no upgrade path for this purpose. After some heated discussions, Jordan Reizes (Adobe Marketing Manager, Australia) took my concerns to US headquarters.

    He now says that, after his discussions with Adobe US, an upgrade path (wintel to Mac) announcement is imminent. I look forward to the actual announcement, so that I can truly say that Adobe listens to its customer base.

  • Hannanprint Dubbo closes

    According to a company spokesman the announced Sydney redundancies were “not significant at this time.”

    In a brief statement IMPG said ‘the extremely difficult decision had not been reached lightly and was made with regret for the impact on all employees, particularly the Dubbo employees and their families and the Dubbo community.’

    It claimed the need to restructure Hannanprint is the result of factors that include the loss of business – Women’s Day magazine has changed from quarto to a wider A4 format and has been moved to Offset Alpine, while the long-run BBC catalogue has been lost to Victoria following the Bunnings takeover of the hardware company.

    The closure took place after intensive consultation with the employee representatives and unions during which the company sought a reduction in wages and conditions. The employees subsequently rejected the company’s demands for greater shift flexibility and pay conditions.

    “Hannanprint workers are not going to take part in a race to the bottom to sell off their wages and conditions only to find out down the track that the plant will close anyway,” said Amanda Perkins, secretary of the AMWU before the closure.

    The general manager of Hannanprint, Tony Dedda, said all options identified by the Consultative Committee were considered. He acknowledged the excellent service of the management and staff of Hannanprint Dubbo and said that employees and the community could be proud of the Hannanprint Dubbo achievements.

    “It is disappointing that the closure of the Dubbo operations is the result of economic factors beyond the control of the business. The dedication of our employees, their excellent customer service and high quality production is a credit to everyone,” he said.

    Some employees complained that the company breached agreements to provide financial counseling services. IPMG said all employees of Hannanprint Dubbo would receive appropriate redundancy payments and full statutory entitlements.

    The closure comes as IPMG renews its offer for PMP Printing, the largest heat-set web printer in Australia. The original offer was knocked by the ACCC on competition grounds. The new offer is understood to include the divestment of PMP’s Clayton Victoria plant, the largest printing plant in Australia, and according to Ross Jones, commissioner of the ACCC, has a much greater chance of succeeding.

  • More news…overflow column…extra items… more news

    It may be too late to get a cheap version of Adobe Font Folio as the special pricing deal and the amnesty runs out today, November 30. However for those lucky enough to be travelling in the USA, the regular retail price over there is US$8,999, which even with our 3rd world dollar is a lot cheaper than the local version which costs between $20,000 and $23,000 depending on who you ask. You could try to buy it over the Net but I don’t fancy your chances. With the end of the software piracy amnesty for printers and prepress houses and Jim McNamara’s BSAA sniffing around, perhaps it’s something you should address now.

    __________________

    Andre Boers, the urbane Asia Pacific marketing manager of CreoScitex, is hanging up his gloves, at least for a while. Well known in the region as the face of Scitex over the past 12 years, he leaves at the same time as the name Scitex is about to disappear from the CreoScitex brand (see story elsewhere in this bulletin.) Although nominally working from the regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Andre was too attached to his Double Bay lifestyle to leave Australian shores, with the result that he has commuted between the hemispheres for the past year. As for his future plans – “I’m going to put my legs up for a few months… take a good long vacation without the kids… before taking up a new position.”

    ______________________

    Whattheythink has just completed a survey with 613 print buyers in the US. The study focused on payment terms and the process of securing credit from a print vendor. Overall, 38 per cent of buyers said they preferred terms of 30 days with a discount for early payment. 31 per cent said 30 days with no discount and 16 per cent said they wanted terms of 45 days or more. Regarding the process of arranging credit with their primary print vendor, 33 per cent said they did not provide any information. The print vendor just started billing them. 40 per cent of the buyers said they provided only basic information and 19 per cent said they filled out a detailed credit application.

    _________________________

    According to a report in Dotprint.com, Xerox has reached an US$800m deal with GE Capital in the UK and Canada to give the company vital liquidity as it still waits for $2.1bn in disposals and $1bn in cost cuts to have an impact on its bottom line. GE Capital Vendor Financial Services is loaning Xerox $800m, with future lease payments by Xerox customers in the two countries as collateral. Xerox owners won’t pay GE Capital for their equipment’s lease charges and will still pay Xerox, but in effect payments will go towards servicing the huge loans that Xerox has taken out. In Canada the deal will immediately bring Xerox $350m in Canada and in the UK $450m.

    _________________________

    The wider Asian region is about to feel the evangelical impact of the digital gospel according to Jordan Reizes. The peripatetic and charismatic advocate of all things Adobe has been appointed the company’s new Asia Pacific marketing manager with responsibility for Adobe products from India to New Zealand. “It’s very satisfying to get some recognition for one’s efforts,” he said. “It makes sense from an organisational point of view.” The sub-continent has no idea what it is about to receive.

    _________________________

    Digital press manufacturer Xeikon has come in from the chilly winds of creditor’s wrath and the northern winter with reports that a court in Belgium has granted the company creditor protection for a four-month period. On November 13, 2001, the Company’s subsidiary in France, Xeikon France, was granted similar protection but only for three months under applicable French legislation. The company intends to continue working as normal while main OEM, MAN Roland, has taken steps to ensure the continued supply of parts and consumables for its Xeikon-based Dico line of presses.

    ________________________

    That the internet is no threat to print is reinforced by the decision this year from the world’s largest on-line auction web site E-bay to print 23 million brochure inserts in US newspapers before Christmas. It joins traditional retailers in relying on print to attract shoppers to its site.

    ________________________

    And finally this piece of insanity from one N. Koslowski who remains a pioneer in the field.

    How to maintain a healthy level of insanity.

    • 1. At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair drier at passing cars. See if they slow down.
    • 2. Page yourself over the intercom. Do not disguise your voice.
    • 3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that?
    • 4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it ‘In’
    • 5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
    • 6. In the memo field of all your cheques, write “for sexual favours.”
    • 7. Finish all your sentences with “in accordance with the prophecy.”
    • 8. Dont use any punctuation marks
    • 9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
    • 10. Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
    • 11. Specify that your drive-through order is “to go.”
    • 12. Sing along at the opera.
    • 13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don’t rhyme.
    • 14. Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.
    • 15. Five days in advance tell your friends you can’t attend their party because you’re not in the mood.
    • 16. Have your coworkers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Hard Kim.
    • 17. When the money comes out the ATM, scream “I won! I won! Third time this week!”
    • 18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, “run for your lives, they’re loose!”
    • 19. Tell your children over dinner that “due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go.”

  • Kyoto Protocol will cost Australian paper industry

    “Using a conservative cost estimate of $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2), Australian paper manufacturing companies would face an increase of up to 10 per cent in their total cost of production.

    Under the Kyoto Protocol, these costs will not be borne by the world class paper manufacturing industries in competitor countries such as Indonesia, Korea and China,” he said. “While the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol are worthwhile, there is potentially a significant cost to achieving their goals.”

    Supporters of the Protocols were encouraged by recent agreements, known as the Marrakech Accords, which make the prospect of reaching the ratification threshold of 55 signatories more likely in time for the next greenhouse conference in Johannesburg next September. The US, the largest producer of CO2, refuses to sign because the Protocols do not apply to developing countries and the Australian Government’s official position is that it is meaningless to sign on until the USA comes on board.

    The Protocols involve setting national emission targets aimed at reducing energy consumption through a variety of methods including an increase in unit energy costs.

    The PPMFA claims that the Australian paper manufacturing industry has already reduced its CO2 emissions by 12 per cent per tonne of product between 1990 and 1997 as part of a sustained campaign. Any further impost would have a negative affect on the prospects for international investment in the Australian industry.

    “Despite Australia’s best efforts to increase the use of renewable energy and natural gas, the unavoidable reality is that fossil fuels such as coal will continue to supply the majority of Australia’s energy needs for many years to come,” said David Kirk.

    Critics of the Government’s position maintain that there will not be any automatic damage to the prospects of energy intensive manufacturing industries under the Protocols. They accuse the industrial bodies of special pleading.

    While acknowledging that the paper industry is a large consumer of energy the PPMFA points out that it plays a vital role in the Australian context.

    “The paper manufacturing industry is a high-technology and highly efficient industry that employs many of our young people as engineers and technicians. It directly employs around 9000 people, and thousands more rely on the industry for their income. The industry has more than $3 billion invested in plant and equipment, much of it in regional areas,” said David Kirk.

  • Kodak pays $25 million for the wide format inkjet company Encad.

    The deal brings Kodak a full portfolio of wide-format colour inkjet printers, software, inks and media.

    It comes at a time when Kodak is reorganising it printing industry operations, bringing its printing industry interests together in a single unit, the Commercial Imaging Group. This new entity will include Kodak’s inkjet, commercial and government imaging interests and its shares of the NexPress and KPG busines.

    In addition, this group encompasses all of Kodak’s efforts in the graphics and commercial printing markets. It combines commercial scanning, processing, output and services.

    Kodak’s own wide format operations are reported to be growing at “at double digit rates”, a result that will be boosted by the recent introduction of its 5260 piezo inkjet printer.

    There is no indication how the Encad business will be integrated locally although industry observers indicate that it will fit in very well with the full line proofing solutions of KPG.

    Managing director, Eric Gans, points out that such an integration “would be a good opportunity for us. But I have had no indication yet from Kodak as to the outcome.”

  • “The future is digital and those who adapt will survive,” – Bernard Schreier, chairman of Heidelberg.

    In the keynote address he said that there were many changes to face, the greatest of which will be translating digital technology into profits.

    “The future will mean a higher level of co-operation between printers and their suppliers, and publishers and their customers. Those who adapt will survive”, he said.

    By 2010, there will still be a strong demand for print, but involving ever-shorter runs and highly customised jobs. “The print industry will need to continue to expand the services it offers so that printers become a one-stop-shop.”

    He added that prepress services would become more integrated with the print side and predicted that in between five and seven years’ time, digital printing will be as big as offset printing.

    According to a report by Gareth Ward of Dotprint, the Heidelberg chairman took the opportunity to map out the company’s strategy along with the industry’s future in his presentation.

    “Digital printing in five to seven years from now will be as big as offset printing for us. The challenge is translating the technology transformation into profit,” he said.

    He maintained that Heidelberg has three priorities for the future. Firstly, better integration of conventional presses into the overall workflow using formats like JDF. Secondly, digital printing, which is growing at 20 per cent a year for colour and 10 per cent a year for black and white. Thirdly, finishing will be another great differentiator between printers.

  • Worldwide Online Printing buys On Time Copy Group

    It has appointed a Queensland master franchisor to help run the 14 digital copy centres, located from Caboolture to the Gold Coast, many of which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    “The acquisition is a classic win win for both parties,” said Clive Denholm, managing director of Worldwide.

    Worldwide Online Printing is a new production format for the industry. It operates two centralised manufacturing hubs, one in Sydney, the other in Perth. These form the core of a network that allows its outlets, which may have only rudimentary production devices, to offer a complete design and print service.

    The manufacturing hubs operate high-end digital and offset presses with the work despatched overnight to customers around the country. The outlets, such as the On Time stores, are franchised and owner operated and allow small operators to make use of the latest high-cost technology while maintaining control of their customer base.

    It is a business model, sometimes referred to as “the MacDonalds of printing,” that originated in the UK where it has proved successful. Worldwide has announced its intention to have over 100 outlets nationally within three years.

    “By making use of the latest print technology, we can assemble print jobs from across Australia to achieve maximum productivity from our presses. This in turn allows Worldwide to pass on excellent economies, maintaining the highest quality of printing within very fast turnaround times” said Denholm.

    On Time has been a troubled franchise originally founded in Brisbane by operators without any experience in the printing industry. AusDoc bought it last year but it has been moved on as part of that group’s decision to leave the production side of the industry.

    Although On Time has struggled with the format this year, the individual stores continued to trade, some posting good profits. The franchise format was based on the Kinko-style operation of providing 24/7 access to printing and imaging equipment.

    Brisbane small business coach, Don Robinson, is the Queensland master franchisor. He is the author of Small Business: Why some succeed and others fail.

    “Worldwide’s offset product range will value add to the existing On Time customer base. This is an excellent transition for the On Time group,” he said.

  • Label merger given green light

    However questions as to the thoroughness of its investigation were raised following revelations that it did not bother to contact the industry representative body, LATMA.

    Both companies are global players and have competing self-adhesive manufacturing operations in 12 countries, including Australia. They compete in the manufacture and importation of labelstock, which is used by label converters to make labels and in the importation of graphics.

    According to the ACCC report, as part of its investigation into the merger, it conducted market inquiries of customers and competitors and liased with overseas competition agencies. It noted that the merger combines the two largest domestic manufacturers of labelstock.

    However, it claimed that customers indicated that their ability to import or vertically integrate their operations by manufacturing labelstock, will constrain price levels in the market post merger. In this regard the ACCC notes that imports have constituted at least 10 per cent of the Australian market for labelstock for at least the past three years.

    In these circumstances the ACCC concluded that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition. The other player in Australia is the Finnish-based company Raflatac, which has claimed the merger provides an opportunity for it to increase its market share.

    The decision came as a surprise to the industry representative body LATMA (Label and Tag Manufacturers Association) whose president John Buckham disclaimed all knowledge of the ACCC investigation.

    “No one has contacted us and although we have discussed the merger unofficially it would be nice if we, as the industry body, had some input into the investigation,” he said.

    The ACCC suggestion that customers could manufacture their own labelstock was met with disbelief.

    “I don’t know what they mean by that, but as long as Raflatac remains independent we don’t see too much problem,” said Buckham.

  • CreoScitex to change its name

    Starting in January, all CreoScitex products will be rebranded under the name Creo, leading to the disappearance of the Scitex name from graphics arts prepress where it has been a defining brand since the introduction of digital technology in the 1970s.
    The Scitex name will be completely “retired” in April 2002, two years after Creo first merged with Scitex’s digital prepress division.
    According to Steve Dunwell, marketing director of CreoScitex Australia, the move is understandable due to the presence of other Scitex companies in such areas as digital printing.
    “But as an old hand I will miss the Scitex name after all these years,” he said.

    Creo maintains that by making this change, it will be able to focus on nurturing a single, strong brand.

    “Uniting all worldwide activities under the Creo brand will clarify the structure of our operations and eliminate any confusion with other brand names,” said CEO Amos Michelson.

    “We are proud of what we have accomplished since integrating the prepress assets of Scitex Corporation in April 2000 under the CreoScitex banner. Our ability to consolidate under the Creo brand less than two years later indicates the success of that integration process.”

    Creo is the listed company name on the NASDAQ.

    Creo announced its results for the year to September 30, with a 45 per cent increase in sales to US$656.5m over the year, mainly due to the Scitex acquisition. However profits are down from $41.9m to $27.1m. The fourth quarter of the year proved disastrous with nearly a 20 per cent fall in sales to $143m and a loss of $5.7m compared to $16m profit a year ago.

    As a result, CreoScitex has intensified its cost-cutting strategy and is warning of worldwide reductions in salaries and benefits, on top of earlier cost cuts announced in August. Some manufacturing operations will also be consolidated.

    The local CreoScitex operations provided a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy scenario with Steve Dunwell claiming the company performed over budget, manly due to its CTP installations. As a result the impact of the cost reductions are likely to be minimal in Australia and New Zealand.

  • Penfold Printing and Buscombe in $110 million merger


    The new publicly traded entity, to be known as Penfold Buscombe, will employ in excess of 500 staff and will arguably be the largest commercial sheet-fed printing company in Australia.
    It creates a major east coast supplier comprising the Buscombe businesses that operate predominantly in Victoria and Queensland with the Penfold businesses providing the main Sydney base.
    According to Alistair Hill, managing director of Buscombe, there is little overlap in personnel as both companies ran lean corporate management structures.

    “I want to emphasise that this is a growth story. We are looking for growth opportunity synergies where we can offer our clients a national presence. We already have many clients in New South Wales. This will allow us to service them with local production facilities.”

    The merger will virtually leave the Victorian and Queensland plants untouched and will see the Buscombe owned Sydney-based Prestige Plates move into the new consolidated site which will be sourced over the next few months. Major technology expansion is on the cards with new equipment as part of the strategic plan.

    The move comes as part of the trend towards industry consolidation in which Buscombe has been an active player with its merger this year of Prestige Plates. Buscombe is one of the largest Melbourne printing groups with a strong presence in the quality sheet-fed and direct mail markets. It has pursued an aggressive expansion policy of mergers and acquisitions and while Alistair Hill insists there is much work to be done to “settle this one in” few doubt that the company will be a major player in the industry shakeout that is gathering pace.

    In a statement the group said the move will provide an opportunity to consider further acquisitions in the industry in the next few years. The industry is anticipated to have substantial opportunities available in this regard following the downturn over the past 12 months.

    It has been a challenging year for Penfold Printing which only broke even following some disastrous losses. Citing the industry-wide downturn in demand, the company claimed that although R.T. Kelly and Concord weathered the storm reasonably well, Mockridge Bulmer had devastating losses in its operations over a four-month period. It lost some major clients, saw the departure of its top management and had to buy the sales book of David File to make up.

    Penfold will issue 16,866,646 million ordinary shares, which constitutes 50 per cent of the new group, in exchange for the entire issued capital of Buscombe. It will also provide options over a further 2.5million shares and a further payment of A$1m over two years to Buscombe shareholders.

    The merger is subject to shareholder approval, which will be sought at a general meeting of Penfold in December.