Archive for February, 2003

  • The Clancy column . . .the best bits . . . more news. . . funnies


    Trevor has over 25 years of experience with X-Rite products, both as user and supplier. His appointment follows on the heels of recent marketing and sales appointments in Sydney and Melbourne.

    Trevor has held a number of senior technical positions in the printing industry. His last appointment was with CyraChrome where he specialized in digital proofing systems. “Trevor’s wide experience in colour management in the graphic arts industry and knowledge of X-Rite products will prove invaluable to all our customers,” said David Mulligan, ColoRite’s Managing Director.

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    Heading to Drupa next year? Early birds who register their interest in the official industry endorsed “Supa Drupa” Tour go into the draw for a chance to win a copy of the all new Estimating for Printers Manual. The feature packed tour is fully escorted and provides the best range of travel and accommodation options, including accommodation in the heart of Düsseldorf.

    Drupa is the world’s biggest printing industry trade fair and is held at the Messe Düsseldorf Fairground, Germany’s largest exhibition complex. The Printing Industries “Supa Drupa” tours, endorsed by Messe Düsseldorf, cover both weeks of the exhibition to be held from 6-19 May 2004.

    Partners’ programs and special event invitations are just a few of the attractions to be announced shortly. Register your interest with Theresa Leong printawards@printnet.com.au

    For those who do and those who don’t make it to the NPA, there’ll be a full report here on Print21 Online next week with a complete list of winners.

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    The Museum of Sydney is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the printing of Australia’s first newspaper, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, on the site of first Government House. A breakfast bash will be held at which various journos past and present will regale the audience with pithy tales of the newsroom japes, scoops and scandals.

    Speakers include Sandra Yates (CEO of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi), Max Walsh (editor at large of The Bulletin), Dr Jonathan King (descendant of Governor Philip Gidley King who supported the Gazette), Alan Revell (editor in chief of The Sydney Morning Herald) and Fred Hilmer AO (CEO of John Fairfax Holdings). Chaired by Frank Morris (writer and researcher of print history) the event is notable for the absence of any News Limited folk – or don’t they get up that early in the morning?

    A working Albion printing press, circa.1860, will be on display in the Museum foyer from Tuesday 4 March until Saturday 22 March as part of the bicentenary celebrations.

    Wednesday 5 March. 8:30am-11:30am. General $38 includes buffet breakfast. Bookings essential telephone 02 9518 6866.

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    In a move that bears an uncanny resemblance to events in the local market a few years ago; Agfa-Gevaert announced that it has reached an agreement with Printing Techniques Ltd of Northampton, UK, by which PTL will become wholly owned by Agfa-Gevaert UK. PTL has held the sole distribution rights for the Hoechst Graphics business, an enterprise that Agfa bought in January 1996. By acquiring PTL, Agfa will be able to fully integrate distribution and sales of its printing plates to the UK market.

    “Merging PTL’s business into our own will enable us to have the same complete offering of printing plates from the Agfa portfolio in the UK as we do in other countries”, said Piet Cottenie, worldwide director of Sales and Marketing, Graphic Systems.

    The same Piet Cottenie was managing director of Agfa Australia during the Hoescht takeover. Here the Hoescht Graphics business was held by Printing Technologies and Agfa, as in the UK, eventually bought the company from its owners, who included Gerry Paulusz, now current managing director of Agfa Asia-Pacific, the first Australian to hold the post. Spooky, aint it?

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    The 2003 Australian Packaging Awards are now open. “The Magic of Packaging” brochure is available from the Packaging Council. The Awards have been revamped; there are also new categories, promotional packaging, one for plastics and a Best of Show. Entries close June 6, 2003. Judging is July 21st to 23rd 2003 inclusive. And of course there will be an awards bash.
    Details www.packcoun.com.au/apa2003/mediarelease.htm

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    A report came over the wire (that’s an old-fashioned way of saying it was on the internet) saying that a South African billionaire, Vivian Reddy, has the rights to print polymer banknotes for all of Africa. The technology is owned by Note Printing Australia. According to the report he made the claim at his 50th birthday party, a gathering that included South Africa’s deputy president Jacob Zuma.

    A phone call to Securency, the marketing arm of NPA in Melbourne, gleaned that no one there knew anything about it. But given that he’s from South Africa and a billionaire, they’re keen to hear from him. We’ll keep you posted.

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    And finally . . . this from Tara, who you may remember worked with Print21 Online last year. She’s now in Laos after spending months travelling in Europe where she obviously brushed up on her languages.

    The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

    In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

    In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be
    expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

    Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away. By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

    During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from words kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Zen ve vil rul ze world!

  • New Products – hot off the press releases this week

    EFI launches Velocity Workflow software for digital printing

    Electronics for Imaging (EFI) announces the Australian launch of its Velocity workflow software – an innovative new line of modular software designed to enhance printing workflow and make digital printing more powerful, productive and easier to manage. Central to the suite of software is Velocity Balance, which increases throughput in a cluster environment by load balancing and splitting hybrid colour and black and white jobs across multiple brand machines.
    Until now, Velocity workflow software was only available in Europe and the US. This latest version, Velocity Balance V2-4, now available in Australia, features even more enhanced workflow management and automatic job processing capabilities, making it the most productive, cost–effective workflow solution on the market.

    “Velocity enables quick printers, production facilities and commercial printers to benefit from faster turn-around times and cost –savings by maximising the productivity of their existing equipment,” said Eric Holtsmark, senior sales and marketing manager, EFI Asia Pacific. “We are pleased to be able to offer the proven speed and flexibility of Velocity to our Australian and New Zealand customers.”

    Velocity maximises the combined capacity of printing equipment by managing as many as 12 mixed black and white and colour printers as a group, thus accelerating print production. The software intelligently routes jobs to the most efficient devices, to ensure optimum equipment utilisation and automatically splits pages between colour and black and white.

    “Velocity offers increased print production and easy to use, centralised job management capabilities. Customers can now combine multiple black and white engines with colour printers and digital presses and manage the entire workflow from one interface,” said Holtsmark. “Velocity is a very powerful, efficient and cost-effective workflow solution.”

    The new Velocity Balance V2-4 software supports a wider range of Fiery RIP print engines, including the Heidelberg Digimaster and the Xerox DocuTech. It incorporates new tools that simplify the printing of complex documents, such as automatic tab insertion for multi-section documents and in-line insertion capabilities for re-merging colour and black and white pages – a huge advantage for production facilities using colour and black and white engines.

    Velocity’s modular approach allows users to add functionality, as business grows, using the three key software components: Velocity Build, Velocity Scan and Velocity Estimate.
    Further info: Eric Holtsmark eric.holtsmark@efi.com

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    Creo’s new model of the Leaf Valeot

    Creo announces the release of a new model of the Leaf Valeo portable digital camera back for the Contax 645 AF camera, a member of the new generation of medium-format cameras designed to integrate high-end digital photography.
    In Latin, “Valeo” means power, strength and efficiency. The Leaf Valeo digital camera back family provides these qualities for the professional photographer in the studio, prepress and on-location.

    The Leaf Valeo integrates Leaf Portable Power, a unique approach to portable digital photography, with a removable 5 GB Digital Magazine and the Leaf DP-67, a detachable 6×7 cm image display, which acts as a “digital proof”, using the Compaq iPAQ pocket PC. Creo began commercial shipments of the Leaf Valeo in December 2002.

    High Performance with Leaf Valeo for Contax

    The Leaf Valeo backs communicate with the Contax camera via internal electronic contacts. This produces the fastest performing digital medium-format system on the market today and the smoothest operation without external cables. The Leaf Valeo 6 for Contax captures an image every 0.7 second.
    The Leaf Valeo 11 contains an eleven-mega-pixel sensor; provides a burst rate of eight frames, and stores over 200 images in uncompressed 16-bit raw data files.

    It is designed for commercial and advertising photography. The Leaf Valeo 6 contains a six-mega-pixel sensor; provides a burst rate of 16 frames, and stores over 350 images in uncompressed 16-bit raw data files. It is ideal for portrait and wedding photography. Both models utilize the Leaf DP-67 image display as part of the portable solution.

    Leaf Valeo Connectivity

    Leaf Valeo digital camera back models are compatible with Mamiya 645AFD, Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya RB67, Hasselblad Mechanical and Electronic models including 500, 503, 553 and 555, Bronica SQAi, Bronica ETRSi, Fuji GX680, Horseman DigiFlex II, Kapture Group TrueWide and all 4”x5” view cameras, including Sinar, Cambo, Toyo, Linhof, Horseman, ArcaSwiss, Rollei and others.
    For more information about Leaf, visit www.creo.com/leaf.

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    Jaeger dazzles market with Comet
    Innovative, dazzling and stylish are just some of the ways to describe the new paper range from Jaeger Fine Papers. Comet is hitting the market in a luminous flash – giving printed products the edge on glitz and glamour.

    “Jaeger Fine Papers is yet again proud to assist printers and designers create products that are a cut above the rest,” said Tom Baker, Managing Director of Jaeger Fine Papers. “Comet is an exciting and dynamic range that our sales and technical staff are looking forward to seeing through to finished products.”

    Comet is a new metallic range with a lustrous reflective finish – a finish achieved through its ability to interplay with incident light. With names like Diamond, Tungsten and Platinum you can let your imagination run wild with Comet. Annual reports, brochures, folders, business cards, corporate communications, luxury packages and greeting cards are just some examples of possible uses.
    The reflective finish of Comet has the added benefit of heightening perception of print contrast and appearance of solids when compared to conventional papers. It is very tactile and entirely irresistible to touch.

    The printing applications for Comet are wide ranging. Lithography, silkscreen, letterpress and even the humble desktop laser and inkjet printers are suitable. Add to that laminating, varnishing, embossing, foil stamping and laser cutting for an extremely versatile paper.

    Comet comes to Jaeger Fine Papers from James Cropper, Europe’s leading supplier of coloured and specialised paper. James Cropper is renown for producing many of the world’s finest luxury packaging papers and boards.
    All six colours are available in 300 gsm, three of which are also in 120 gsm and DL envelopes. Options exist for metallic, pearl lustre or iridescent finishes.

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    Adobe Extends Photoshop Product Line to Consumers with New Photoshop Album Software

    Adobe Systems, the leader in network publishing, announces Adobe® Photoshop® Album, new software for Windows-based computers that, for the first time, extends the Photoshop brand to the consumer market. With digital camera sales increasing, consumers – freed from the expense and limitations of film – are making digital picture-taking an integral part of family occasions. Photoshop Album solves the biggest problem facing digital camera owners: how to easily find, fix, share and preserve thousands of photos accumulating on their computers.

    Photoshop Album leaves the competition behind by using an easy and sophisticated ‘tagging’ system to organise and find images, and leverages Photoshop software’s unrivalled image enhancement technology to provide simple, high quality one-click editing. In addition, Photoshop Album is the only consumer digital photography product to take advantage of the ubiquity of Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), creating an intuitive way to share digital photos with family and friends.

    “Photoshop revolutionised photo-editing in the 1990s and was a catalyst for the emergence of digital cameras as a hot new product category for pro photographers and consumers,” said Craig Tegel, Director of Sales, Asia Pacific.

    “With Photoshop Album we’re extending the proven quality of the Photoshop name to a new generation of digital camera owners, making it easy for them to edit, find and share the millions of digital photos now lying unsorted on computers.”

  • March 2003 is Safety in Printing month

    Safety awareness sessions will be held throughout Australia next month to help companies improve the occupational health and safety knowledge of staff and management. An internet-based initiative, the PrintNet OH&S Resource Centre, will house OH&S information specific to each state as well as general safety and work practice information.

    There will also be the first on-line OH&S induction tutorial, providing employers with a cost-effective alternate method of training available 24 hours, seven days a week.

    The tutorial will go live on 14 March and includes a knowledge assessment component, which, on successful completion, provides the participant with a certificate of achievement.

    A newly designed poster emphasizes that both employers and employees are legally responsible for safe workplaces.

    An induction video, Workplace Occupational Health and Safety in the Printing and Associated Industries,can be ordered from the PrintNet OH&S Resource Centre.

    According to Joe Kowalewski Printing Industries National Director, Marketing and Media Services, “OH&S problems are the responsibility of employers and employees. Everyone has an important and responsible role in creating and maintaining safe workplaces.”

    Kowalewski said the campaign would not be limited to March.

    “This is only the beginning. OH&S is not a once off task. It’s as much a part of managing a business as sales or the production process. Get it wrong and it can injure people, possibly destroying their lives and put companies out of business. With all governments putting a renewed focus on health and safety, companies need to ensure they have the correct standards, practices and procedures in place.”

    For information of advice, contact your local Printing Industries office or visit the PrintNet OH&S Resource Centre at www.printnet.com.au

  • Chris Segaert wins another term as president of Printing Industries


    Forging links in Asia, Chris Segaert (right) greets Thomas Chua, Chairman of the Forum of Asian Graphic Arts Technology (FAGAT) in Singapore last year where he represented the Australian Industry.

    After declaring himself “quietly confident” of victory last week, Chris Segaert of Permanent Press, was elected national president of the peak industry body in a ballot that closed last Friday. Although no figures are publicly available, sources say it was a closely fought election with intense lobbying.

    The election was unusual in having two opposing ‘tickets’ for various positions, one organised by previous president John Flynn, which sought to restrict Segaert’s term to one year. Flynn declined to publicly specify any reason for the challenge other than to maintain that “choice is a good thing.”

    Chris Segaert said he was very pleased with the expression of confidence in his leadership by fellow board members and promised to continue his campaign to make the association more open and relevant to the fast-changing industry.

    The new successful candidates for 2003 are:

  • Demand for high-end quality proofing is waning industry wide.

    According to the latest TrendWatch Graphic Arts special report, the demand for high-quality (suggesting film based or digital halftone) colour proofs is down throughout the graphic communications industry in the USA. As noted in the report, several factors seem to be boosting this trend, most notably technological advancements in back-end printing technologies, an increase of alternative media outlets, such as the web, and an overall growing acceptance of lower quality proofs.

    And of course digital printing, where the file is printed directly to the output printer, also decreases the demand for high-end colour proofs.

    “Traditionally, high-quality proofs have been the evidence the print clients used to ensure their jobs were going to be produced correctly,” notes Vince Naselli, Director, TrendWatch Graphic Arts. “A high-quality colour proof would indicate that the colour, layout and text were properly being reproduced before the job reached the printing press, where edits and alterations are expensive to make.

    “According to this recent research, print buyers are becoming increasingly more confident with lower-quality, and lower costing, proofs, such as PDFs. In fact, the fastest growing proofing methods for design and production firms, publishers, and print and prepress businesses is PDF/QuarkXPress files sent by e-mail, followed by desktop laser and inkjet prints. Clearly, print buyers have far greater trust in today’s technology.”

    According to the Report…

    • The single-sheet proof (i.e. Matchprint) is still the number one type of proof that printers use with their clients, but digital halftone proofing is tied at 25% with PDF/QuarkXPress files at number two;
    • Among commercial printers, 22% of those who have a wide-format printer use wide-format output as proofs; 78% also sell it as actual wide-format output;
    • 60% of corporate design departments, who are PDF users, are challenged by “colour proofing”;
    • Magazine publishers are most challenged by colour proofing (37%); Catalogue publishers are the least challenged by colour proofing (31%).

    The 166-page TWGA “Proofing: The Customer is Always Right” report is available for purchase by visiting the secure TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore online at www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com The price for the report is US $1595. TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore customers can download this report in PDF Acrobat format immediately after purchase.

  • New federal election caps will increase print spending

    Following complaints that some politicians over did their unlimited printing subsidies during the 2001 federal election campaign, Special Minister of State Eric Abetz brought in new rules that limit the amount a federal politician can spend on printing to $125,000 per year. However, according to Martin Ferguson, Labor frontbencher, this will mean that more money, not less, will be spent on printing in future elections.

    “The set limit for printing now encourages every MP to freely spend up to $125,000, whereas before there was an unwritten rule when it was not capped that you shouldn’t rort the system,” said Ferguson.

    In a move that, while it may resonate with taxpayers is unlikely to win him many friends in the printing industry, Ferguson claimed that Government MPs in marginal seats spent 10 times the average of just $37,000. He produced figures to show that WA Liberal Barry Haase topped the list with a total spend of $416,000, closely followed by Queensland Liberals Peter Slipper, Alex Somlyay and Gary Hardgrave with $355,000, $342,000 and $325,000 respectively worth of printing.

    Part of Ferguson’s ire can be traced to the leaking of the figures for the highest print-spending Labor MP, Bob Horne, “who lost his seat after details of his comparatively modest printing bill were conveniently leaked just before the 2001 election.

    “The public is entitled to ask how Mr Horne’s $211,000 bill was made public, while the details of 13 Liberal and National Party MPs with far higher bills remained under wraps until after the election,” said Ferguson in a press release.

    In a move that may stand as testament to the effectiveness of printing as an election tool, Government MPs occupy 24 of the 28 highest spenders on the list, including all but one of the 18 MPs with a printing bill in excess of $200,000. In total, Government MPs in marginal seats spent more than $5.8 million on printing in 2001, or more than one quarter of the total printing expenditure.

    Coalition MPs spent an average $129,000 in 2001 compared with $62,150 spent by Labor MPs on newsletters and stationery. The new rules also allow MPs to more easily specify full colour printing and better quality stock, so we should see a lot better produced electioneering fliers next time around.

    The “honours” list of the top print spenders –

  • National President Chris Segaert
    National Deputy President Mark Andrew
    National Vice-President Ian Bowden
    National Honorary Secretary Ian Finlay
    National Honorary Treasurer Peter Goodwin

    $167,737.11

    MP PARTY EXPENDITURE
    Barry Haase Liberal WA $416,121.93
    Peter Slipper Liberal QLD $355,459.19
    Alex Somlyay Liberal QLD $342,985.96
    Gary Hardgrave Liberal NSW $325,541.36
    Ross Camerson Liberal WA $286,256.64
    Margaret May Liberal QLD $283,057.60
    Peter Lindsay Liberal QLD $279,794.39
    Kay Elson Liberal WA $246,094.24
    Phillip Barres Liberal VIC $244,660.05
    Jackie Kelly Liberal NSW $240,785.32
    De-Anne Kelly National QLD $238,758.27
    Joanna Gash Liberal NSW $230,072.13
    Bronwyn Bishop Liberal NSW $216,074.25
    Bob Horne Labor NSW $211,872.90
    Fran Bailey Liberal VIC $211,407.07
    Alan Cadman Liberal NSW $211,167.61
    Teresa Gambaro Liberal QLD $209,722.25
    Kevin Andrews Liberal WA $203,543.09
    Alexander Downer Liberal SA $198,033.05
    John Murphy Labor NSW $197,919.18
    Danna Vale Liberal NSW $196,232.16
    Wayne Swan Labor Qld $194,119.71
    Cameron Thompson Liberal QLD $193,905.08
    Bernie Ripoll Labor NSW $187,716.09
    Bruce Billson Liberal VIC $178,619.58
    Mal Brough Liberal QLD $175,248.77
    Chris Gallus Liberal SA $169,137.47
    Christopher Pyne Liberal SA

  • EFI wins PrintCafe after Creo withdraws its $3 bid

    What a difference a week makes. This time last week Creo was heading to court claiming that PrintCafe’s adoption of a ‘poison pill’ shareholder protection strategy was unfair and illegal. On Monday the Delaware Chancery Court refused to grant Creo’s request for a temporary restraining order to overturn Printcafe’s strategy or to temporarily bar the exercise of a stock option granted by Printcafe to EFI.

    This effectively blocked Creo gaining majority control by excercising an agreement it had in place to buy an extra 10 per cent stake, which would take its holdings in PrintCafe to over 50 per cent. After the ruling, Creo upped its bid to buy all remaining Printcafe stock at $3.00 a share. Analysts saw this as a logical step as Creo has already invested over $110 milion in Printcafe to date.

    After Printcafe’s financial advisor, UBS Warburg, said that the $3 offer was not good enough because it consisted solely of stock without a cash element, Creo is reported to have been prepared to lift its offer to $4.00 per share. At this stage Creo gains access to the same disclosure information that EFI has and decides the game is no longer worth the candle.

    It withdraws its offer citing new information received and claiming the bidding process was unfair.

    “We have received information that leads us to revise our financial analysis of Printcafe’s value to Creo and no longer feel that Printcafe is sufficiently valuable to Creo to warrant a continuation of the bidding process,” stated Amos Michelson, Creo chief executive officer. “Accordingly, we have rescinded our offer to acquire the balance of Printcafe shares not owned by Creo.

    “In addition, as we advised the [Printcafe] Special Committee, we did not feel that we were permitted to participate in the bidding process in a manner that would allow us to maximize our offer to Printcafe’s stockholders.”

    Immediately EFI announced it has signed a merger agreement with Printcafe providing for the acquisition of all outstanding shares at $2.60. The merger depends on its acceptance by Printcafe shareholders, of which Creo is by far the largest.

    “We are excited to join forces with the Printcafe team to bring the most comprehensive procurement to production offerings to the printing industry,” said EFI CEO Guy Gecht. “Our global leadership in printing workflow and Printcafe’s dominance in print supply chain management will offer both printers and their customers powerful end-to-end solutions to maximize their efficiency and profitability.”

    “Our combination with EFI will expand our markets by offering integrated management software solutions for both our print buyer and printer clients. This will also improve the depth of our printer solutions on the shop floor and in the back office. EFI’s global reputation in digital printing and their emphasis on open standards architecture will provide both our existing customers and new customers with accessible solutions to help them grow their businesses,” said Marc Olin, President and CEO of Printcafe.

    The text of the Creo letter to the PrintCafe Special Committee follows:

    February 24, 2003
    Special Committee of the Board of Directors
    c/o Printcafe Software, Inc.
    Forty 24th Street
    Pittsburgh,PA 15222

    Gentlemen:

    We are writing to advise you that Creo Inc. is withdrawing from the bidding process for Printcafe Software, Inc. and is therefore terminating its prior offers to acquire the outstanding shares of Printcafe common stock. There are a number of reasons for our decision, including the anticipated adverse financial impact of certain of the information concerning Printcafe that we have received during the process, your inability to supply the additional due diligence information we requested within the time frame promised, the negative reaction of your financial advisor to our last proposal, and our previously articulated dissatisfaction with the bidding process. We note in particular that after declining to talk to us for a full month, you and your advisors then imposed a series of 24 to 48 hour deadlines on us for reviewing information, formulating responses and supplying documentation.

    We regret that we have had to come to this decision.

    Very truly yours,

    Amos Michelson

    In a press release EFI stated that the acquisition fits with its strategy of expanding its software product offerings for the professional printing market. “With the convergence of traditional and digital printing, the combination of EFI’s imaging and workflow solutions with Printcafe’s enterprise management software will help to accelerate the adoption of digital printing management throughout the process from procurement to production.”

    The merger agreement contains customary conditions to closing and may be terminated by each party under certain conditions, including in connection with a superior proposal for Printcafe. The transaction must be approved by Printcafe’s stockholders of which Creo is by far the largest.

    Given the amount of bad blood that has gone down, and the US’s famed love of a legal battle, there may be a lot further for this saga to travel yet.

    Readers interested in staying up to date on this story are advised to sign on to http://whattheythink.com where as subscribed members they will have access to the latest information on a daily basis.

  • CPI interim results – trend is OK but one-off costs cast a pall

    Non-recurring costs of $2.7 million after tax were incurred as a result of initiatives to realise cash from underperforming assets, resulting in a reported loss of $643,000 after tax for the period.

    The underlying result continued the positive trend that commenced following a number of key initiatives started during the 2002 financial year. Sales revenues for core consumable products grew in the six month period, compared to the corresponding period last financial year, as the account management concept gained momentum albeit in a very tough environment for the graphic arts industry: –

    • Papers Up three per cent over the corresponding period last year
    • Inks Up five per cent over the corresponding period last year
    • Plates Up seven per cent over the corresponding period last year

    As previously announced, CPI negotiated a new arrangement to supply the graphic arts industry in Australia and New Zealand with the full range of AGFA products from 1 April 2003. This follows the cessation of the long-held FujiFilm agency. This initiative will enable CPI to provide customers with a full range of product solutions while working with a supplier who provides more cooperative trading terms.

    Margins remained depressed in an industry that appears to have stabilised after successive periods of contraction since the 2000 Olympics. The flat conditions have negatively impacted on the demand for capital equipment with sales this reporting period significantly lower than the previous comparable period. Margins overall were also lower as a result. With this in mind, the Group’s overhead base was tightly managed to ensure that the cost savings achieved during 2002 were not eroded.

    Commenting on CPI’s forward looking position, Chief Executive Officer Steve Somogyi said; “The Board and management will continue to focus on making profitable sales in CPI’s core product range. A tight focus on costs will continue as well as ensuring that the working capital and cash generation initiatives already in place are achieved. Further emphasis on reducing capital equipment inventories is currently underway.

    “Some early signs of stabilisation in industry volumes and a possible lift in advertising and promotional expenditure in Australia and New Zealand would enable margins and sales to expand. CPI is well placed to take advantage of these trends,” said Somogyi.

  • The Clancy column . . . the best bits. . . more news. . .the funnies.

    It is offering snippets of what to expect, such as “QuarkXPress 6 is designed to run in the native Mac OS X and Windows XP environments and conforms to the new user interfaces of both operating systems. Quark has also reorganized some menus for easier use, and included more useful commands in the context menus such as multiple undo/redo capability.”
    If past releases are anything to go by, don’t hold your breath.

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    Where there’s a will, there’s a lawyer. The Federal Court has fined Will Writers Guild Pty Ltd and its director Sidney James Murray a total of $105,000 and ordered them to pay $230,000 in compensation after finding them guilty of misleading six small business franchisees. In a prosecution brought by the ACCC the Court found that the Queensland-based company failed to reveal that it would be illegal for the franchisees to write wills for their customers.

    In each State and Territory of Australia there is legislation which limits the writing of wills for fee or reward to legal practitioners, and so it would have been a criminal offence for any of the franchisees to engage in the franchise the Will Writers Guild had sold them for up $65,000 for a franchise territory.

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    They would say that, wouldn’t they? Enpocket, a mobile marketing company, claims that SMS marketing campaigns delivered twice the response of direct mail. According to a report in PrintWeek (UK) it found that 94% of text messages were read, and that the average SMS drive achieved a 15% response rate in the form of texting back, going to a website, visiting a shop or buying the product. However, DMIS, the direct mail organization cast doubt on whether these results match the reality.

    “It’s popular with the 16-25 generation, but what about the grey market, the over-65s? DMIS has found that new media won’t overly affect traditional methods,” said a spokesman.

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    Be sure to carefully check your credit card statement over the next few months.
    A hacker stole information on over five million MasterCard, Visa and American Express credit card customers this month. According to a report by IDG News Service the theft occurred when the system of a company that processes credit card transactions for merchants was broken into. Systems operated by Visa and MasterCard were not compromised, and both companies said they have contacted all the financial institutions affected by the theft.
    Neither Visa nor MasterCard would identify the company that was hacked, nor would they provide information on how the theft occurred, citing security concerns.

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    The UK printing industry has settled on a £6.70 (AUD $ 18.02) rise for its grade one workers, representing an increase of 2.8% a year. (Which means they get £643.50 per week – AUD 1,730.41) According to a report on DotPrint www.dotprint.co a key feature of the new settlement, which comes into force in April, is the establishment of a joint review body under an independent chairman, to address what is called the key employment related issues in the medium and long term.

    Both sides indicate that the negotiations, conducted in secrecy were tough, with BPIF team chairman George van Sant saying “the settlement was reached against a background of a harsh trading climate.”

    __________________________

    Reuters, the newsagency, reports that it will cut 3,000 jobs, due to continued financial losses and an expected 9% loss in sales for the first half of the year. The company reported a net loss of approximately $631 million for 2002. The job cuts, which follow another 3,200 layoffs over the past two years, are part of a new three-year strategy to revive the company that is feeling the effects of internet news sites and competition from Bloombergs.

    __________________________

    Bookings for this year’s Print Awards dinner are rolling in, but Alf Carrigan, chairman of the NPA, wants more. He’s looking a record turnout for this, his first year in the chair, having already increased the number of sponsors by one third and the number of entries from last year. It’s always a good night.

    Crown Casino Melbourne. March 5. For tickets to the awards dinner or to qualify for a discount on Qantas flights to Melbourne, contact Karen Purtle at the NPA office (03) 9819 6144 or printawards@printnet.com.au

    __________________________

    And finally. . . something for those who remember Abbott and Costello and who want a little light relief, here’s an early morning conversation between President George W. and his National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice.

    George: Condi! Nice to see you. What’s happening?

    Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

    George: Great. Lay it on me.

    Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.

    George: That’s what I want to know.

    Condi: That’s what I’m telling you.

    George: That’s what I’m asking you. Who is the new leader of China?

    Condi: Yes.

    George: I mean the fellow’s name.

    Condi: Hu.

    George: The guy in China.

    Condi: Hu.

    George: The new leader of China.

    Condi: Hu.

    George: The Chinaman!

    Condi: Hu is leading China.

    George: Now whaddya’ asking me for?

    Condi: I’m telling you Hu is leading China.

    George: Well, I’m asking you. Who is leading China?

    Condi: That’s the man’s name.

    George: That’s who’s name?

    Condi: Yes.

    George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?

    Condi: Yes, sir.

    George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.

    Condi: That’s correct.

    George: Then who is in China?

    Condi: Yes, sir.

    George: Yassir is in China?

    Condi: No, sir.

    George: Then who is?

    Condi: Yes, sir.

    George: Yassir?

    Condi: No, sir.

    George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China, Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.

    Condi: Kofi?

    George: No, thanks.

    Condi: You want Kofi?

    George: No.

    Condi: You don’t want Kofi.

    George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.

    Condi: Yes, sir.

    George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.

    Condi: Kofi?

    George: Milk! Will you please make the call?

    Condi: And call who?

    George: Who is the guy at the U.N?

    Condi: Hu is the guy in China.

    George: Will you stay out of China?!

    Condi: Yes, sir.

    George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.

    Condi: Kofi.

    George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.
    (Condi picks up the phone.)

    Condi: Rice, here.

    George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

  • Early bird discounts now available for GASAA conference

    The conference, March 28-30, could be billed as the CEO Event with a stellar line-up of managing directors of supply companies, associations and consultancies scheduled to speak.

    Phillip Chambers, CEO of Fuji Xerox Australia is the keynote speaker, signifying the company’s increasing presence in the industry.
    He is followed in a rare appearance by David Currie, head of The Currie Group and one of the most knowledgeable and experienced individuals in the industry.
    They are joined by Craig Tegel, regional managing director of Adobe, who will, as usual, be one of the most enthusiastically questioned individuals by the audience.

    Gary Donnison, CEO, Printing Industries will give the industry perspective, while Jon Field – head of solution centre, digital, Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand will tell how the NexPress launch is going. They are joined by Mark Deere-Jones, general manager, business imaging solutions group, Canon Australia; Chris Clark – senior lecturer, Macquarie Graduate School of Management; Claire Gillespie – managing director, Eventfull Business; Philippa Lowe – director, Just Go Write.

    A panel of accomplished printers and prepress managers/owners is being assembled, under the experienced eye of Garry Knespal, executive secretary of GASAA, for a user’s perspective.

    Topics to be covered and questioned to be posed during the three-day event include:

    • Positioning your business for strength;
    • Getting the most out of your staff;
    • Improving profits through efficiencies;
    • The role of print in modern communication.
    • Key aspects of strategic planning;
    • How can you charge more for your expertise?
    • Are we in a dying (dead) industry?
    • Would you recommend this industry to your child?
    • Is print returning as a favoured marketing tool?
    • Is the industry doing enough to promote print?
    • Does the prepress industry need print these days?
    • Print managers – friend or foe?

    More information and to book :

    Graphic Arts Services Association of Australia

    Phone 02 9386 1595

    www.gasaa.asn.au

  • Applicant of the week — Neal Cummings

    I did my apprenticeship as a four-colour planner, proofer and platemaker. Throughout the years in the trade I have advanced myself and am now able to use Macs, PC’s, imagesetters, colour plotters and other equipment – with confidence.

    I am able to work unsupervised as I was Production Manager/Mac Operator for Imagination Graphics on the afternoon shift. In the jobs I have had, I know what has to be done. I’m an honest person and very trust worthy.

    I have been designing art work and using files supplied from clients. I am in a position at work where, if I have a problem with a job, I ring up the client to do whatever the client would like me to get the job fixed. At present I am running the art room at Morris Graphics. As head operator in the company, I converse with clients throughout the day.

    Discover further details and read Neal’s resume www.bluelinemedia.com.au/index.cfm?pageid=jobs01

  • Tom Englesman is new head of Australian Paper Industry Council

    He predicts a continuing strong role for Australian paper manufacturers in the future.

    “Paper manufacturing in Australia is strong and the industry has significant potential for growth to meet increasing demand for pulp and paper products particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

    “The Australian paper industry is a major value-adder, generating sales of more than AUD3.5 billion annually through the production of products which are integral to the Australian way of life. We are major employers in rural and regional Australia and have made significant improvements in our environmental performance over the past decade particularly in relation to energy, water consumption and recycling.”

    In accepting the position of chairman he was keen to pay tribute to the efforts of his predecessor in the role.

    “David has led APIC for two years during which time the organization has made a number of significant achievements in working with the Commonwealth Government to ensure a competitive business environment for the Australian paper industry.”

    “APIC has developed very well under the leadership of David Kirk and Belinda Robinson, and I would most certainly hope to continue such focused efforts. Given the substantial policy issues which are currently being addressed by the government, it is important that APIC take a leadership role to represent the substantial Australian paper industry in the debate.”

  • National Printing Laboratory – newsletter #1

    Welcome to the first issue of NPL News, a regular newsletter where we’ll share technical information of general interest as well as letting you know what’s around the corner in new printing technologies both here and overseas. The NPL is located at Monash University’s Clayton Campus in Melbourne, Australia, and houses some of the most up-to-date testing equipment in the world.

    We also make a great cup of coffee, so why not make an appointment to have a look around next time you’re in the area?

    The NPL conducts two most important functions in support of the printing and packaging industries throughout the region.

    • First of all, it’s a strategic link with the printing and packaging industries, as both a two-way channel for technical information, and as a medium for technology transfer.
    • Second, it’s the applications arm of the Cooperative Research Centre for Functional Communication Surfaces (CRC-FCS), a major research centre with interests in printing and packaging.

    No matter where you are in the region, we encourage you to use our great facilities, and to share your problems so that we can together create more effective work practices. As part of our commitment to providing the most relevant and effective technical resource and service to industry, we also invite your feedback.

    In this first issue of NPL News we’ll try to give you an overview of the NPL and a run down on some of the sophisticated equipment we have at our disposal to solve your problems and make life easier.

    People often say; “The NPL sounds like a great idea – but what can it actually do?”

    We can run tests on any type of problem you might have with paper, inks, prints, print analysis, plates, self-adhesive materials, synthetic substrates – in fact, anything to do with printing or packaging.

    You’ll find a complete list of our testing instruments with short descriptions of each one on our website at www.npl.org.au. However, a comprehensive explanation of the functionality they offer is helpful in assessing what we can do for you. That’s why, in each subsequent issue, we’ll focus on different instruments, describe in detail what they do, and what they can achieve for you in terms of testing.

    This issue, we focus on what the eye can (and can’t) see.

    Many things, including problems with inks, substrates or the printing process itself, can mar the visual appeal of a printed piece. The solution can often be found by testing the piece’s optical properties, a procedure that requires accurate measurement and specification.

    The NPL has several instruments for performing these tests, and each one has a very specific function.

    • Technidyne Glossmeter Model T480A

      This instrument provides 75o and 20o specular gloss measurements in exact conformance with TAPPI official test methods T480 and T653. Whilst gloss levels are important aspects of total specifications, they can also be used as indicators of other underlying issues, like varnish weights or homogeneity.

    • X-Rite Densitometer 408G

      This instrument measures optical density by reflection, and is used to check print densities or dot percentages on finished prints. It can be used in conjunction with quality control strips to assist printers. This instrument is portable and can run for several hours without mains power, making it ideal for on-site testing.

      Optical density is also used in the evaluation of ink mileage, and can be used in any investigation where the result of a variable change is a change in colour intensity.

    • DM-400 Densitometer
      Similar to the X-Rite, this also measures reflectance optical densities but the unit is not portable. It has a printer for recording results.

      For each print process and substrate, optical dot gain and pigment densities may be different. Adjusting the 0%, 50% and 100% points on the dot% curve can compensate for these differences. The DM-400 provides an easy means to match any given curve, and is useful for enabling close matching of prints from different processes with different density ranges.

    • DM–500 Densitometer
      This densitometer measures optical density and dot% by transmitted light. It can be used for the measurement of transparencies, and has similar features to DM-400.

      We also use this densitometer to measure the transparency of print systems where “see through” properties are important, or for measuring the effect on transparency of a change in a particular variable.

    • L&W Elrepho Spectrophotometer
    • This instrument measures reflectance values from 400 nm to 700 nm (visible spectrum) in steps of 10 nm. The results are converted into many of the properties required for specification and evaluation of both printed and unprinted substrates – these include colour, brightness and opacity.

      The illumination geometry of the Elrepho is termed d/0, meaning diffuse illumination measured at 0o (perpendicular to the surface). This geometry is specified by ISO 2469 for paper brightness measurements, and is the accepted paper industry standard in both Australia and Europe.

      The Elrepho can accept large apertures (34mm), enabling good averaging of results for brightness etc.

    • X-Rite Spectrodensitometer 530
      This is a portable spectrophotometer suitable for on-site use, and providing similar measurement of reflectance values to the Elrepho. It also measures optical density and dot%.

      The X-Rite uses illumination geometry of 45/0, meaning 45o incident illumination measured at 0o. This complies with TAPPI T452, and is considered more suitable for the measurement of colour print because it eliminates gloss effects.

      The instrument has small apertures, down to 2mm, enabling tight measurement of small print areas. As well, we can load Pantone‰ colour databases into the X-Rite to enable colour difference and colour matching functions to be calculated.

    People of the NPL
    John McConnell
    Laboratory Manager has 29 years of research and development experience in the paper, packaging and printing industries, which gives him a pretty good understanding of industry problems.

    John is a qualified printer, having completed a Printing Machining Apprenticeship at the Melbourne College of Printing & Graphic Arts. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. He joined Amcor Ltd in 1971, working primarily at the Amcor Research & Technology Centre in the Printing Research Laboratory.

    The type of work undertaken there involved trouble shooting of customer problems, assessment of trial products prior to market release, technical service back-up to mills and marketing divisions, audit testing of competitive products, and development of test methods for product end use characterisation.

    John was also involved in a number of research & development projects covering everything from plasterboard liner to coated carton board and fine printing papers. From 1994-1999, in the position of Research Scientist – Printing, he was in charge of the Printing Research Lab at Amcor.

    John elected to take early retirement from Amcor in December 1999 and joined the NPL as laboratory manager in July 2001. He’s also a keen adventure traveller in his spare time. That means he loves a challenge – so if you’ve got a knotty problem, give him a call or email him.
    john.mcconnell@eng.monash.edu.au

  • New product press releases received

    Fast and easy imposition with QuarkXPressTM 4.1+ and 5.0+

    Dynagram, the recognized leader in digital imposition, today launched the newest version of INposition Lite software, INposition Lite 5.0. INposition Lite 5.0 is by far the fastest and easiest means to impose jobs directly in QuarkXPress. The latest version, INposition 5.0, is compatible with QuarkXPress 4.1+ and 5.0+.

    INposition Lite 5.0‚s advantage resides in its ability to access native QuarkXPress and use Adobe PageMaker and Acrobat files. Thanks to this advantage, prepress professionals can impose, preview, edit, proof, color separate and print˜all within one seamless environment.

    QuarkXPress users looking for a hassle-free, low-maintenance and inexpensive solution to perform simple imposition jobs will find that INposition Lite 5.0‚s effortless approach to imposition allows them to maximize productivity. www.dynagram.com

    CPI’s Summit Gloss has undergone a dramatic makeover that has resulted in a significant increase in whiteness. CPI’s National Marketing Manager, Lachlan Duncan says, “Summit’s shade change is striking. The clean whiteness of new Summit really heightens the look of catalogues, flyers and other advertising material“.

    CPI offers the highly economical Summit Gloss in matching text and board weights, including 100, 113, 128, 150, 200, 250 and 300gsm. Also, the Summit Matt range is available in Queensland and on indent in other states. Rhino a brand-new true coated artboard, exclusive to Edwards Dunlop in Australia.

    Scott Hoffman, EDP’s marketing manager, paper, said Rhino was a purpose–built true coated artboard from the Korean Shinho mill.

    “The name ‘Rhino’ came from the artboard’s bulk, strength and rigidity. Rhino’s ‘meat in the sandwich’, so to speak, is very different from a normal 300gsm A2 coated sheet; Rhino is a coated board, giving much better bulk and rigidity for the same grammage. These are key points in artboard applications — anything from folders to business cards to packaging, wherever the need exists for better rigidity and greater bulk.”

    Hoffman said very few mills in the world made true coated artboard; with most product on sale in Australia coming from Korea.
    “The Shinho mill has purpose built Rhino to be the new leader in the coated artboard market, even going so far as to lure expertise from the current number-one manufacturer.” www.edpaper.com.au

    Ultima Laser is back to European quality. Well-known in the market for the past 10 years as a high-white, high-speed, laser-guaranteed offset grade, Ultima Laser is again being produced by a European mill. The Austrian mill, Neusiedler, also produces e-copy, Edwards Dunlop’s 50% recycled grade. The Neusiedler decision follows Ultima Laser coming exclusively under the EDP banner.

    Scott Hoffman, EDP’s marketing manager, paper, said Ultima Laser production had moved between mills, causing its quality to suffer occasionally.

    “Now it’s back to being an overseas-sourced, high-white sheet, the qualities that made it an established favourite have been reinvigorated.”

    Hoffman said because Ultima Laser was coming from same mill as e-copy, it was using the same triple-layer “sandwich construction” (but was not a recycled grade).www.edpaper.com.au

    Corel Designer 10, a tehnical graphics software, will be available for purchase in early March. Corel Designer 10 simplifies and enhances the production of technical graphics by delivering specific tools for technical drawing and ensuring seamless file sharing within a technical drawing workflow. Newly designed with Corel’s graphics expertise, Corel Designer 10 is built to deliver accurate and detailed technical graphics – elements crucial for the technical graphics industry.

    “The importance of technical graphics is hard to ignore. Cars, buildings, airplanes, cell phones – each of these rely heavily on a meticulously crafted framework of design. From designing how air bags deploy in collisions to detailing how to install a car seat in a minivan – technical graphics are critical for ensuring details are precise and instructions are clear,” said Graham Brown, executive vice-president, software development at Corel.

    “With these crucial factors in mind, technical graphics leave no margin for error – and neither does Corel DESIGNER 10. This latest version offers unparalleled power, accuracy and efficiency. Corel DESIGNER 10 delivers tools that let our users bring their projects to market with confidence.”
    www.corel.com

    Wohlenberg Bookbinding Systems report that they have already installed six perfect binding lines with the new integrated VSS system, which was released at Ipex last year. This system enables books with flush or slightly protruding gatefold covers to be produced in a single production pass, using a unique foredge trim system which is integrated into the binder. This allows the foredge to be trimmed before the cover is mounted on the book block.

    Customers who have installed the system report that they have halved their production costs by eliminating the second make-ready and production run which is normally required. The make-ready for the VSS unit takes approximately 1 minute to adjust the knife height by motor, and other adjustments are done automatically. All users report satisfaction with the quality of the foredge trim.

    CPI National Product Manager Print Finishing Rayne Simpson says that he has received a strong level of interest from print finishers in Australia for this revolutionary new system.www.cpigroup.com.au

    Opaquing Paste
    Pad printing the transparent ink shades onto dark substrates is always a problem. Printing yellows and reds for instance, onto black substrates, can be frustrating. No amount of “double hitting” seems to improve the opacity of the shade, and adding white ink often creates too much of a colour shift. Often the only answer is to lay down white as a first colour and overprint the desired shade. This adds costs to the job as well as additional production time.
    To overcome opacity problems when pad printing, Milford Astor has introduced Marabu OP170 opaquing paste. This product is suited to most of the Marabu pad printing inks. The paste is simply added to the ink when required, resulting in noticeable improvement in the opacity of the printed colour. Often the part only needs a single hit.
    Milford Astor Printing Systems: www.astor.com.au

    UV Curable Pad Printing Inks

    Milford Astor has introduced range of UV curable inks. These high gloss inks are suited for printing onto a wide range thermo plastic componentry.
    Once printed, the component is conveyed under a UV curing lamp of suitable intensity, where drying is performed in seconds.

    The component can be handled immediately and packaged straight away if required. These inks are well suited to fast output, inline production facilities.

    Two equipment options are offered for the UV curing process. The UV curing apparatus can often be supplied as an integrated part of the pad-printing machine. Or supplied as a stand-alone unit.

    A number of operational labour saving efficiencies can be realised with UV ink, compared to conventional pad printing inks.
    Milford Astor Printing Systems: www.astor.com.au

  • Creo takes Printcafe to court over ‘poison pill’ strategy

    “We regret the necessity of commencing litigation,” he said. “However, Printcafe not only has misled Creo and refused to talk to Creo about its acquisition proposal, but has resorted to an array of defensive tactics, including the adoption of a poison pill that unlawfully purports to prohibit Creo from purchasing shares of Printcafe stock pursuant to a binding and unconditional agreement that Printcafe has known about for weeks.

    Additionally, Printcafe has granted Electronics for Imaging, (EFI) an option to purchase shares of Printcafe stock and the right to put these shares to Printcafe at the same price. Printcafe has also given EFI a substantial “break-up” fee and agreed not to talk to all parties interested in acquiring Printcafe despite the fact that EFI has submitted nothing more than a preliminary, non-binding and conditional proposal to acquire Printcafe.

    We believe that these actions are unwarranted and illegal and contrary to the best interests of Printcafe’s stockholders, customers and employees.”

    Creo released the full text of a letter that Amos Michelson sent to Marc Olin, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Printcafe.

    February 19, 2003

    Mr. Marc Olin

    Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Printcafe Software, Inc.

    Forty 24th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    Dear Marc:

    I am deeply disappointed by your and Printcafe’s Special Committee’s recent actions in response to Creo’s proposal to acquire all of Printcafe’s outstanding shares. On January 22, we proposed to acquire Printcafe in a transaction that at the time offered an 11% premium over Printcafe’s closing price. In addition, we specifically stated in our proposal that we would be “prepared to meet with you and your advisors at any time to negotiate price and any other terms in [our] offer as part of your process of considering strategic alternatives.”

    At the same time as our proposal, we announced that we had increased our beneficial ownership of Printcafe common stock from approximately 30% to approximately 54.5% as a result of arms-length transactions with two large, sophisticated Printcafe stockholders. Subsequent to our initial proposal, Electronics for Imaging, Inc. (“EFI”) announced on January 23, 2003 a preliminary, non-binding offer to acquire Printcafe.

    Your Board of Directors established the Special Committee to consider offers for Printcafe and explore other strategic alternatives. In your press release announcing the formation of the Special Committee, you stated that the committee would “evaluate and fully consider the offer from EFI, along with an offer previously received from Creo.”

    As Printcafe’s largest stockholder, we believed your representations to us and looked forward to having the chance to further discuss our proposal with you. In the days between January 23 and your announcements on February 13, we continually reaffirmed to Printcafe our interest in discussing our proposal and Printcafe and its advisors continually reassured us that we would have an opportunity to participate in a fair and open bidding process.

    As a result, shortly after being again reassured by your advisors that we would have an opportunity to conduct due diligence and discuss our proposal with Printcafe, we were astonished to learn through news reports of Printcafe’s unwarranted and unprecedented actions, including:

    • Adopting a poison pill that unlawfully purports to prohibit us from owning Printcafe shares that we are unconditionally committed to buy from a third party pursuant to a contract that you and the Special Committee have known about for several weeks.
    • Granting an option to EFI (a party who we believe has only submitted a non-binding, conditional offer to acquire Printcafe) to acquire 19.9% of Printcafe and subsequently re-sell such shares to Printcafe at the same price. This option accomplishes no legitimate business purpose.
    • Agreeing with EFI, among other things, that Printcafe will not talk to all parties interested in acquiring Printcafe. This agreement eliminates the ability of the Special Committee to conduct a fair sale process and investigate all strategic alternatives for Printcafe.
    • Agreeing to give EFI a “break-up” fee of over $500,000 despite the fact that EFI has submitted only a preliminary, non-binding, conditional proposal to acquire Printcafe.

    We do not understand why you and the Special Committee have taken these hostile, preclusive and expensive actions without making any effort whatsoever to discuss our proposal, accept our invitation to negotiate the terms of our offer, afford us the opportunity to conduct due diligence, or explore other alternatives with us. We were especially surprised that such drastic and hasty measures were taken while your advisors were affirmatively telling us that the Special Committee was implementing a process to explore all of Printcafe’s alternatives and intended to include us in that process.

    A management team and Special Committee dedicated to fulfilling their fiduciary duties to all stockholders would have taken more time and care to pursue all alternatives in order to properly determine what course of action was in the best interests of Printcafe and its stockholders.

    We regret that the course of action you and the Special Committee unilaterally have decided upon would cause irreparable harm to Creo and deprive all of Printcafe’s stockholders of the opportunity to realize full value for their Printcafe shares. We must therefore ask the Chancery Court in Delaware to protect the rights of all Printcafe stockholders and preserve what is left of Printcafe’s value for the benefit of all Printcafe stockholders.

    Finally, I want to reiterate that we continue to be prepared to negotiate all of the terms of our proposal to acquire Printcafe and are confident that our final offer will be fully competitive with all of Printcafe’s other bona fide strategic alternatives.

    Sincerely,

    Amos Michelson
    Chief Executive Officer of Creo Inc.

  • The battle for Printcafe twists and turns

    Described by financial analysts as a ‘poision pill’ the plan is likely to be effective, despite Creo claiming to have already secured over 50% of the company at its original price of $1.30.

    To avoid any possibility of Creo, which is owed $11 million by Printcafe, using the indebtedness as a lever, EFI has advanced a standby credit facility of a similar amount as well as $3 million in working capital to Printcafe, on the undertaking that the company will not seek any rival bids. This will not prevent Printcafe from dealing with Creo, but only if it comes back with a better offer than EFI’s.

    For its largesse EFI has picked up an option to buy 2.1million shares, equivalent to 20% of the current stock at $2.60 a share.

    Creo is yet to respond to the latest development, but is due to consummate a deal to acquire 10% of Printcafe’s stock from investment company J W Seligman & Co by February 24 at $1.30, a move that will activate the ‘poison pill’ strategy.

    LATE NEWS BREAK – CREO TAKES PRINTCAFE TO COURT see following story

    The ‘poison pill’

    For the financially-minded the technicalities of the manouvere, which is designed to maximise the benefits for Printcafe shareholders, are contained in a press release. Printcafe announced that a Special Committee of its Board of Directors approved the declaration of a dividend distribution of one Right on each outstanding share of its Common Stock.

    The Rights become exercisable if a Person or group of affiliated or associated Persons hereafter acquires beneficial ownership of 15 percent or more of the outstanding shares of Common Stock and other voting securities (the “Voting Securities”) of Printcafe or announces a tender offer or exchange offer for 15 percent or more of the outstanding Voting Securities. The Board of Directors will be entitled to redeem the Rights at $.001 per Right at any time before any such Person or group hereafter acquires beneficial ownership of 15 percent or more of the outstanding Voting Securities.

    The Rights are designed to assure that all stockholders of Printcafe receive fair and equal treatment in the event of any sale or proposed takeover of Printcafe and to guard against partial tender offers, open market accumulations and other tactics designed to gain control of Printcafe without paying all stockholders a fair price or through other means that otherwise treat stockholders unfairly.

    If a person hereafter acquires beneficial ownership of 15 percent or more of the outstanding Voting Securities of Printcafe (the “Acquiring Person”), each Right will entitle its holder, except any such Acquiring Person whose Rights shall become null and void, to purchase, at an exercise price of $6.80, a number of shares of Common Stock having a market value at that time of twice the Right’s exercise price.

    Subject to certain exceptions, existing stockholders that would otherwise become Acquiring Persons upon adoption of the Rights Agreement are considered Grandfathered Stockholders and are not Acquiring Persons, unless after such date they acquire beneficial ownership of additional Voting Securities or exercise a contractual right to acquire Voting Securities or enter into a new agreement to acquire or vote Voting Securities beneficially owned by them.

    Before any such Acquiring Person shall become the beneficial owner of 75% or more of the total voting power of the aggregate of all shares of Voting Securities then outstanding, the Board of Directors may exchange each Right (other than Rights that previously have become void as described above) in whole or in part, at an exchange ratio of one share of Common Stock per Right (subject to adjustment in certain events). If Printcafe is acquired in a merger or other business combination transaction after a Person or group of affiliated or associated Persons acquires beneficial ownership of 15 percent or more of Printcafe’s outstanding Voting Securities, each Right (except Rights that previously have been voided as described above) will entitle its holder to purchase, at the Right’s then- current exercise price, a number of shares of the common stock or other equity interest of the ultimate parent of such acquiring entity having a market value at that time of twice the Right’s exercise price.

    The dividend distribution is payable to stockholders of record on February 14, 2003. The Rights will expire in ten years. The adoption of the Rights Agreement is not taxable to stockholders or the Company.

  • Australian printing industry trade mission to the USA

    Organised by Printing Industries, Austrade and the Victorian Government, the mission will showcase Australian capability in the book printing sector.
    The mission had the following objectives:

    • Promote Australian and individual company capability by exhibiting at Book Expo America
    • Gain an understanding of the US book market & potential customer needs – new products, international competitor activities, US industry standards, supply chain mechanisms etc:
    • Participate in a range of busines meetings with relevant contacts on the US West Coast and
    • Gain an understanding of key international printing industry issues including emerging technology, equipment, new international players, distribution collaboration and rights managements etc:

    In recent years, the national book printing and associated industries have experienced a decline in value, despite increasing sales revenues. This mission seeks to explore new international supply chain options for the sector.
    In May 2001 Austrade completed a Printing Industries commissioned study into the major players in the US printing and publishing industries and their election practices. This mission will be a practical adjunct to this research, the aim of which is to identify commercial opportunities for the printing sector, while showing national capability.

    In addition to utilising the Australian stand at the expo as a promotional base, a programme of up to five relevant business appointments will be arranged by Austrade in addition to a market briefing

    Applications are welcome from experienced exporters and companies new to export. For new exporters, Austrade and partner organizations offer a package of free services, designed to assist small and medium Australian companies develop their business overseas and make their first export sale.

    Eligibility for companies new to export is subject to an application process and will be undertaken by Austrade as part of mission recruitment.

    Proposed Mission Program/ Package

    • Access to an Australian business lounge that will be available as a base for companies at the exhibition for use as a meeting area, reception of inquiries, hospitality and low level product display;
    • Briefing on current market conditions by Austrade
    • Tailored programme of appointments – up to five relevant contacts for each participating company;
    • Advice on how to maximise participation at a trade exhibition.

    Costs:
    A charge of approximately AUD $5,500 will be required for participating companies. This includes a contribution to the direct costs covering trade display fees, some transport expenses and Austrade’s marketing and business matching charges. This costing is based on a mission of ten companies and is subject to change relative to the number of participating companies.

    Companies registered with Austrade’s services for new exporters’ programme may be eligible for reduction of these fees. Additionally, participating Victorian companies may be eligible for a subsidy (up to $2500) to assist with cost s associated with the mission. Contact Bob McCulloch (03) 9651 9854 rick@printnet.com.au

    To register contact Samantha Jonsson at Austrade in Sydney Ph: (02) 9390 2097 Samantha.jonsson@austrade.gov.aul

    For further details on Book Expo www.boookexpoamerica.com