Perfect Pallets Post Press

News Updates December 23

Tribune Media sells Port Covington property for $46.5M

Tribune Media Co. said Monday it sold its 60-acre Port Covington parcel known as Sun Park, which includes The Baltimore Sun’s printing plant, to an undisclosed buyer for $46.5 million.

The sale — the second major land deal in the waterfront area this year — won’t affect the printing of the newspaper. The Sun has a long-term lease for the printing plant, which occupies about 23 acres including a parking lot, according to Tribune Media. Tribune Media is the successor to Tribune Co., The Sun’s former owner, which spun off its newspapers as Tribune Publishing in August.

A spokeswoman for Tribune Media declined to name the buyer for the property, located on a peninsula in South Baltimore east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge on Hanover Street and south of Interstate 95.

An entity identified as 300 East Cromwell Street LLC received expedited approval last week to lead environmental cleanup at the site in anticipation of its purchase of the property, according to a Dec. 17 letter from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The firm registered in Maryland in October, according to state records.

The attorney for 300 East Cromwell Street LLC, Mark Pollak of Ballard Spahr, declined to comment last week and did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

Ballard Spahr also worked on deals for other properties in the area, identified in land records by the property addresses and managed by Chevy Chase developer Marc Weller, who now controls about 70 acres on the peninsula.

The parcels include a 5.2-acre waterfront property purchased at a 2012 foreclosure auction as well as a 59-acre shopping center with a Wal-Mart and a now-closed Sam’s Club, which sold in January for $35 million. Weller also signed a 10-year option in February to buy 321 E. Cromwell St., where Tidewater Yacht Service is located.

Weller, who did not respond to requests for comment, is a partner with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank in Sagamore Development Co., which is converting Recreation Pier in Fells Point into a hotel.

Baltimore Planning Department officials said the Planning Commission approved a plan in October submitted by Sagamore Development to change exterior signs on the former Sam’s Club in anticipation of using it for offices for Under Armour. The preliminary plans for the Sam’s Club site describe a basketball court for employees, new plantings and fences, while preserving public access to the waterfront, according to Planning Department documents.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel maker employs nearly 2,000 people in Baltimore and is growing rapidly. For years, Plank has said he wants to create a corporate campus to accommodate Under Armour as it outgrows its Tide Point headquarters.

An Under Armour spokeswoman and representative for Plank did not respond to requests for comment.

The land sales do suggest renewed interest in the area.

“I think momentum is starting to turn around with the overall development climate in the city,” said Planning Director Tom Stosur. “People are looking at it with fresh eyes, and there should be new opportunities.”

Stosur said he was not privy to information about the buyers of Sun Park.

Baltimore Development Corp. President William H. Cole IV, who previously represented the area on the City Council, did not respond to requests for comment. City Councilman Eric Costello, who replaced Cole, also did not respond to requests for comment.

The Sun opened its 375,000-square-foot Sun Park facility in 1992 after investing more than $150 million at the site.

Tribune Media retained Tribune’s television holdings and real estate when the newspapers were spun off as Tribune Publishing in August. The Sun began leasing the plant at the time.

Tribune said the division would allow each company to focus on its core business and ease regulatory issues, but some, including California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, criticized the split, saying it loaded the new publishing firm with debt while stripping it of valuable longtime real estate assets.

Peter Liguori, who stayed on to head Tribune Media, said earlier this year the company was looking to capitalize on the real estate assets inherited from its newspapers, the owners of prime properties in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.

Tribune Media said it expects to net about $30 million from the sale after taxes and closing costs.

The company sold the former Columbia Flier building to Howard County for $2.8 million earlier this year. And Forest Hill flooring company Spartan Surfaces has a contract to buy the former home of the Aegis in Bel Air from Tribune Media, said Spartan Surfaces general manager Wayne Carter. The terms are still being negotiated, he said.


N.C. daily aims to increase postpress efficiencyThe High Point (N.C.) Enterprise will begin two weeks of “optimization training” with GIS at the beginning of the year in a bid to increase its overall mailroom efficiency.

The training comes after the Paxton Media Group property’s installation of a used Goss NP630 inserter, which went live in August. Joe Scott & Associates handled inserter installation and training, according Rick Bean, Enterprise publisher and president of Paxton’s North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia divisions.
“Now we need someone to focus on our people, processes and efficiencies,” Bean told News & Tech. “GIS will do an assessment and look at how we are structured.”
The training aims to increase the Enterprise’s postpress and mailroom efficiency by 20 percent, according to GIS.
JSA, meantime continues to handle necessary modifications on the equipment.

Ennis Announces Relocation of Its Printegra-Arlington, TX, Operation to a Larger Facility

Ennis Inc. has announced the intention to relocate the Printegra-Arlington, TX, facility from a leased facility to a company-owned building less than one mile away. Considering the close proximity of the Printegra-Arlington and Royal Business Forms locations, it will be consolidating the production into one facility. To minimize any negative impact on its customers, the transition of Printegra-Arlington from its current location to the new combined facility at 3301 Avenue E East, will be planned and executed over the next six months. Both companies and their employees will continue to operate under their respective brands.Steve Ehlert, general manager Printegra-Arlington, commented, “The opportunity to better control the costs of operations by moving from a leased facility to a company-owned facility has been planned for some time. The capital improvements in the building needed to support Printegra and the systems integration will allow Printegra-Arlington access to newer and more efficient equipment, and the ability to offer new products to meet their customers evolving needs.”He continued, “Our goal in this move is to keep Printegra-Arlington as the premier short-run forms and check printer in the area and these changes will solidify that position for years to come. The Printegra branding, employees, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, order files and order history will all be relocating.”

Virtus Holdings Acquires Appleton Coated, Receives $4M Loan to Purchase Equipment

Appleton Coated, a leader in the coated paper industry, has been purchased by Virtus Holdings LLC, a new company formed by members of Appleton Coated’s management team.Virtus Holdings purchased the company from a subsidiary of Sequana SA, which had been the company’s ultimate parent. The sale was effective December 19, 2014. The Fox Valley company will continue to operate under the name Appleton Coated LLC, with no substantial business, personnel or operational changes planned for the immediate future.”We are excited about our plans for the future of the company and are very grateful to our customers, suppliers and employees who have stood with us through the sales process,” stated Doug Osterberg, Appleton Coated’s CEO. “Additionally, this now makes Appleton Coated an American-owned company.”

Osterberg continued, “Market conditions have been challenging in the coated freesheet industry in recent years, but Appleton Coated’s customer focus, rigorous cost management and new business development initiatives have allowed us to meet the challenge. Our focused strategies in coated freesheet, along with our new business development efforts are proving successful. We remain firmly committed to the coated freesheet segment, but have substantively diversified our product portfolio with over 40 percent of revenue now generated from products outside of the traditional coated freesheet segment.”

To assist the management team with the acquisition, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is providing Appleton Coated with a $4 million loan for the purchase of equipment.

The company will be required to maintain the existing 570 jobs and create 27 new jobs under the terms of the loan. Up to $1 million of the loan may be forgiven depending on how many jobs are created and retained over the next five years.

“WEDC is pleased to play a key role in helping the management team of Appleton Coated ensure that the company remains successful for years to come,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “The paper industry is a critical part of the past, present and future in the Fox Valley, and WEDC’s support will help ensure the industry’s strength.”

Appleton Coated entered the North American coated freesheet market in 1996 with the introduction of its Utopia brand and is currently the fourth-largest producer in that market. The company distinguishes itself in the coated freesheet market through focus on the premium end, superior service and flexibility, and leadership in environmental papers and coated papers for high-speed inkjet web printing technology. In recent years, the company has become known as an innovator in collaborative product development and partnerships, and has diversified into several uncoated, specialty and technical product segments.

Appleton Coated’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility are located in Combined Locks, WI. The manufacturing facility has an annual production capacity of 400,000 tons on three paper machines, and an adjacent coating and finishing complex with processing capacity of 280,000 tons. The company employs about 570 workers, including approximately 400 employees represented by the USW Local 2-144.

In conjunction with the transaction, Appleton Coated has acquired financing in the form of an asset-based revolving credit facility with PNC Bank, N.A.

Quad Installs Offset Press from Drent Goebel at NJ Facility to Optimize Its Direct Mail Platform

Quad/Graphics, a leading direct marketing provider with expertise in the retail, healthcare, financial, and insurance verticals, has announced the installation of a Drent Goebel Vision offset printing press at its location in Westampton, NJ. The addition of the hybrid press at the company’s high-volume Northeast region production center optimizes the company’s direct mail production platform. Clients now have greater flexibility in the size and complexity of superior quality mail pieces that drive personalized engagement with customers.

“When we implement technologies such as this press, we help our clients remain ahead of the competition and maximize their return on marketing expenditures,” said Steve Jaeger, president of direct marketing for Quad/Graphics. “Our investment in this advanced technology provides best-in-class solutions that create highly impactful, personalized and cost-effective direct marketing programs that drive results.”

With the short-makeready web offset printing press, clients gain a competitive edge in maximizing the customization, visual appeal, and customer interaction of their direct mail pieces.

  • In-line diecutting module creates attractions like windows, pull tabs, and pop-ups to better target consumers with meaningful, relevant offers that increase response rates.
  • Impact of each direct mail piece is fortified with exact color replication and vivid color consistency.
  • Unique formats are produced with near limitless imaging lengths and an oversized 20″ web width.
  • Production time can be cut on repeat orders by as much as 70 percent with an information management system that stores and retrieves key settings and job specifications.
  • Makeready waste can be cut by up to 50 percent, reducing paper costs.
  • Faster turnaround is achieved due to a 35 percent decrease in makeready time.

The offset press works seamlessly with Quad/Graphics’ digital workflow tools to quickly and accurately print customized content. It is also equipped with UV drying and specialty gluing and coating capabilities, enabling the facility to deliver complete laser lettershop packages under one roof.

The addition of this technology rounds out Quad/Graphics’ suite of offset presses operating in the company’s Direct Marketing division, enhancing the potential for lower postage and freight cost, and faster in-home delivery for East Coast regional customers. Quad/Graphics prints millions of targeted direct marketing pieces each month to meet customers’ around-the-clock production needs across the country.


Mitsubishi Imaging to Distribute CRON-ECRM CtcP Products, Printing Plates in North America

Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM)has signed as a North American distributor with CRON-ECRM. This agreement includes the distribution of CtcP products, accessories and Blackwood printing plates.”This announcement affirms Mitsubishi Imaging’s longstanding commitment to the offset print and CTP markets with a solution that will help the offset print community remain strong and profitable for years to come,” said Catherine Cartolano, vice president of sales and technical services, Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM).Cartolano added, “The addition of the CRON UV CtcP Platesetters and Blackwood metal printing plates provides another dimension to our portfolio of CTP solutions. Mitsubishi Imaging remains an industry leader for delivering innovative new products to the Graphic Arts and CTP markets. We anticipate a highly successful relationship with CRON-ECRM.”

Rick Black, president and CEO of CRON-ECRM, also noted, “We are delighted to have this partnership with such a well-known and widely regarded supplier to the printing industry and look forward to expanding MII’s portfolio with new and innovative product offerings. The combined strength of these two companies will deliver a unique opportunity to bring exciting new products to offset print market in North America.”

American Forest & Paper Association Releases November 2014 Printing-Writing Paper Report

The American Forest & Paper Association has released its November 2014 Printing-Writing Paper Report. According to the report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 8 percent in November compared to November 2013, with total paper inventories increasing 5 percent compared to October.

  • Uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper shipments in November decreased 14 percent compared to November 2013. YTD shipments were down 9 percent in 2014. Imports of UFS increased 27 percent in October and were up 23 percent year-to-date in 2014.
  • November coated free sheet (CFS) paper shipments decreased 3 percent compared to 2013. YTD shipments of coated freesheet grades decreased 3 percent. Exports of CFS papers were down 4 percent for the year compared to the first 10 months of 2013, with imports increasing 17 percent in October and 4 percent for the year.
  • Uncoated mechanical (UM) paper shipments decreased 1 percent in November, following ninth consecutive months of year-over-year increases. Year-to-date shipments of UM were up 4 percent compared to 2013.
  • Coated mechanical (CM) shipments in November decreased 4 percent relative to November 2013 and were down 4 percent for the year. Exports of CM grades decreased 9 percent year-over-year in October but were up 6 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2013. Imports were down 18 percent year-to-date.



Premier Graphics Boosts Production with Xeikon 8500 and Xeikon 6000

Xeikon NV, an innovator in digital color printing technology, announced today that Premier Graphics, a Stratford, CT-based printing, mailing and marketing communications provider, has added two Xeikon digital color presses to boost their productivity and output of direct marketing pieces.Premier, recognized as one of the fastest growing privately-held companies by Inc. Magazine, has purchased and installed a Xeikon 8500, a high-performing and versatile press for many standard and non-standard document printing formats. In addition, Premier has also purchased and installed a Xeikon 6000 press to grow its digital document printing capabilities.

“Our clients are increasing their need for high volume digital applications with faster turnarounds” said Sean Huban, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Premier. “We chose the Xeikon presses because they offer a unique combination of quality, printing speed, consistent high-volume output, cost-effectiveness and an opportunity to increase our profitability in the digital color printing space.”

Huban added that Xeikon’s “à la carte” consumables pricing, rather than the click pricing of competitors, was another major advantage.

The Xeikon presses are roll-fed, which makes them ideal for Premier’s laminating and finishing operations. Moreover, the Xeikon presses give Premier significantly more versatility with substrates, including many synthetic substrates. Xeikon technology also enables printing on both sides of a substrate simultaneously and has unparalleled format flexibility.

Some of Premier’s major clients are healthcare organizations, and among the applications that the Xeikon presses will be used for, are health insurance ID cards, benefit booklets, letters, brochures and other direct mail.

“To succeed as a marketing communications service provider today, you need technology that delivers unmatched print quality, productivity and speed—that’s what the Xeikon presses offer,” said Todd Blumsack, vice president of sales and marketing, Xeikon America. “As Premier Graphics responds to the changing market conditions, the Xeikon presses are more than up to the task. We are excited to be a part of their continued success.”

Time Inc. taps into its inner Silicon Valley

It’s no longer enough for Time Inc. to be the publisher of enormous magazine brands including Time, People and Sports Illustrated. With print revenue waning, it’s increasingly under pressure to create new products and services on the backs of those brands, a pressure that’s intensified since it became an independent company. But the old ways of launching new products, with long lead times and at great expense, doesn’t cut it anymore.

That’s why Time Inc. is borrowing the tools (and buzzwords) of Silicon Valley with a fast, lean approach to product development. Heading it up is Kevin Heery, an svp who oversees digital for Time Inc.’s fashion, lifestyle and luxury brands including Real Simple, Cooking Light and Food & Wine. Heery, who implemented this “minimum viable product” approach at his last post, at Time Inc. subsidiary Time Inc. UK, has four digital product experts who work with people at the individual lifestyle magazine brands to develop new products in two-week cycles.

The first to roll off the assembly line is Cooking Light Diet, a mobile app that delivers customized meal plans on a weekly basis. The process started a year ago, when Time Inc. came up with the idea for the product last spring. Two weeks later, Heery’s team created a landing page marketing the service. It signed up 10 people for a trial, created diet plans for them, then adjusted the plan based on their feedback. More people were added, and feedback sought. By May, Time Inc. had 500 paying customers using the service (which, at $18.99 a month, isn’t cheap), giving it the confidence to push ahead with a full launch.

“Traditional product marketing has been, you have an idea for something, you spent time building it, and you market it and launch it,” Heery said. “This approach is kind of flipping a few things around. What we’ve been doing is small, controlled marketing. We wanted to see engagement, retention, so when we scale, it’ll be profitable.”

The approach also is designed to identify quickly if a product isn’t viable. Time Inc. tested an idea for a product that was meant to unify all the information a person has about their home, from appliance manuals to contractors’ numbers to paint colors. Two days after a landing page was launched, only one person had signed up for it, though, and Time Inc. killed it. (In that case, people said they preferred a product to help them organize their households, and Time Inc. ended up buying such a product, Cozi.)

Time Inc. isn’t alone in catching up to Silicon Valley in its approach to product development. Hearst Magazines’ “fail fast” mantra informs recent magazine launches including HGTV and Food Network Magazine that use lean staffs and publishing partners that have built-in awareness and audiences.

Still, the MVP approach is foreign to the traditional publishing culture, with its tradition of lengthy and expensive product development, said Peter Kreisky, chairman of the Kreisky Media Consultancy.

“It’s fear of failure,” he said. “They have a very high profile in the marketplace, so every product they launch has high visibility. If you’re a big company like Time or Hearst, everybody sort of jumps on you.”

It’s easier for Time Inc. to adopt this approach now than it would have been a decade ago, though, said Reed Phillips, managing partner of media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips.

“They had a whole magazine development staff, and they were tasked with starting new magazines like InStyle and Entertainment Weekly,” he said. “The way startups were done back then, it was very slow and methodical and might have included direct-mail tests and newsstand tests. Now, it is more fast and furious. Let’s put it out there and see how people will react. A lot of these things are not going to be new magazines; they’re going to be apps and things that are more conducive to testing quickly.”


Kingfisher Print & Design boosts litho operation with Speedmaster XL 75 buy

The 15,000sph press, which will be installed at the Totnes, Devon-based family firm’s premises this week, cost around £1m. The machine, which has replaced an older XL 75 model, is specified with Inpress Control and Auto Plate.

Managing director Ross Bellotti, who runs the 30-year old company with his wife Sarita, said: “It’s fair to say 2014 was a pretty good year for us as overall sales were up 7%. Our biggest achievement has been in growing sales and reducing costs simultaneously.

“We have achieved this by reducing waste and developing more robust processes for taking on the right type of work for us; making us more efficient and doubling our net profit.

“The new XL 75 was a significant strategic investment for us and brings us a real competitive advantage. Our marketing activity will ensure we get this message out to key markets, driving the next phase in Kingfisher’s growth and development. It’s an exciting time to be in business.”

The XL 75’s Auto Plate will save Kingfisher two minutes per makeready, which the firm estimates will save it around £60,000 annually.

“It’s a testament to our team that we have made the investment in the new XL 75 as I am 100% confident they will embrace the new technology to make us even more efficient in 2015,” said Bellotti.

In March this year the business installed a Kodak NexPress SX 3300 and it has since seen its digital sales double.

Marketing manager Jodie Fulton said: “The litho arm of our business forms the majority of what we do but for us bringing the digital on board just increased the opportunity for customers on short-run work.

“Especially for estate agents where things can change quickly when properties are sold; that’s where the biggest take-up for digital has come from.

“I think the litho side is just going to grow and grow now, and we’ve just taken on a new salesman as well to help that growth. Having a new press on board will help us to experience more of the same growth that we’ve experienced in 2014.”

The business has also recently been working closely with web-to-print software developer ROI360 on a new in-house web-to-print offering for 2015, which uses market-specific data for advanced personalised direct mail work.

Bellotti said: “Web-to-print is not just for ordering business cards and letterheads, we have been pushing ROI360 by writing queries to get the very most out of the data available, ensuring the campaigns we are producing for our clients are as targeted as they possibly can be.

“Exciting times are ahead as more and more of our clients are seeing the value and return in using personalised print.”

Kingfisher Print & Design employs more than 30 staff and has a turnover of over £3.7m. It produces a wide range of print for clients including estate agents, print management companies and large multi-site and franchised organisations.





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