Catalyst Paper acquires Wisconsin and Maine-based paper mills

RICHMOND, BC—Canadian paper manufacturer Catalyst Paper Corporation has completed the acquisition of the Biron paper mill in Wisconsin and the Rumford pulp and paper mill in Maine.  The deal was initially announced last October. The cash payment made on closing was US$62.4 million after giving effect to an adjustment under the purchase agreement based on estimated working capital at closing, and the final purchase price is subject to certain additional post-closing adjustments.
A Catalyst plant in Port Alberni, BC
“This acquisition represents a new chapter in the history of Catalyst Paper,” Joe Nemeth, president and chief executive officer said. “With the addition of the Rumford and Biron mills, Catalyst becomes a larger and stronger company with five facilities across North America and an estimated production capacity of 2.1 million tons of paper and 500,000 tons of pulp. Catalyst is now the only producer in North America with manufacturing facilities in the West, Midwest and East, and has an enhanced product suite to effectively meet global customer needs.”During the acquisition Catalyst also purchased from the sellers properties and assets needed to operate the two mills, including raw materials, the transition of certain customer orders and accounts, license or transfer of certain intellectual property rights, treatment and disposal of waste and wastewater and other transitional services.Catalyst will begin reporting its operating and production information for the Rumford and Biron mills in its First Quarter Report.

Heidelberg UK partners with ROI360

Heidelberg UK has started selling ROI360’s web-to-print software after forming a partnership with the Cambridgeshire-based firm.

ROI360’s web-to-print system is based on a ‘flavoured version’ of Pageflex

The tie-up has already led to additional business for ROI360, in the shape of long-standing Heidelberg customer Apple Colour in Bristol, which has recently replaced its existing web-to-print system with ROI360’s ROI Storefront.

Heidelberg UK digital product manager Chris Matthews said: “We decided, as we have done in quite a lot of areas of our business to partner up to get better penetration into the market.

“We have quite a few salespeople out there in various disciplines across the UK talking to our customers, and where expertise is needed and we don’t have it, it makes sense to partner with someone else.”

He added: “Apple are quite a big Heidelberg customer – they’ve got an XL 75 and they’ve also got one of our digital Linoprint C901s and a Prinect workflow – so they were a good one to start with.

“What ROI has done with Storefront is make web-to-print more affordable by having a software-as-a-service [subscription] option.”

Apple Colour, which has taken on an additional member of staff, Lindsey Butcher, to administer the ROI360 Storefront and to steer the company’s web-to-print offering, is one of several joint Heidelberg and ROI360 customers, together with Northend Creative Print Solutions and Kingfisher Press.

Matthews said that varying degrees of integration were available between ROI360’s Storefront software and Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow, “depending on how far the customer wants to go with it and how much they want to invest”.

MeadWestvaco and RockTenn to Combine, Creating a $16B Global Packaging Leader

Rock-Tenn Co. and MeadWestvaco Corp. today announced that they have entered into a definitive combination agreement to create a leading global provider of consumer and corrugated packaging (“NewCo”) in a transaction with a combined equity value of $16 billion. The combined company, to be named prior to closing, will have combined net sales of $15.7 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $2.9 billion, including the impact of $300 million in estimated annual synergies to be achieved over three years.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, MWV stockholders will receive 0.78 shares of NewCo for each share of MWV held. RockTenn shareholders will be entitled to elect to receive either (a) 1.00 shares of NewCo or (b) cash in an amount equal to the volume weighted average price of RockTenn common stock during a five-day period ending three trading days prior to closing for each share of RockTenn held. The cash and stock elections by RockTenn shareholders will be subject to proration such that the resulting ownership of NewCo will be approximately 50.1% by MWV shareholders and 49.9 percent by RockTenn shareholders, and based on the shares outstanding today, approximately 7 percent of RockTenn shares will receive cash in lieu of stock. This targeted ownership ratio of NewCo will facilitate the continued favorable tax attributes of the previously announced spin-off of MWV’s specialty chemicals business, which the parties intend to complete after the closing of the business combination.

Steven C. Voorhees, CEO of RockTenn said, “This transaction brings together two highly complementary organizations to create a new, more powerful company with leadership positions in the global consumer and corrugated packaging markets. This is a terrific opportunity for shareholders, employees and customers of both companies, all of whom stand to benefit enormously from the combination. Importantly, our two companies are also an exceptional cultural fit, sharing a commitment to exceeding customer expectations and a focus on developing innovative packaging solutions. Planning for the integration of these two companies has already started and we expect to expeditiously realize the full value of cost synergies we have identified.”

John A. Luke Jr., chairman and CEO of MWV noted: “We are creating the leading global provider of consumer and corrugated packaging solutions—and generating significant value for both companies’ shareholders. This transaction is a logical step that is borne of our strategic progress and financial success, and it offers MWV shareholders both immediate value and the opportunity to participate in significant upside as the new company generates substantial growth from its market-focused global strategy.”

Mr. Voorhees will serve as CEO and president of the combined company, and Luke will become non-executive chairman of the board of directors. The board will be comprised of eight directors from RockTenn and six directors from MWV. Other key executives and their positions will be determined according to their strengths and will be named prior to closing. The combined company will maintain its principal executive offices in Richmond, VA, and will have operating offices in Norcross, GA.

The transaction requires the approval of shareholders of both MWV and RockTenn and is subject to receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Both parties target closing the transaction in the second calendar quarter of this year.

Catalogs, After Years of Decline, Are Revamped for Changing Times

In this digital age when filling a shopping cart requires little more than clicking on a screen, the printed retail catalog keeps vying for a place on the coffee table.

From Anthropologie to American Girl, Pottery Barn to Patagonia, retailers are still relying on direct mail even as they spend considerable resources on improving their websites to accommodate the steady increase in online shopping.

Some of their catalog forays, however, barely resemble the traditional merchandise book. These days, retailers are employing devices like adventure tales and photo spreads of wildlife to catch a shopper’s eye, hoping to secure purchases online or in a store.

Luring a specific customer base seems to be part of the strategy underlying J. C. Penney’s surprise announcement this month that it would revive a home goods catalog in March, three years after the struggling company discontinued all such mailings. Its new version will focus not on recruiting new customers but on reaching existing ones, according to a spokeswoman. Whether the company will resume a regular schedule for sending out seasonal or general merchandise catalogs remains unclear.

“J. C. Penney is making a big statement,” said Bruce Cohen, a retail private equity strategist at Kurt Salmon, a consulting firm. “It’s a pronouncement in favor of what all retailers are recognizing — that there are moments when people want to slow down, and there’s still an important place for the catalog.”

After years of decline, the number of catalogs mailed in the United States increased in 2013, to 11.9 billion, according to the Direct Marketing Association, a trade group. While that figure is about 60 percent of what it was at its peak in 2007, some analysts say the recent 1 percent rise in mailed catalogs, coupled with the care retailers are putting into them, may signal something of a renaissance.

Not all catalogs will rebound in this environment. The parent company of SkyMall, the in-flight shopping magazine, filed for bankruptcy last week. But Paul Swinand, an analyst for Morningstar, called that catalog different from most with its quirky assortment of goods. “It’s not about brand with SkyMall,” he said. “There’s nothing emotional about it.”

However small, the recent resurgence in direct mail may be explained by a better understanding of the catalog’s power to drive sales, Mr. Cohen said. He pointed to Lands’ End as an early example. In 2000, that retailer reduced the number of catalogs it sent consumers. It experienced a $100 million drop in sales as a result, according to research by Kurt Salmon. Lands’ End later added a pop-up survey to its website and found that 75 percent of customers who were making purchases had first reviewed the catalog. “Sometimes the only way to realize how important the catalog is, is to take it away,” Mr. Cohen said.

About 90 million Americans make purchases from catalogs, according to the Direct Marketing Association; nearly 60 percent of them are women. Consumers who receive catalogs spend an average of $850 annually on catalog purchases, according to the American Catalog Mailers Association.

Some stores, like Anthropologie, rely so heavily on catalogs that they make them their principal form of advertising. “We don’t call it a catalog; we call it a journal,” said Susy Korb, chief marketing officer of Anthropologie, whose materials show women wearing dresses in fields, on beaches and “where the rolling heather meets the broad, brisk sky,” as one recent spread detailed. “Of course we’re trying to sell clothes and accessories,” Ms. Korb said, “but it’s more to inspire and engage.”

Patagonia has produced long-form marketing materials, commissioning essays for them. Last year, in addition to publishing 10 or so traditional catalogs, the company sent two built around themes, including one on falconry. That catalog featured photo spreads of children with condors in Chile and wildlife volunteers releasing rehabilitated red-tailed hawks in California, alongside first-person reflections. “The bird on my fist is an opportunist,” one read. “I like to think it’s there because of the patient discipline I exercise.”

That catalog included only a handful of products — among them a green trucker hat, jeans and brightly colored backpacks — on four of the final pages in the 43-page book.

Dmitri Siegel, executive creative director and vice president of e-commerce for Patagonia, called the catalogs “a way we’re speaking to our closest friends and people who know the brand really well.”

Mr. Siegel added that Patagonia had begun printing on 100 percent recycled paper. “We had to make some trade-offs in terms of circulation and other expenses, but it brought the mode of communication in line with our values,” he said.

Across segments, retailers are seeking to make their catalogs more of an experience, and celebrating print as something retro. Ikea recently produced a humorous advertisement for its catalog. “It’s not a digital book, or an e-book,” the ad says. “It’s a ‘bookbook.’ The 2015 Ikea catalog comes fully charged, and the battery life is eternal.”
Though it is a department store with different customer demographics than that of Patagonia or Ikea, J. C. Penney is not dissimilar in having a lofty, experiential vision for the new catalog. “The scenes tell a story,” said Kate Coultas, a J. C. Penney spokeswoman.

While the retailer’s “Big Book,” containing up to 1,000 pages, was discontinued in 2009, the company kept producing short, niche catalogs on segments like school uniforms or outdoor furniture until 2012. The coming catalog will strike a balance, with 120 pages featuring a broad variety of home goods, Ms. Coultas said.

Melissa Berggren of Minneapolis, Minn., a mother of two, said the revival of the J. C. Penney catalog surprised her but made sense. “We’ve gotten used to companies printing less and less,” she said. “But more of us are coming back to our mailboxes.”

Not all mailings get her attention, she said, adding that she never looked at the “tabloid-type mailers from Macy’s” regularly stuffed in her mailbox.

Felix Carbullido, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Williams-Sonoma brands, including Pottery Barn and West Elm, said the company’s commitment to catalogs had not wavered but that its view of them had changed. “Years ago it was a selling tool, and now it’s become an inspirational source,” he said, likening catalogs to magazines. “We know our customers love a tactile experience.”

Mr. Swinand of Morningstar pointed to Tiffany & Company’s Blue Book catalog — said to be the first catalog mailed in the United States, in 1845. “That’s the type of thing you might want to keep on your coffee table for the whole year,” he said. “It’s not the big book Sears catalog, which was sort of a print version of the Internet before it existed.”
Asked if it might consider reviving a catalog, Sears declined to comment.

Some consumers feel that retailers should ease off on sending catalogs. “They’re a nuisance,” said Lee Wright, who works in sales for a software company in Arlington, Va.

While Mr. Wright nostalgically remembered poring over the Sears catalog in the 1980s and dog-earing pages, he said he now sought to discontinue mailings to his house. “Today, catalogs are a waste of paper,” he said. “It’s the same information that’s online.” He said he didn’t like to shop without reading product reviews, something often embedded in e-commerce platforms.

Members of the so-called millennial generation, accustomed to online shopping, may share Mr. Wright’s opinion in greater number. Still, some e-commerce retailers like Bonobos see printed materials as having modern appeal across age groups and have embraced them.

Craig Elbert, vice president for marketing at Bonobos, called them helpful for building relationships and for measuring effectiveness. “You know if you ultimately made a sale,” he said. “You know where you ship a catalog and where you ship your orders.”

With “so much clutter and information overload,” said Rohit Deshpande, a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School, “just getting attention is the hardest thing to do right now for brands. It’s conceivable that trying catalogs again is a way to do it.”

Mr. Deshpande said research showed that frequency helped consumers process marketing messages, but some studies suggested diminishing returns after three advertisements.

“The issue has always been: What do we have to do in order to get mind-share and not bore people?” Mr. Deshpande said. “Or, worse, turn them off?” Source-NYT