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International Litho Acquires OMNI

October 1998
BROOKLYN, NY—When clients expressed interest in direct mail, International Lithographing knew just where to turn: the OMNI Companies, based here. With the recent acquisition of OMNI, International Lithographing has bought both direct mail expertise and customer satisfaction.

"It's the largest direct marketing company in New York, and my existing customers at International Lithographing encouraged me in that direction," reveals Arthur N. Petrou, CEO of Philadelphia-based International Lithographing and chairman of Taconic Direct Holdings, the holding company that owns both International Lithographing and OMNI.

OMNI consists of four operations: OMNI Mail, OMNI Computer Marketing, OMNI Envelope and OMNI Litho. The main OMNI facility, a 120,000-square-foot plant just minutes from downtown Manhattan, boasts the latest data processing equipment; software programs and computer personnel for database management; and computerized laser printers for sheetfed and continuous form printing. The OMNI lettershop operation houses 40 inserting machines, 12 folders, eight cutters, 10 Cheshire labeling machines, six Label-Aire machines and five Ektajets for direct addressing.

OMNI can process more than 1 million pieces of mail per day. OMNI's envelope operations can print 500,000 envelopes daily.

The OMNI acquisition ties in with plans that Petrou made back in the summer of 1996, when he decided that he wanted to create a company capable of providing high-end, high-quality printing complemented by a wide range of fulfillment services. To finance this plan, Taconic sold off all of its existing printing companies—Century Graphics, Barbour & Barbour and Sayers.

"They didn't fit where I wanted to go," Petrou says.

By selling these three companies, Taconic generated enough capital to acquire both the OMNI Companies and International Lithographing, a high-quality web and sheetfed operation that joined the Taconic family in September 1997. Petrou points out that the two organizations fit perfectly.

"OMNI serves sophisticated providers by providing unique solutions for targeted, highly personalized marketing," he explains. "International Lithographing's customers are high-end printing buyers who are very image conscious. By combining the two, we are able to offer the customers the ability to deliver high-end, high-quality printing to a very personalized, very targeted market."

Since OMNI and International Lithographing dovetail so well, no layoffs are expected. If anything, new positions may open.

"Because we are so complementary, we only envision growth as we expand the business at OMNI and at International Lithographing," Petrou says.

OMNI's management team will also remain intact. "One of the reasons I bought OMNI was because of the senior management team Jim Ribbelino [OMNI's CEO] built over the course of 22 years," Petrou explains.

He expects OMNI to generate $20 million to $25 million in sales this year and International Lithographing to draw $35 million to $40 million. He also expects to make other acquisitions—though he won't get into specifics. He will, however, describe the type of companies that appeal to Taconic.

Taconic is on the lookout for high-quality offset printers, laser production centers and lettershops with expertise, growth potential and demanding customers. Petrou says he works best with demanding customers.

"We've discovered our best customers tend to be the most knowledgeable about printing," he says. "They come to our companies because we are able to deliver the solution they need better than anybody I know."

By Jerry Janda


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