Quebecor World — Back on Top of Its World

Jacques Mallette, president and CEO of Quebecor World.

New 64-page web presses in Clarksville, TN, are part of Quebecor World’s extensive retooling efforts.

A manroland Rotoman is located at the Jonesboro, AR, facility.

Quebecor World workers inspect a press sheet.

A bird’s-eye view from an overhead conveyor.

Strengthening existing relationships has enabled Quebecor World to continuously fill pallets like this one with new product under difficult financial constraints.

Once the term sheet is secured, notes Jacques Mallette, president and CEO of Quebecor World, it generally takes three to four months to exit bankruptcy protection.

Barring any bumps in the road—mindful that the company has to deal with reorganizational laws in two countries—Mallette anticipates term sheet approval by the conclusion of 2008. The end is near, and so is the beginning. A new name, fresh logo, bold identity and a refocused mission statement will usher in a new era and a possible return to greatness for North America’s second largest printing conglomerate. Along with organic growth, the company that expanded through acquisition will one day soon be active on the M&A landscape and perhaps add to its stable of 100 facilities and 24,000 employees.

Oddly enough, it was the preparation made by Quebecor World before filing for protection that made for a smoother journey to bankruptcy’s exit ramp.

“At filing, we put in place $1 billion DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing,” Mallette notes. “That was well received by the market. We have the confidence of lenders, and there’s no way we’re going to need any more cash than that. Secondly, we put together a well-prepared communication plan. Within two hours after we filed, we reached the vast majority of customers, suppliers and employees. Very often, it’s the early stage where you can run into major issues.

“We enjoy significant market share in every business we compete in, especially throughout the Americas. We have a very strong and loyal customer base. We generate significant EBITDA,” he points out. “In many protection cases, you find companies that have low profitability or do not generate cash. We’ve always generated significant cash, especially in North America. Our biggest issue has been Europe. Having market clout, strong plants, a good customer base, very loyal employees, a good communication plan and very sizable financing protection helped stabilize everything very quickly.”

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