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Commercial Printing Industry : Year in Review

December 2010 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor

Safe to say that 2010 provided enough reason to tune out from the news. Partisan politics are polarizing the U.S. government. Economies worldwide are still flagging, and anti-American factions in the Mideast are still conspiring to harm Westerners. 

Americans are losing their jobs and homes at an alarming rate. National bitterness is evident on fronts ranging from bailouts for the automotive and financial institutions, to the burdens visited on social services by the influx of illegal immigrants. Those feeling the biggest pinch, the middle class, sense they are being ignored.

In that vein, it is not surprising to note that much of the industry news in 2010 was dominated by the continuing struggle of printers trying to reconcile employee ranks with dwindling press hours. White-collar crime was rampant and, in some instances, theft indirectly led to closures. 

Transactions dominated the first quarter, but there was little action in the final six months of 2010. Positive news was at a premium, but there were silver linings in asset purchases.

The year began with both triumph and tragedy. An employee who was being choked to death after getting his clothes caught in the rollers of a press was liberated by his quick thinking co-workers at Sterling Press in Salt Lake City. The man returned to work two days later...his employer inundated by phone calls from printers across the country extending their well wishes.

The circumstances weren’t so fortunate for Cesar Gomez. The 41-year-old died after the one-ton lift truck he was operating at a Houston printing company toppled onto him. Gomez had been trying to maneuver the crane to another location when its base failed and the machine fell over.

The former bookkeeper at shuttered Oregon printer IP/Koke Printing was charged with bilking the firm of more than $1.5 million. Victoria Monfore, 48, pleaded guilty to theft and identity theft crimes, and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Prosecutors said Monfore wrote herself 234 company checks totaling $1.56 million, with much of the money spent on 30 resorts trips to Las Vegas.

In easily the largest and loudest transaction of the year, Quad/Graphics, of Sussex, WI, obtained Montreal-based Worldcolor for an estimated $1.4 billion. The deal catapulted Quad into the No. 2 position in sales among all North American printers. The combined company also went public in July, trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol QUAD.

 

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