Courier Reports Sales Increase, Return to Profitability
The book manufacturing segment focuses on three markets: education, religion, and specialty trade. Sales to the education market were $27.1 million in the fourth quarter, up 4 percent from a year earlier. For the year, education sales were $92.4 million, up 6 percent from fiscal 2009, led by sales of college textbooks. Sales to the religious market were up 11 percent to $17.3 million in the quarter, and up 6 percent to $63.4 million for the full year, reflecting gains at Courier's largest religious customer. Sales to the specialty trade market were down 2 percent to $14.9 million in the quarter, but up 6 percent to $59.5 million for the full year, helped by increased demand for four-color books.
“Our book manufacturing business advanced on several fronts this year,” said Mr. Conway. “We grew sales in all our major markets; we acquired capabilities that promise to be increasingly valuable both to our customers and to our own publishing segment; and we locked in some of our gains through new customer agreements that capitalize on our unique technology and expertise.
“In the religious market, we were particularly pleased to extend a 75-year relationship with a leading global missionary organization through a new multi-year agreement providing incentives for additional growth. In education, our Highcrest Media acquisition, now fully integrated into our Courier Digital Solutions (CDS) operation, has brought us new customers as well as a new dimension to an existing key customer relationship. Overall, CDS has performed beyond expectations, with our first HP system moving quickly from one-color operation to a full range of one- to four-color work, and a second system installed on schedule in late September.
“We also took a vital step forward at our Kendallville plant by ordering our fourth high-speed offset press from manroland. Our four-color capacity was stretched to the limit in fiscal 2010, and we expect increased demand in both education and specialty trade in 2011 and beyond. The new press will enable us to meet that demand more efficiently than ever. Our customers appreciate our willingness to invest across multiple platforms and the ups and downs of economic cycles to serve them better, and we are happy to do it for our mutual benefit.”