Phoenix Lithographing, ICS Corp. Merger Creates Commercial Printing and Mailing Industry Powerhouse
The Phoenix Group of Companies, a full-service provider of comprehensive printing, packaging, mailing, and fulfillment solutions in Philadelphia, announced that its affiliate, Phoenix Lithographing, and long-time industry partner ICS Corp., of West Deptford, N.J., are merging forces to create Phoenix-ICS Group of Companies.
The new partnership brings together ICS, a direct mail organization offering strategic development and creative services, and Phoenix Lithographing, one of the largest privately-held commercial printing companies in the marketplace. The group will benefit from ICS’s expertise in mailing and creative development, and Phoenix’s comprehensive print production knowledge.
“Our combined resources will create a print and mail powerhouse capable of printing over 75 million pages per day and mailing over 100 million pieces a month,” Dean Baker, CEO of Phoenix and President of the newly formed company, pointed out during an exclusive interview with Printing Impressions. Phoenix-ICS Group of Companies will provide traditional web offset, sheetfed offset, and toner and inkjet digital printing technologies; direct mail; commingle services; data solutions; fulfillment; and wide-format display and packaging printing.
“We are truly a single-source provider for Fortune 500 companies and middle-market enterprises,” Baker adds.
Phoenix-ICS Group of Companies' headquarters will be located within the Phoenix campus at 11631 Caroline Rd. in Philadelphia, which consists of three buildings totaling 300,000 sq. ft. under roof and approximately 400 employees. Additional production facilities include the 200,000-sq.-ft., 350-worker ICS plant in West Deptford, N.J.; the Phoenix-Veterans Print packaging printing operation in Woodridge, Ill.; and HighRoad Press, a woman-owned sheetfed printing operation in Moonachie, N.J., that caters to the high-end fashion, fragrance, and retail print markets.
Each location has its own specialization, while also providing business continuity and redundancy to the other facilities.
Baker told Printing Impressions that the partnership with ICS will enable Phoenix to cross-sell more direct mail services to its commercial printing customers, and for ICS to offer additional types of printing to direct marketers. ICS primarily serves the direct mail needs of the banking, lending, financial technology, nonprofit and retail markets, whereas Phoenix Lithographing caters to financial, pharmaceutical, insurance, consumer brands, telecommunications, and high-end art catalogs for auction houses, among other markets.
According to David Neff, a partner at ICS, with seven digital presses and about 55 inserters in operation, ICS can print and mail four to five million direct mail pieces per day. Phoenix's mail facility in Philadelphia will now produce self-mailers only, whereas all letter packages will now be produced at the ICS West Deptford plant. Aside from its strong expertise in IT, data processing, lettershop, and commingling services, ICS also offers in-house creative and database marketing services to help clients drive response rates.
ICS has a strong footprint in roll-to-roll inkjet printing, including a full-color Canon ColorStream with in-line perfing and punching, three Ricoh 5000 MP monochrome models, two full-color Ricoh 5000 GPs, and a full-color Ricoh VC 40000 press with in-line perfing and punching.
The Phoenix Lithographing facility in Philadelphia facility houses an extensive lineup of printing equipment, including nine (up to eight-color models) heatset and nonheatset web offset presses with various in-line finishing capabilities, three 40˝ Heidelberg LED-UV sheetfed offset presses, HP and Fuji wide-format printers, two 23x29˝ Fuji J Press 750S sheetfed inkjet presses, an HP Indigo 7K digital press, as well as two four-color Xerox iGen-5 presses, a Xerox Nuvera, and an iGen 150 printer.
The combined entity also remains privately owned — with Barry Green remaining as chairman of the Phoenix Group, and Matthew Bastian as principal owner of ICS — which Neff says is attractive to clients of both organizations who would prefer to do business with private ownership groups, rather than with the increasing number of graphic arts entities that are now owned by outside private equity firms. The Phoenix Group was ranked No. 41 on the 2020 Printing Impressions 350 ranking of the largest printers in the U.S .and Canada, reporting most recent fiscal year sales of $128.5 million. (Click here to access the entire PI 350 list.)
Steve Anello, vice chairman of Phoenix, first conceived the idea of joining forces and worked with Bastian, of ICS, to bring the parties together. “We’re excited that this union will allow ICS corporate clients to experience the diversity that the Phoenix Group of Companies offers through our minority-owned businesses,” Anello pointed out. “More and more companies are looking for easy-to-use, turnkey solutions, and very few suppliers can provide the resources and certifications we can to meet their Tier 1 diversity procurement goals.”
Businesses within the Phoenix-ICS Group of Companies umbrella meet several diversity classifications, including Minority-Owned Business (NMSDC), Disabled Combat Veteran-Owned Business, and Woman-Owned Business (WBENC).
The merger is a natural next step in an already good working relationship between Phoenix and ICS,” Bastian adds. “We have worked together for years to meet the print and mailing needs of many large direct mail clients, and are looking forward to our continued partnership.”
Major clients will benefit from the newly combined capabilities, Adam Travetti, VP of business development and direct mail expert, contends. “Every week, it seems, executives and procurement teams are talking about finding qualified, capable diversity suppliers like us.”