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Polestar triumphs at PPA Production and Environment Awards
Fri, 15 Mar 2013 12:03:00 GMT

Polestar had four plants shortlisted in the Magazine Printing Company of the Year category alone, where Polestar Chantry pipped Polestar Colchester and Polestar Bicester (formerly BGP) to the top spot. Both Colchester and Bicester were highly commended. The group's other two awards both went to its gravure supersite, Polestar Sheffield, which took home the awards for Environmentally Sustainable Supplier of the Year and Print Production Initiative of the Year, which was awarded for its work on The Amazing Spiderman issue of ShortList magazine. Polestar chief executive Barry Hibbert said: "This is fantastic news for us and a really appreciated vote of confidence by the magazine publishing industry at a time when Polestar is going through such an exciting period in our development." Rhapsody also had a good night at the annual event, which was held at London's Kings Place, collecting awards for both Pre-Media Company of the Year and Best Use of Technology to Enhance the Magazine Production Process, for its Emagine workflow. Gould Publication Papers picked up the gong for Magazine Paper Supplier/Merchant of the Year, beating Antalis and Sappi who were both highly commended. Meanwhile, on the publishing side Haymarket Media Group matched Polestar's triple triumph as it took home awards for Production Team of the Year, Environmentally Sustainable Business of the Year and the individual award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year, which went to head of production Gary Charlton for co-ordinating Haymarket's production of the official programmes and magazines for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Charlton said: "I'm delighted that the Haymarket production team's efforts have been recognised by the PPA. It is particularly pleasing to win in three categories, including the Environmentally Sustainable Business of the Year - Publisher. "This is the second year running that Haymarket has won this award. The judges comments were that Haymarket 'has built a longstanding and extraordinary environmental record, and heads the field in environmental best practice'. I am also very pleased to have won Outstanding Achievement." Visit the PPA website for the full list of winners and commendations from this year's awards. Tweet
Print revenues up at Trinity Mirror in 2012 results
Thu, 14 Mar 2013 10:03:00 GMT

The national and regional newspaper publisher said the increase in contract print revenues was evidence of the efficiency of the 26 full colour presses the group operates across its nine print sites. New chief executive Simon Fox, who joined the publisher in September 2012, said the group's print operations were well invested but that it would consider additional investment in its core plants "if they are supported by new long term third-party print contracts". The 7.6% gain in contract print revenues in 2012 was partially offset by the falling price of newsprint in the second half of the year, which reduced revenues from newsprint supplied to contract customers by £500,000 to £26.7m. In addition, the small increase in revenues from Trinity Mirror's printing division did little to offset declining advertising and circulation revenue, which fell 10.4% and 7.9% to £292.8m and £297.2m respectively. Group turnover for the 52 weeks ended 30 December 2012 was therefore down £54.2m year-on-year to £706.5m, with an estimated £12m of that decline due to the launch of rival national Sunday tabloid the Sun on Sunday in February 2012. Meanwhile, a £60m writedown in the carrying value of goodwill in Trinity's specialist digital classified recruitment and property business resulted in a dive in statutory operating and pre-tax profits, which fell 58.8% and 74.6% to £38.1m and £18.9m respectively. On an underlying basis operating profit increased 2.5% from £104.5m to £107.1m while pre-tax profit rose 7.4% to £98.7m (2011: £91.9m). At group level, the fall in newsprint price reduced Trinity's own costs by £17m versus 2011, while its cost saving initiatives also led to an £18.2m reduction in labour costs. Fox said that the group had been "highly effective in managing its cost base in recent years" adding that "this energy will remain undiminished". "We will remain focused on driving efficiency through the use of technology to simplify, centralise or outsource those processes which are non-consumer facing," he said, citing the recent outsourcing of around 110 pre-press, studio and ad creation positions to India-based Affinity Express as one example. The group will push for a further £10m in structural cost savings in 2013 and will also benefit from the fall in newsprint prices, while it plans to invest some £8m to accelerate its digital capabilities in 2013, rising to £15m a year going forward. Planned investment includes the launch of e-editions across all platforms for all of the group's regional titles by the end of the summer, as well as "greatly enhanced" web and mobile sites for the group's top 30 titles in 2013. The group also plans to invest in new digital businesses based around: building its sports content; building its regional news and commercial connections; and engaging new audiences. This could include "selective small scale acquisitions or partnership opportunities". "Our underlying performance in digital revenue has been far from satisfactory and our increased focus on this area will be a high priority for 2013 and beyond," said Fox. Post balance sheet events included the acquisiton of a 20% stake in Local World for £14.2m on 7 January 2013. Tweet
1st Byte showcases print options with 1st Book
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:03:00 GMT

The "1st Book" was launched at a customer seminar on Tuesday (12 March), where the digital printing specialist highlighted the range of creative possibilities using techniques such as white ink, clear ink, and raised ink using its pair of HP Indigo 7600 presses. Samples in the book include special substrates, such as Mirriboard, Folex and Yupo Tako, and easy-to-use colour charts showing the different metallic effects possible using Color Logic software. Managing director Lawrence Dalton said the firm wanted to highlight the possibilities of its cutting-edge digital printing kit and extensive in-house finishing capabilities. "We need to get the message over that designers can offer things they perhaps wouldn't have thought possible before," he explained. "We can proof it, tweak it, print it and you can still have it by Friday." The firm has developed extensive in-house finishing capabilities including case binding, die-cutting, foiling, folder making, round cornering and drilling in order to retain total control of the work being produced and the timescales involved. "We want designers to think 'I'll give 1st Byte a call' when they have something tricky to produce, or a new creative idea," Dalton added. 1st Byte currently runs a 24/6 operation, and Dalton said the £4m turnover, 44-employee firm was considering expanding its hours to include Sunday working. The invitation to the seminar demonstrated a number of the techniques being promoted. It featured a "triplex" sandwich of different boards: black and fuchsia Colorplan, plus silver Mirriboard. The printing included white, four-colour, metallic and raised ink effects, an embossed detail, and a "personalised foiling" effect using white ink over the silver board. HP Indigo marketing manager Julia Cole gave a presentation highlighting the powerful physical properties of print, and Premier Paper also provided attendees with an update on the firm's range of digital substrates and its carbon capture programme. Customer Juliana Ross, account director at Orbit Design Studio, praised 1st Btye's speed and quality: "1st Byte are very good at coming up with new ideas about what's possible, including foiling, embossing, and different types of binding such as lay-flat that has really helped us do some fantastic things - all done in record time," she said. The 1st Book has been produced in ring binder format and will be updated with new sections and samples as the firm develops new technique and substrate combinations. Tweet
CWU members vote in favour of downstream access boycott
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:03:00 GMT

The CWU threatened action before Christmas at what it perceives as unfair competition to Royal Mail from DSA providers - in spite of the fact Royal Mail has the freedom to set the access price it charges rivals for final mile delivery. A ballot of CWU members representing some 160,000 Royal Mail employees, carried out this morning, returned a unanimous vote in favour of the threat of a mail boycott "if Ofcom fails to protect the UK's mail service". It called for Ofcom to "immediately act in line with its statutory duty and intervene to protect the Universal service" and for minimum industry standards for postal workers (including DSA postal workers) "unerpinned by the Living Wage as a minimum for pay". CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: "This vote demonstrates the rising concerns among CWU members regarding changes to the postal service affecting jobs, services and performance standards. "Competition in the postal sector is not benefitting the public - prices are going up and the regulator is actively consulting on reducing services from six days a week to five or perhaps even less." However, a spokesman for regulator Ofcom strongly denied that it was consulting on reducing services: "We are analysing the needs of postal uses, so we've analysed how much people use and value six days a week, first class, that kind of thing and have invited stakeholders to comment on it. But we have absolutely no proposals to reduce the universal service from six days a week." Ward went on to highlight the plight of small businesses, which he said relied on the universal service. "Only big businesses with bulk mail contracts benefit from competition, yet we rarely see any evidence of them passing those price benefits onto their customers rather than just improving their own profits. "Competition is being allowed on the basis of low-pay and unreliable job security in private companies. That will be a disaster for the sector if it continues. We will take this action to protect jobs and services if the regulator doesn't fulfil its duty." The CWU has not yet released any details on how the proposed boycott - which DM printers have slammed as irresponsible and unrealistic - would work and has said it will publish further details in time for its annual conference in April. Tweet
Fedex Office uses Agfa Jeti to refurbish iconic Eartha globe
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 01:03:00 GMT

Originally installed in 1998 Eartha had become faded and the images delaminated, causing DeLorme to look for a firm that could help facelift the giant globe. "We'd been working with Fedex Office for a while on other printing projects, including our sales collateral," said DeLorme director of marketing Kim Stiver. "Our account representative said Fedex Office could help us redo the panels on Eartha with new printing technology that could prevent peeling and stand up to UV rays." Fedex Office used its combined printing and logistics experience to enable printing, delivery and installation of the restored panels to be carried out in stages, reducing the disruption to the client. It was printed at Fedex Office's Charlestown Massachusetts centralised production facility, one of 19 across the US. In total 792 panels, covering 5,400sq ft (540m2), were produced. It took 50 hours to print on an Agfa Jeti 3020 Titan UV-cured flatbed printer and 20 hours to cut on a Zünd G3 cutter. The material used was Coroplast Coro-paque Smooth, a lightweight twin wall co-polymer polypropylene. Printing direct to substrate and applying a UV clear coat resulted in a more robust replacement that won't delaminate and will withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight in DeLorme's glass atrium entrance without fading. A labelling system was developed to enable each panel to be identified by longitude and latitude. The panels were supplied in five shipments over 60 days at the end of 2012. Fedex Office is nearing the end of an 18 month programme to refresh its wide-format production with 15 Agfa Jeti Titan printers being installed across its network, all sites have small format colour and black & white digital and wide-format digital printing, with a number of larger sites operating industrial wide-format equipment. The firm claims to have the largest sign & digital capacity print capacity in the US. Tweet
John Lewis and Debenhams follow suit on supplier rebates
Tue, 12 Mar 2013 12:03:00 GMT

Last month, PrintWeek reported that Monsoon Accessorize had moved to charge suppliers a rebate of up to 4% on all invoices and imposed a similar blanket rebate for all new contractors. Now it has been revealed that it is not alone in demanding discounts on invoices. In a letter seen by PrintWeek, Debenhams told its suppliers there was an "expectation" that they would get a minimum cost price reduction of 2%, to be retrospectively applied to all orders due for delivery from 4 March onwards. The letter stated: "There is an increased focus within the business to optimise margin, given the strong trading performance in Home and resulting increase in business for suppliers." Suppliers are expected to "challenge back to factories" in order to deliver the required savings, the letter continued. Robert Downes of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) criticised the move saying that attempts to reduce prices on previously agreed contracts were "not only deplorable but lacked ethics". "These are simply punishing measures from a firm which only last week announced a profits warning, and who are looking to share their pain with certain suppliers whose products are proving popular." The implementation date of the rebates fell on the same day that the high street retailer announced in its first half trading update that January sales had fallen 10% year-on-year due to snow. The announcement knocked 15% off its share price. Similarly, John Lewis has written to its suppliers notifying them of a mandatory growth rebate, which ties them into making discounts of up to 5.25% should the sales of their products through the high street and online stores increase. A spokesperson for the high street retailer, which also owns Waitrose, said: "John Lewis has recently written to a small number of suppliers to discuss bringing their commercial agreements in line with the rest of our supply base. "We create partnerships with our suppliers with the intention of mutual growth and sharing the proceeds. The intention at all times is to develop a long-term business with benefits for our partners and a sustainable growth opportunity for our supply base. "All commercial agreements are confidential and are discussed and debated individually. As ever, a supplier retains the right to discuss all aspects of their commercial agreement with us and whether it is profitable for them to supply us." Downes branded John Lewis a "bully" and accused them of profiting at the expense of small businesses. "This isn't an either/or situation for suppliers - it's put up and shut up," he said. "It is an outrageous scheme cooked up by John Lewis to boost their own coffers purely at the expense of small business. What a way to treat your suppliers, who are effectively having their pockets picked by John Lewis on the back of strong trading. "It's not as if John Lewis is fighting the wolves from the door. Not a year goes by when they aren't gloating over increased profits, but hopefully the public can now see in part how they achieve that - and that's by abusing their supply chain." Tweet
St Ives shares hit high note following interim results
Tue, 12 Mar 2013 11:03:00 GMT

Sales in the 27 weeks to 1 February were down 2.8% to £161.7m, although if acquisitions and print closures are removed from the figures St Ives said this actually equated to an increase of 2.9% on a like-for-like basis. Underlying pre-tax profit increased by 10.1% to £12.2m. Print sales fell by 8.6% to £131.3m, but margins improved to 6.5% (2012: 6.1%). The group consolidated its Yorkshire direct response business from two sites to one during the period, after closing its Westerham Press and Blackburn sites in the prior year. Turnover at St Ives' marketing services division grew by 36.4% to £31.1m, driven by previous acquisitions in this area as well as organic growth. St Ives announced a further acquisition in this space yesterday (11 March), with the purchase of digital marketing agency Amaze. The results were complicated by changes to international financial reporting standards (IFRS), which meant St Ives has had to change the way contingent considerations related to its string of marketing services acquisitions are reported. Because of this, a £4.8m charge against the marketing services wing resulted in a £992,000 loss for the division. Underlying profit was £3.8m (2012: £2.2m), with margins increasing from 9.7% to 12.5%. The accounting changes do not have any affect on cashflow. Chief executive Patrick Martell said the group was "pleased to report another strong set of results" along with further progress in its plan to re-shape the business. Across its print operations, St Ives said the new Timsons/Kodak digital book production line at Clays would help mitigate the change in work mix as publishers switch to shorter run lengths. Service Graphics and SP both performed well, with Service Graphics benefiting from the Paralympics and SP renewing contracts with a number of important point-of-sale customers. The consolidated Direct Response business "improved significantly". Martell said: "We have completed the rationalisation of our print businesses by exiting commodity markets. The print businesses we still have remain integral to the group and are an important part of the offering alongside marketing services." New contract wins for the group overall included Innocent Drinks, Johnston Press, JD Williams and Pizza Hut. In a major turnaround, St Ives is also showing a £4m surplus on its pension scheme obligations, after reviewing the investment strategy and scheme assumptions regarding liabilities. "Five years ago the deficit was in excess of £50m, so this is quite significant," said finance director Matt Armitage. "We have worked very proactively with the trustees on our investments, and this has paid dividends." The group's net debt was reduced from £13.4m to £7m. Shares rose to a 52-week high of 138.63p in early trading, and were up 6p on yesterday's close at 136.5p at the time of writing. See this week's PrintWeek for more details. Tweet
IPIA spring networking event nears capacity
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 11:03:00 GMT

The lunch, which will once again be held at The Bank Restaurant in Birmingham, aims to bring printers and print buyers together to create new contacts and generate new business. Around 73 companies, including corporate print buyers, print managers, creative agencies, printers, paper companies, machinery manufacturers and marketing agencies, have booked seats at the event. Among those confirming their attendance so far are firms such as Communisis, Intelligent Finishing Systems, Konica Minolta, Mercian Labels, Sunline Direct, The Packaging Partnership and The Ryedale Group. IPIA chief executive Andrew Pearce said the event had attracted a lot of new businesses this year with 40% of delegates not having attended before. "That is really useful because it keeps things fresh and helps those who attend regularly to make new contacts." He added that the number of companies that had reserved seats for the event were in line with the same time last year and anticipated that final numbers would be around 90. The event, which is being run in partnership with the DMA, includes a three course meal preceded and rounded-off by drinks. All delegates receive a copy of the guest list prior to the event and are able to request to move tables for the desert and coffee course to maximise networking opportunities. Pearce said: "It's really helpful for our delegates to be able to request a table move because it enables them to really target who they want to talk to. If that means they come away with five or six sound contacts and they can convert one or two of them then it has been incredibly worthwhile for them." He added: "We live in a world where it is entirely possible to do business for quite a while without ever meeting people but making contacts through these kinds of events leads to a much deeper and long-term relationship." Delegates will also hear from guest speaker Sue Beardsmore, BBC broadcaster and journalist, who will give a humorous insight into her recent experiences of managing change and training communication skills. Those wishing to attend should contact [email protected] Tweet adds Avios to its reward programme
Mon, 11 Mar 2013 10:03:00 GMT

The partnership will allow users to get money off flights with seven airlines, including Air Malta, American Airlines, Aurigny, British Airways, Flybe, Iberia and Monarch. founder and executive director of Tangent Communications Nicholas Green said the partnership was "great news for our customers", adding that it was "one of the most exciting things we've ever done". "Avios is a great brand - just look at the company we're in - and this partnership means our customers are going to be able to use the reward points they collect from buying their business cards, letterheads, leaflets, flyers and so on to get air miles," said Green. "Up until yesterday our reward scheme members could convert their points into things from iPhones to spa days, and now they'll be able to get tickets to fly to Paris or anywhere just by doing their printing at" Avios was created following the 2010 merger of Airmiles' owner British Airways and Iberia. Other British Airways Executive Club partners include Tesco, Shell and American Express. Green said that the Reward Programme had been "a huge success" since its launch last summer. "In the average week we might have around 1,200 customers shopping with who are signed up to our reward programme and anywhere up to 400 odd customers redeeming." Andrea Burchett, director, partnerships, marketing & insight at Avios, said: "This new partnership with gives British Airways Executive Club members a great way of collecting Avios through their print spend to use to book exciting travel rewards."'s reward programme gives members between four and 10 points per £1 spent depending on amount spent and frequency of order, and also offers bonus points for things like submitting reviews, posting ideas and referring friends. Tweet
Colorplan goes global with new stockists
Fri, 08 Mar 2013 11:03:00 GMT

The firm has appointed exclusive stockists in the US and China, with New York's Legion Paper and Shanghai's Candoo now supplying the entire Colorplan range of coloured papers and boards. An intuitive new website,, allows designers and paper specifiers to experiment by juxtaposing colours from the Colorplan palette. Embossing effects can also be viewed, and the entire Colorplan swatch library can be downloaded. The new Colorplan website also includes short ‘hands on' videos to demonstrate how the various paper and board weights in the range behave in use. The Colorplan swatch book features innovative 'paper marquetry' to show off the brand's characteristics, as well as a comprehensive range of samples detailing the different weights, colours and embossings. Colorplan is available in eight weights from 100-700gsm, 50 colours and 25 different embossing. "The global launch has started in the UK with the new Colorplan website," said GF Smith joint managing director John Haslam, who explained that localised versions of the site would apply in America and China. "The site is beautiful, and we want designers to keep going back to it. It's also an inspirational and educational tool," Haslam added. "As the world of paper contracts, we are expanding," he said. Haslam plans to expand Colorplan's global reach with the appointment of further stockists in other territories in the coming months. "We are trying to find partners that have the same brand values as we do, that's important to us. People who appreciate design and quality, and who understand the value of paper," he said. The expansion has been influenced by major European brands that use Colorplan. "People want much higher ROI and they are considering paper types and ink. They want that impact to happen and that's where Colorplan is so powerful - it's such a beautiful, tactile product," Haslam added. He described the investment in the expansion as "considerable and ongoing". GF Smith called upon a host of creative and craft specialists to create the new Colorplan collateral. London's Made Thought was responsible for brand creation and the design of the swatch book and website; and the firm also worked with Colophon Foundry on a bespoke typeface for Colorplan. The website was built by Ico Design. Printing and paper marquetry of the swatch was by Push of south east London, with West Yorkshire's Wetherby Shade Card handling the specialist paper chipping required. R Young & Son Printers of Croydon printed the special Colorplan promotional business cards, which also feature paper marquetry. Tweet

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