Resolute Forest Products Inc. today announced that the province of Nova Scotia, represented by the minister of the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, has completed the purchase of all the shares of Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited for nominal consideration.
Bowater Mersey is the former joint venture between Resolute (51%) and The Washington Post Company (49%), formed to hold the Mersey newsprint mill, located in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, and other associated assets, including private timberlands, the Oakhill sawmill and Brooklyn Power Corporation. Resolute operated the Mersey newsprint mill until it was indefinitely idled in June of 2012.
Grainger today reported sales results for the month of November 2012. Sales increased 8 percent versus November 2011, and included 3 percentage points from price, 2 percentage points from sales of hurricane-related products, 2 percentage points from volume and 1 percentage point from acquisitions. The month of November 2012 had 21 selling days, the same as November 2011. While the 2012 fourth quarter will have one extra selling day versus the 2011 fourth quarter (64 versus 63 days), the company is forecasting minimal sales contribution due to timing of the holidays.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. announced today the acquisition of assets from Stevenson, Inc., a leading resource for newsletters and online events in fundraising, nonprofit management, and communications. These assets include six well-respected newsletters and a variety of online events and special reports. The acquisition will enable Wiley to expand its already robust strategy for digital delivery of content to the growing nonprofit market globally.
"The acquisition of the Stevenson assets enables Wiley to increase our presence in this important category and provide practical, must-have information to nonprofit professionals," said Debra Hunter, President, Jossey-Bass, and Vice President, Wiley Professional Development.
A key title in the acquisition is The Major Gifts Report, which is now in its fourteenth year of publication. This monthly publication describes ways for nonprofits to approach organizations for large, charitable gifts, along with how to use them most beneficially. Additional titles acquired by Wiley from Stevenson, Inc. include: The Volunteer Management Report, Successful Fundraising, The Nonprofit Communications Report, The Membership Management Report, and Special Events Galore.
Appleton Papers issued a response today following a preliminary determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce that Papierfabrik August Koehler AG and Koehler America, Inc. (collectively Koehler) deliberately coordinated with multiple parties to structure its sales, pricing and shipping procedures in a manner that would enable it to manipulate its sales prices of lightweight thermal paper (LWTP) reported to the Commerce Department. The Commerce Department also found Koehler's actions consistent with the company's pattern of price manipulation to evade antidumping duties.
The Commerce Department also noted this is Koehler's third time as a mandatory respondent to department requests for information and that the company is fully aware of its statutory duties in that regard.
As a result, the Commerce Department proposes to impose a duty of 75.36% on LWTP sold by Koehler into the U.S.
"We are pleased the Commerce Department confirmed our assertions that Koehler has been engaged in a scheme to defraud the Department by intentionally concealing certain otherwise reportable home market transactions," said Mark Richards, Appleton's chief executive office. "Koehler's contention that their actions were equivalent to a routine error normally accepted by the Commerce Department is completely without merit."
Consumer confidence declined more than expected in December, reaching a four-month low as Americans grew concerned about the possibility of higher taxes next year. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index decreased to 74.5 this month from 82.7 in November. Economists had projected a preliminary reading of 82 for December.
The metric of current conditions, which reflects consumers’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items, eased to 89.9 from 90.7 the prior month.
The Michigan index of consumer expectations six months from now, which projects the direction of consumer spending, decreased to a one-year low of 64.6 from 77.6 in October. Americans were more pessimistic about the outlook for their finances, the economy and the labor market, the report said.
The board of directors of Macy’s, Inc. today increased the company’s share repurchase authorization by $1.5 billion. This brings the remaining authorization outstanding, as of the end of the third quarter on Oct. 27, 2012, after giving effect to this increase, to $1.861 billion, which the company can use to purchase common shares from time to time in the open market or in other privately negotiated transactions.
“We remain committed to using our excess cash to enhance shareholder value through share buybacks and dividends,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc. “This reflects the strength of our company, and our confidence in our continuing ability to deliver growth in sales, earnings and cash flow.”
Since resuming its share repurchase program in August 2011, Macy’s, Inc. had bought back approximately 42.6 million shares for approximately $1.491 billion through Oct. 27, 2012.
Whole Living, the 10-times-a-year spiritual/lifestyle magazine owned by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia since Aug. 2004, folded on Dec. 6.
Per the New York Post (Dec. 7), MSLO CEO (since May 2011) Lisa Gersh was in negotiations to sell WL to TV Guide parent OpenGate Capital, but when the talks collapsed, the plug was pulled.
OpenGate CEO Andrew Nikou told the NYP that "the business was losing too much cash and need a lot more to operate as a going concern." Yet, the financial circumstances at TV Guide were somewhat similar in Oct. 2008 when Nikou picked up TVG from Rovi Corp. for $1 plus assumption of debt. (The difference was that TVG had a greater cash flow.)
Whole Living was the Massachusetts-based Body + Soul when then-MSLO CEO Sharon Patrick engineered the purchase from Dr. Andrew Weil's New Age Media eight years ago. Renaming came in June 2010, but WL's 760,606 circulation (per the Alliance for Audited Media/first-half 2012) was deemed too small in competing with much larger rivals Fitness, Prevention, Self, and Shape. Ad pages in 2012 totaled 528.65 (per min's boxscores), -5.70% versus 2011.
The Competition Directorate-General of the EU Commission has completed the first phase of its investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the transaction between Ahlstrom's Label and Processing business and Munksjö AB and opened an in-depth (second phase) investigation into the proposed combination with respect to abrasive backings and pre-impregnated decor paper. The Commission now has 90 working days, until April 29, 2013, to take a final decision on whether the combination would significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Ahlstrom and Munksjö AB continue to work closely with the Commission in order to allow the Commission to complete its review as quickly as possible, aiming at a completion of the demerger of Ahlstrom's Label and Processing business in Europe and other related measures forming the first phase of the planned transaction during the first quarter of 2013. It is, however, possible that the completion of the first phase of the planned transaction will not take place until the second quarter of 2013.
Sappi Fine Paper North America and the United Steelworkers (USW) announce the ratification of a new labor agreement.
With contract negotiation now complete, the Cloquet mill can continue to concentrate on producing world-class paper and completing the $170 million capital project to convert the pulp mill to specialised cellulose.
A two-story electrical fire at one of Verso Paper Corp.’s pulp machines in Bucksport was extinguished Thursday night by local firefighters and the company’s emergency crew.
A Verso worker reported the fire around 8:15 p.m. after seeing smoke at the mill’s Thermo-Mechanical Pulp plant. The blaze apparently began at a cable tray, where power, computer and other wires collect together, according to Verso spokesman Bill Cohen.
There was a lot of thick smoke, and open flames, but no one was hurt, Cohen said. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Bucksport Fire Chief Craig Bowden said that when his fire crew arrived, a corrugated metal wall near the cable tray was burning, and the fire had spread over two stories and multiple levels of machinery.
“We focused on the actual structural part that was burning,” Bowden said. “They have electricians on duty who came in and shut down power in certain areas so we could get in.”
The fire was extinguished within about 15 minutes, Bowden said, but crews from Bucksport, Orrington, Orland and Verso’s Plant Emergency Group worked for another hour to extinguish stray wood chips and dust.
“We started at the top and washed it down because all those chips were still smoldering,” he said. “We went from the top, then down a level and so on until we were at the drains.”
Cohen said the mill continued operations throughout the episode, but that the Thermo-Mechanical Pulp machine is still shut down for repairs. He said the company had no estimates about when it will be running again, or what financial losses Verso would incur through reparations and machine downtime.
Transcontinental Inc. ended fiscal 2012 on a very good note, with revenues up 12.2 percent (from $521.6 million to $585.1 million ) in the fourth quarter. This increase is mainly due to the acquisition of Quad/Graphics Canada and acquisitions in the Media Sector, namely Redux Media. Excluding acquisitions and closures, and the impact of fluctuations in the exchange rate and paper, organic revenue growth was $0.8 million, or 0.2 percent.
Fourth-quarter adjusted operating income rose 20.5 percent, from $80.0 million to $96.4 million. This increase stems mainly from the synergies from the integration of Quad/Graphics Canada, the optimization of the operational structure of digital operations and a higher volume from educational book publishing activities.
Adjusted net income applicable to participating shares, which excludes unusual items and discontinued operations, rose 13.6 percent, from $54.5 million to $61.9 million, or $0.77 per share.
Net income applicable to participating shares declined, from $30.8 million to a loss of $51.9 million. This decrease stems mainly from a $57.2 million impairment charge of the carrying value of our U.S. deferred tax asset related to a decrease of activities in this country.
Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced results from its recent Consumer Print Usage Survey on Facebook®. Results indicate that while digital is key with Millennial shoppers (ages 18-34), traditional print media also plays an important role in the group's shopping routines and are not only instrumental in decision-making, but often serve as a catalyst to online shopping.
Valassis' Consumer Print Usage Survey revealed 91% of Millennials who use newspaper inserts do so to save money, and 60% said they would shop less without newspaper inserts. Newspaper inserts guide Millennials prior to shopping in several ways: by alerting them to sales (68%); driving them to purchase (51%); reminding them of a need (46%); helping them decide where to buy (35%); and alerting them of a product or service (26%). Survey results also uncovered 30% of Millennial newspaper insert users go online after seeing a product or service in a newspaper insert.
"While Millennials are clearly heavy digital users, learnings from the survey reveal that they are still influenced by print, including newspaper inserts," said Larry Berg, Vice President and General Manager of Valassis Solutions. "These findings indicate the powerful way traditional print and digital media work together to drive consumers from awareness to action as well as how the traditional path to purchase has evolved and is no longer linear."
Rite Aid Corporation today announced sales results for November.
For the five weeks ended Dec. 1, 2012, same store sales decreased 3.0 percent over the prior-year period. November front-end same store sales decreased 0.5 percent. Pharmacy same store sales, which included an approximate 897 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, decreased 4.2 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 2.2 percent over the prior-year period.
Same store sales for the 13-week period ended Dec. 1, 2012 decreased 1.5 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same store sales increased 1.1 percent while pharmacy same store sales decreased 2.7 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.6 percent over the prior-year period.
Same store sales for the 39-week period ended Dec. 1, 2012 increased 0.3 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same store sales increased 1.7 percent while pharmacy same store sales decreased 0.4 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.5 percent over the prior-year period.
Quad/Graphics, Inc. and Vertis Holdings, Inc. jointly announced today that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved the companies’ proposed sale agreement, clearing the way for the sale to close. The companies are in the final stages of integration planning and expect to close the transaction in January.
Quad/Graphics and Vertis first announced on October 10, 2012, the execution of an agreement through which Quad/Graphics will acquire substantially all of the assets comprising Vertis’ businesses. Vertis simultaneously filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 relief to complete the sale as efficiently as possible while maintaining continuity for its clients and employees.
Vertis and Quad/Graphics will continue to operate separately and independently until the sale closes.
Santiago, Chile-based Empresas CMPC said that its Board of Directors today approved the expansion of the company's Guaiba mill, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
"This investment is a milestone for CMPC, the largest in the company's history," said said Mr. Hernan Rodriguez, CEO of CMPC. "The Guaiba II project will almost double our market share of global pulp and help us meet growing demand for high quality wood pulp from clients in all our markets."
"This important decision taken by the Board of Directors is another step in CMPC's internationalization, and takes our total investment in Brazil to US$4.5 billion," Rodriquez said.
According to CMPC, the project consists of the construction and operation of a new bleached eucalyptus pulp production line, with a total capacity of 1.3 million tons per year.
The new pulp production line will be in addition to the existing bleached eucalyptus line at the site, which currently has an annual capacity of 450,000 tons per year.
CMPC expects the new second line to begin producing pulp by the first quarter of 2015.
With this investment, CMPC will increase its pulp production capacity to 4.1 million tons per year.
The Newsweek Daily Beast Co. is beginning a round of layoffs expected ever since the company announced it would close the print edition of Newsweek at year's-end. On Thursday, CEO Baba Shetty and Editor in Chief Tina Brown sent an email to newsroom staffers, noting: “The sad moment has arrived when we must go forth with the editorial staff reductions that we discussed in person with all of you several weeks ago. Employees in the affected positions will be notified today.”
According to various press reports, the company will lose about $40 million this year. In the first nine months of 2012, total ad pages are up 1.5% to 509, according to the Publishers Information Bureau; however, that’s down 62.5% from 1,360 in the same period of 2006. Newsweek’s total print circulation fell from 3,142,281 in the six-month period ending June 2006 to 1,497,808 in the six-month period ending June 2012, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Brown also announced that Newsweek executive editor Justine Rosenthal has been promoted to editorial director for the company, while Newsweek International Executive Editor Tunku Varadarajan has been promoted to editor of Newsweek Global. Deirde Depke has been promoted to the position of editor of The Daily Beast.
Member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) remain committed to the promises made to Canadians, rural communities, the environment and the marketplace under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) and will continue to work hard with environmental partners on its implementation.
Greenpeace has announced it has abandoned the agreement but all other signatories remain at the table, dedicated to both the spirit and the letter of the CBFA. The agreement is aimed at conserving both the Boreal forest and ensuring economic prosperity while taking joint responsibility for success.
“This historic agreement has been widely lauded around the world for embracing a new paradigm of co-operation and it’s unfortunate that Greenpeace has decided to walk away. However forest companies remain committed and will continue working on implementation.” says the President and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. “The CBFA is a very complex deal with a wider scope than any other agreement ever reached anywhere in the world. Progress has not been as fast as originally hoped but we fully intend to keep working with conservation groups and foundations as well as Aboriginals, communities and the federal and provincial governments until we get it done.”
Progress under the CBFA includes: 29 million hectares of caribou-sensitive habitat that continues to be suspended from logging; a win-win solution in north-east Ontario that protected caribou while increasing wood supply to support mills and communities; and a substantial blueprint for caribou action planning at the national level that is the most comprehensive work in this area ever reached. Signatories are now making progress across the country to implement the agreement: four regional groups are active in Quebec, in North-East and North-West Ontario and in Alberta; work plans are under development in Newfoundland, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; Aboriginals and provincial governments are increasingly engaged.
AAA’s Fuel Gage Report as of 12/07/12
National Unleaded Regular:
Current Average - $3.371/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.462/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.286/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.114/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Average - $4.001/gallon
Month Ago Average - $4.021/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.928/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.845/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Exchange Rates as of 12/07/12
American Dollar to Canadian Dollar = 1.007239
American Dollar to Chinese Yuan = 0.160601
American Dollar to Euro = 1.293009
American Dollar to Japanese Yen = 0.012146
American Dollar to Mexican Peso = 0.077643
Oil headed for its first weekly decline since October in New York as lower economic growth forecasts for Germany and an earthquake in Japan fanned concern that fuel consumption may be curtailed.
West Texas Intermediate futures fell as much as 0.4 percent as the Bundesbank sliced more than 1 percentage point off its forecast for economic expansion in Germany next year after the sovereign debt crisis pushed the euro area into recession. A tsunami alert was issued after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Japan’s northeast coast.
“Concerns about demand have currently gained the upper hand,” said Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “We regard the scale of the price slide as exaggerated and expect prices to recover.”
Crude for January delivery was at $85.93 a barrel, down 33 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:39 a.m. London time.
NewBay Media has acquired U.K.-based Intent Media, which produces business publications, websites and events within the entertainment, technology and leisure markets. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal between NewBay, which was formed in 2006 by the sale of United Business Media's CMP Entertainment Media division, and Intent Media, which purchased several brands from United Business Media last year, returns several brands to single ownership.
Those properties include Installation, Pro Sound News and Pro Sound News Europe, Systems Contractor News, TV Technology (which now incorporates TV Broadcast) and TVB Europe.
As global consumption of paper products continues to decline, Port Hawkesbury Paper LLC is looking at diversifying its grades of paper to offset the drop.
The former NewPage Port Hawkesbury paper mill in Point Tupper, bought for $33 million by Pacific West Commercial Corp., an affiliate of Stern Partners Inc. of Vancouver, roared its supercalendered paper machine to life in October after a year sitting idle.
The market in the United States for supercalendered paper, used for magazines, catalogues and newspaper inserts, is roughly two million tonnes annually, while the lightweight coated paper market is nearly 3.5 million tonnes, Ron Stern said Wednesday.
“This mill has the capability of expanding its grade mix so you will see us trying — and I think we will — sell more and more paper,” Stern told The Chronicle Herald’s editorial board.
“So, yes, the supercalendered business is one grade, but we will be selling paper that will be a substitute for lightweight coated paper as you would see to a greater degree in magazines.”
In October, the mill produced almost 900 tonnes of paper a day, 20 per cent more than initially projected. Those numbers dipped in November because an electrical glitch shut down the machine for three days.
“So the startup was remarkable, to be able to start something of that scale,” Stern said, adding that the facility is “probably the best physical paper mill in North America”
Walgreens had November sales of $5.85 billion, a decrease of 3.9 percent from $6.09 billion for the same month in fiscal 2012.
Total front-end sales decreased 0.3 percent compared with the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales decreased 1.7 percent. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 4.9 percent while basket size increased 3.2 percent.
Sales in comparable stores decreased by 6.2 percent in November. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 0.2 percentage point, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 5.7 percentage points.
Twin Rivers Paper Company, a leader in lightweight specialty packaging, label and publishing papers, expands its portfolio with a fluorochemical-free, oil and grease-resistant paper. Used in food service and quick serve restaurant (QSR) packaging, Acadia® EcoBarrier offers the same functionality and performance benefits of the Acadia brand with oil and grease resistance achieved without the use of fluorochemicals.
“The QSR and food service industry are increasingly seeking fluorochemical-free alternatives for their packaging designs. Acadia® EcoBarrier answers this need,” says Dave Deger, Director of Business Development and Marketing. “We believe this product will play an important role in the future as part of our comprehensive and growing portfolio of packaging papers.”
Twin Rivers’ packaging papers are known for their excellent printability and convertability, with high performance in secondary processes such as coating, waxing, foil and film laminating, and metallizing. Acadia®, an uncoated machine-finished paper, is available in a basis weight range of 15-75 lbs. and Bladepak C1S coated paper is available in a basis weight range of 35-73 lbs. All are FDA-compliant, meeting the requirements for direct food contact.
UPS announced 6.5 percent air increases partially offset by a 2 percent fuel surcharge reduction, and 5.9 percent average ground increase offset by a 1 percent fuel surcharge reduction. Rate increases will take effect Dec. 31, 2012.
Similarly, FedEx announced average rate increases of 5.9 percent for express and international services, offset by a 2 percent reduction in fuel surcharges. FedEx hasn't yet announced 2013 increases for FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery or FedEx SmartPost, although it's expected to match the UPS ground increases highlighted above. FedEx's rate increases take effect Jan. 6, 2013.
Shippers should take note that the ground minimum shipment charge will increase from $5.49 to $5.84, a 6.4 percent increase. Many accessorial charges are as much as 10 percent higher in 2013. Address correction fees, delivery area surcharges, residential surcharges, on-call pickup fees, delivery intercept, declared value and many other fees are well above the "average" increases announced.
Hachette Book Group has developed new e-book pricing terms that are now being adopted by e-book vendors. Terms are confidential, but in keeping with the settlement with the Department of Justice, vendors are free to discount individual titles. Earlier this year, HarperCollins changed its e-book pricing policy, leaving Simon & Schuster as the only one of the three publishers who reached a settlement with the DoJ not to have yet changed its terms.
A spot check of some HBG e-books on Amazon found the Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and Evelyn Waugh’s new e-books priced at $9.99, while Merry Christmas, Alex Cross was $11.04 and The Casual Vacancy, originally announced and on sale by HBG at $19.99, was selling at $12.74.
SCA said that within its Forest Products segment it intends to reduce staff at its Ortviken paper mill in Sundsvall, Sweden by 45 employees and about 10 additional employees in its Transforest’s terminals in Sundsvall and Umea
"We have a weak market for publication papers and at the same time overcapacity among paper producers in Western Europe and North America,” explained Kristina Enander, mill manager at the Ortviken paper mill. "At the same time we have a strong Swedish krona, which puts even more pressure on profitability for the Swedish export industry. It is necessary for us to take measures to improve profitability.”
The Ortviken paper mill produces coated publication papers, LWC (lightweight coated) and newsprint on four paper machines and has an annual production capacity of 880,000 tons of paper.
SCA said 45 out of 800 of the Ortviken paper mill's extra staff and consultants will become redundant due to the cost cutting measures.
“In the first half of the financial year we have transformed our ability to serve customers on a pan-European basis. Though markets remain challenging, we are well placed to create further significant value for our investors through the robust performance of our corrugated and plastic packaging businesses, allied to acquisition synergy benefits that are ahead of our initial expectations.”
? Revenue +61.6% to £1,671.8m (H1 2011/2012: £1,034.5m)
? Adjusted operating profit(1) +57.3% to £123.2m (H1 2011/2012: £78.3m)
? Profit before tax (1) + 62.5% to £106.1m (H1 2011/2012: £65.3m)
? Free cash flow +175.3% to £151.8m (H1 2011/2012: £55.1m)
? ROACE(1)+80bps, to 13.7% (H1 2011/2012: 12.9%)
? Return on sales(1) -20bps to 7.4% (H1 2011/2012: 7.6%)
? EPS(1) + 15.8% to 8.8p (H1 2011/2012: 7.6p)
? Interim dividend per share + 31.6% to 2.5p (H1 2011/2012: 1.9p)
? Profit after tax £44.2m (H1 2011/2012: £34.8m)
These results include four months’ contribution from the acquisition of SCA Packaging completed on 30 June. As previously announced, DS Smith has revised its reporting structure to reflect more fully the significant change in its pan-European business going forward.
Oil traded near its lowest price in a week in New York as inventories of fuels such as heating oil rose by the most since July and U.S. lawmakers struggled to reach agreement on a budget plan.
West Texas Intermediate was little changed after declining a second day yesterday as U.S. distillate stockpiles climbed 3.03 million barrels, according to the Energy Department. They were forecast to gain 850,000 barrels. Crude also dropped amid disagreement between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in talks to avert more than $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.
“Supplies are plentiful going into early 2013, which would cushion any surprise disruptions,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. “Uncertainty over the U.S. debt reduction negotiations is seeing very cautious trading in crude at the moment.”
WTI crude for January delivery was at $88.10 a barrel, up 22 cents, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:55 a.m. London time. Prices fell 62 cents yesterday to close at $87.88 a barrel, the lowest since Nov. 28.
Trade magazine advertising revenue declined 7.4 percent in August compared with August 2011. For the first eight months of 2012, that’s an aggregate decline of 4.4 percent compared with the first eight months of 2011, according to the latest data in ABM’s BIN report.
For the 22 categories that comprise the BIN data, five showed ad sales revenue growth for August: manufacturing (+5.2%), science (+5.9%), agriculture (+8.5%), travel (+14.0%) and architecture (+23.2%).
Looking at aggregate numbers of advertising print pages, the overall decline was more pronounced. In August, print advertising pages dropped 9.8 percent compared with August 2012, and for the year to date, the industry has lost 8.9 percent of its ad pages.
There were a few bright spots in the page count data as well, however. Since the revenue decline is lagging the page count decline, it is reasonable to deduce that ad rates are rising on a per-page basis. In some vertical markets, there is no decline at all. Of the 22 top-level vertical groupings tracked by IMS, two categories have seen ad page counts and dollar revenue in both in August and year-to-date go up: travel, business conventions and meetings; and architecture, design and lighting. The travel group saw page counts rise 5.0 percent in addition to its dollar volume rise of 14.0 percent in August. The architecture group saw page counts rise 5.0 percent and sales volume rise 23.2 percent in August.
The US Postal Service made a $61m profit in October, and even achieved 5.6% growth in its mail and services revenues compared to the same month last year.
And for the full year, the world’s largest postal service is now projecting that it will cut its losses in half, to $7.6bn for the fiscal year 2013.
The struggling Postal Service has been teetering on the edge of liquidity over the past year, defaulting on $11bn worth of payments to the federal government in August and September. Planning on a $14bn loss for fiscal year 2012, USPS actually recorded a $15.9bn loss for the 12 months up to the end of September, including the payments it refused to make.
Latest results show that the festive season peak is now beginning to feed in much-needed funds to help USPS through the winter, with hopes that the US Congress will make critical reforms to its out-of-kilter pension and healthcare payment arrangements.
With West Coast port workers back on the job Wednesday, U.S. retailers and trade groups were turning focus back to negotiations to stop a potentially more damaging port strike in the East.
Retailers ranging from Target and American Eagle to Home Depot told Reuters they have their holiday merchandise in place and the eight-day long strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would not upset plans.
However, a second, wide-reaching strike on the U.S. East and Gulf coasts could change that for the upcoming spring/summer season, for which merchandise will start to ship soon.
"Potentially, the strike on the East Coast is going to be a much bigger strike. This potential strike (would span) Maine to Texas, so the effects could be bigger," said Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation.
The collective bargaining agreement between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX) was originally set to expire on Sept. 30. That agreement was extended to December 29, averting a potential strike that would stop deliveries to ports along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts during the holiday retail season.
American Eagle Paper Mills of Tyrone, Pennsylvania introduces their new product, Eagle Armour Copy. New to the market, this recycled, multipurpose copy paper is treated with Biomaster silver ion technology to provide antimicrobial protection to the paper itself against unwanted microorganisms such as mold, mildew, fungus and non-pathogenic bacteria.
“American Eagle Paper Mills is proud to have successfully manufactured this paper to incorporate an antimicrobial agent within the paper without sacrificing its performance or appearance,” said John Ferner, President of American Eagle Paper Mills. “The Rochester Institute of Technology performed laboratory tests on the print quality and found no noticeable difference on the treated paper versus the untreated control paper,” Ferner continued.
According to BiomasterUSA LLC, supplier of the EPA registered antimicrobial silver technology used in the Eagle Armour Copy paper, silver is an element found naturally in the environment and has long been regarded as a versatile antimicrobial agent. The silver ions interact with a wide range of molecular processes within microorganisms resulting in a range of effects from inhibition of growth, loss of energy production, and prevention of DNA replication and new cell formation, thereby accounting for the high efficacy of Biomaster as an antimicrobial agent.
Gawker Media, the online publishing network that's home to popular blogs like Gawker, Gizmodo, and Jezebel, has purchased Guanabee, an English-language site focused on Latino news and culture, for an undisclosed amount. The purchase comes as Gawker founder and CEO Nick Denton seeks to expand Gawker's international influence and, as Business Insider reports, "to accelerate growth in Latin America."
In addition to acquiring Guanabee, Gawker Media is launching a site in Hungary (where much of the company's tech staff is based) and working on a deal to expand its reach in India.
Guanabee's founder, Daniel Mauser, will run Gizmodo en Español, a Spanish-language version of the company's technology-focused site. Gawker and Guanabee have worked together as advertising partners in the past, and Guanabee Media once shared office space at Gawker's New York City HQ.
Guanabee is best known for its humorous, often irreverent take on media and pop culture and for its incredibly loyal readership. On his reasoning for selling the site, Mauser explains that he was intrigued by Gawker's development of its new platform, which came up during discussions with its founder, Nick Denton. "So when he proposed that I help him launch Gizmodo en Español, (Gizmodo is my favorite tech site) and bring Guanabee with me, I could not say no."
Neenah Paper now offers the new ENVIRONMENT® Retail Card, a 100-percent, paper-based stored value card that gives retailers a green alternative to plastic or other less eco-friendly card options. The new retail card is also the brightest paper-based card available.
A stored-value card has monetary value or data physically stored on the card and is commonly used by retailers in the form of gift cards, loyalty cards and bounceback cards. These are often made with materials that are not recyclable and have a greater negative impact on the environment.
“As the retail card industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, retailers are demanding more options and specifically greener alternatives,” said Elizabeth Corbett, director of packaging sales for Neenah Paper. “Consumers today expect retailers to embrace green products and practices and now retailers have a more sustainable choice.”
Neenah’s ENVIRONMENT Retail Card, made from 40-percent recycled fiber, is FSC® certified, manufactured with Green Energy and recyclable. The new card is available in both gloss and silk finishes in 97 bright white, making it the brightest paper-based gift card available. It offers excellent printability on both finishes and can accept embossing, foil stamping and laminates as well as magnetic stripes and bar codes. With a lifespan of one to two years based on moderate use, other uses for the ENVIRONMENT Retail Card include loyalty membership cards and hotel room keys.
A strike has crippled two California shipping ports and could leave some retailers with sparse shelves toward the end of the holiday shopping season if it continues.
About 450 clerical workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union went on strike a week ago at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. But the work stoppage quickly became more serious as an additional 10,000 port workers refused to cross the striking workers' picket lines.
Despite agreeing to federal mediation Tuesday, the Local 63 Office Clerical Unit says it plans to continue its strike. It has accused the ports' managing group, the Harbor Employers Association, of outsourcing jobs.
The strike has essentially shut down 10 of 14 terminals at the two ports, backing up cargo and delaying shipments.
"The majority of our members have been impacted," says Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation. "Cargo that's already arrived is just sitting at the port. Right now there isn't a whole lot they can do."
Gold says the NRF, which has more than 9,000 members, is still working to assess the economic impact. The NRF notes in one of its letters to President Obama calling for an intervention that a 10-day West Coast ports lockout in 2002 cost the economy an estimated $1 billion a day.
UPM Raflatac has recently achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification for the manufacture, slitting and sales of pressure sensitive labelstock produced at its factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To achieve this certification, the Rio operation implemented a quality management system conforming to the ISO 9001:2008 standard that demonstrated strong customer focus, consistent and reliable production processes, and a commitment to continuous improvement.
The certification of the Rio de Janeiro factory is an extension of UPM Raflatac’s global ISO 9001:2008 certificate. The company’s factories in Australia, China, Finland, France, Malaysia, Poland, South Africa, Spain,Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA have also developed quality management systems that conform to the ISO 9001:2008 standard.
Hearst Magazines has 800,000 paying app customers, and 80 percent of them are new to Hearst brands, making mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, a major new business for the company—and for the magazine industry, Hearst president David Carey said last week at the Mashable Media Summit.
And yet, at the same time, mobile remains both a friend and a foe, and print magazines remain the state of the art for certain kinds of media consumption—including young consumers, Carey said.
In a fast-paced but wide-ranging interview before 200 or so attendees at the conference, held at the Times Center in Midtown Manhattan, Carey pointed to the launches of the Food Network Magazine in 2009 and HGTV Magazine this year as proof of the enduring demand for new print product. In fact, Carey said, Hearst is likely to test another new print magazine next year. He did not indicate which market might be tested or the prospective brand, and Todd Wasserman, business editor of Mashable, who interviewed Carey, did not follow up.
“For glossy, high-design, tactile magazines, we are in an aspirational business and magazines will always be the preferred medium for inspiring those dreams,” Carey said. “These glossy aspirational things—they work great in print. Magazines transport you to a different place.”
Still, Carey said, Hearst is devoting a lot of effort to the tablet business especially. Cosmopolitan is the number-one magazine in the world on tablets, with 180,000 subscriptions, he said. What’s more, Hearst has an in-house app lab dedicated to understanding what consumers want in an app. “Do people want a whole new product, or do they want just a mobile version of a magazine?” Carey asked. “We’ve found that most people just want a mobile version of the magazine itself, with some enhancements.”
Another conclusion Hearst has made is that while tablets are a consumer-revenue model, and the Web is an ad-revenue model, mobile phones are also primarily consumer-revenue, but much tougher to crack.
Direct mail is a trusted channel, in every sense of the word. Indeed, four in 10 consumers say they prefer to receive sensitive health information in sealed envelopes from their mailboxes, according to Epsilon's 2012 Channel Preference Study, released today. The reason: Privacy issues with email.
“Consumers don't trust the new media as much as they do regular mail when it comes to personal information, says Epsilon SVP of product marketing and insights Warren Storey. “They feel more secure with direct mail because they can touch it, open it in private, and store it more easily.”
It's also harder for important envelopes to get lost in the shuffle. Seventy percent of the nearly 2,000 U.S. consumers responding to the survey said they received more emails in the past year than they did the year before. More than a third of consumers also singled out insurance and financial services as industries from which they preferred postal mail. Email is favored, Storey says, for hobbies and interests that people are more directly engaged in and which present fewer privacy concerns.
“What we tell our clients is that there is a level of trust you need to gain with consumers through traditional media,” Storey says “Though social media is gaining in importance, traditional media still leads in numbers and in trust. So it's important to build a strong presence with radio, TV, or print and then using new channels to connect further with consumer segments based on their behaviors.”
Storey adds that Epsilon's study detected little variance in the trust issue across different age groups or regional locations. Gender did produce slight different attitudes toward social media, however. “Women are more trusting of recommendations from family and friends,” he notes. “Men trust emails more.”
The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor declined 2.7 points to 95.4 in November from 98.1 in October, reflecting lower consumer confidence in personal finances. However, consumers indicated that they intend to spend more in December during the holiday season. The Monitor is a 5-year-old daily poll tracking economic confidence and spending intentions of nearly 8,200 consumers throughout the month.
The percentage of consumers rating the U.S. economy as good or excellent remained the same as October at 18 percent, up 10 percentage points from November 2011.
In November 2012, 51 percent of consumers viewed the economy as poor, an 11-point decrease from November 2011.
Female respondents who rated the economy as good or excellent in November increased 2 percentage points to 18 percent compared to October. However, male respondents who rated the economy as good or excellent declined 3 percentage points from October, also to 18 percent.
Remaining at a Monitor high, 35 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, a 16-point year over year improvement from November 2011.
Brent crude oil slipped towards $110 a barrel on Tuesday as weak manufacturing data and protracted U.S. budget negotiations fanned concerns about the health of the global economy and the prospects for energy demand.
But simmering tensions in the Middle East including a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Gaza and worsening unrest in Syria helped support prices.
Brent futures slipped 20 cents by 0855 GMT to $110.72 per barrel. On Monday Brent broke through a key resistance level to close below its 200-day moving average of above $111.
U.S. crude slipped 15 cents to $88.94 per barrel.
As organizations like the Federal Trade Commission issue revised guides to help ensure marketers make accurate claims about their products' environmental benefits, the American Consumer Institute (ACI) Center for Citizen Research today issued a new report that compares competing forest certification systems. The report examines the actual implementation of forest management practices compared to management plan claims, particularly by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The discrepancies between the implementation and the perception of these certification programs could significantly impact timberland economics in the United States.
ACI President Steve Pociask stated, "ACI's earlier research on flawed FSC standards exposed that well-intentioned consumers could be paying as much as 20 percent more for sustainable forest products that fall far short of environmental expectations. This study details just how varied and inconsistent FSC's forest management practices are and underscores how FSC's allies have misinformed consumers of forest products across the country." Its findings also support the idea that policies supporting all credible forest certification programs lead to responsible land management rather than one that promotes FSC exclusively.
The report, "Comparing Forest Certification Standards in the U.S., Part I: How Are They Being Implemented Today?" was authored by Brooks Mendell, Ph.D. and Amanda Lang, forestry experts with Forisk Consulting. It analyzed the implementation of three prominent forest certification programs in the U.S.; FSC, American Tree Farm System (ATFS), and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
The report found that in the United States, forest management programs "were ambiguous, particularly FSC, with respect to certain certification criteria." The authors encourage customers of forest certification to question how these programs are actually implemented on the ground compared to specific program claims related to forest management.
While most newspapers have tried to protect their newsrooms from sweeping personnel cuts, once the business side is trimmed, the axe inevitably begins to fall among editorial staff.
In a memo to employees on Monday, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said she was hoping to find 30 newsroom managers (who don’t belong to a union) to accept buyout offers -- and warned that the company would resort to layoffs if it can’t find recruits.
In the memo, Abramson bluntly noted: “There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced.” If all 30 buyout offers find takers, it will reduce the newsroom staff from around 1,150 people to 1,120, or 2.6%.
TheNYT’s newsroom staff is currently about the same size it was in 2003, according to a report in the newspaper, while the business side has reduced its workforce by over 60%.
News Corporation today announced that Dow Jones Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal Robert Thomson will become the CEO of the new proposed publishing entity, following the Company's intended separation into two independent, publicly traded companies.
In keeping with the company's 60-year heritage of bringing news to the world, the publishing entity will retain the name News Corporation. The media and entertainment company, which began in earnest when Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch acquired 20th Century Fox and launched the Fox Network more than 25 years ago, will be named Fox Group.
As previously announced, Rupert Murdoch will serve as Chairman of the new News Corporation and Chairman and CEO of Fox Group. Chase Carey will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of Fox Group, with James Murdoch continuing in his capacity as Deputy Chief Operating Officer. Under their collective leadership, Fox Group will continue to strengthen its creative content businesses and distribution assets, including enhancing its sports portfolio through key investments in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
"This is an incredibly exciting time, for me personally, and for our companies' ambitious futures," said Rupert Murdoch. "The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater."
News Corporation is undergoing some structural changes and will be eliminating its daily iPad-only news app, The Daily, on December 15. The brand “will live on in other channels,” says the company in a statement.
“From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation,” says chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch in a press release. “Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term. Therefore, we will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties.”
As initially reported by FOLIO:, News Corp. had spent more than $30 million on development of The Daily. In February 2011, it was reported that costs were less than $500,000 per week. "We'll be happy when we're selling millions," Murdoch said. "Our ambitions are high but the costs are low."
Greg Clayman, publisher of The Daily, will oversee the company’s digital strategy, new digital investments and distribution partnerships. Jesse Angelo, the founding editor-in-chief of The Daily and long-time executive editor of The New York Post, will assume the role of publisher of The New York Post. Technology and other assets from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into The Post.
Flint Group North America has announced a 15% price increase on Varn® Anti-Set-off Spray Powder used in offset printing applications.
Like all graphic arts spray powders, Varn® Anti-Set-off Spray Powder is starch-based, made primarily from corn and other grain products.
The starch industry is experiencing a supply / demand imbalance due to years of sub-par crop yields, exacerbated by the 2012 drought. “Forecasts show that North American corn production in 2012 will be at its lowest since 2006,” notes Michael Kellen, Business Director, Pressroom Chemicals. “Conditions like these, paired with competing demand by industries such as ethanol, have caused costs of most food-grade starches to rise.”
As a result of these market conditions and rising raw material costs, Flint Group is implementing a 15% price increase on Varn® Anti-Set-off Spray Powder on all orders shipped within the US and Canada after January 1, 2013, subject to existing contracts.
Bemis Performance Packaging, a leading supplier of flexible packaging, pressure sensitive material and roll-fed labels announced it has received a special jury innovation design award from the 2012 Beverage World Global Packaging Design competition. The award honors the innovation of a special label produced by Bemis Performance Packaging. The Peel N’ Tear™ label is an extended roll-fed label providing a patented, perforated, removable coupon. The back of the coupon portion is printed to convey a variety of information including variable gaming, cross-merchandising, new product launches, or rebates and discounts. A full label remains on the bottle after the coupon is removed. As a result, the UPC and deposit copy remain, allowing the bottle to pass through the redemption and recycling processes.
The Peel N’ Tear™ label provides a unique solution for small bottle labels. The peel-able corner entices consumers to tear off the perforated coupon revealing the gaming code that drives consumers to the product’s website.
MeadWestvaco Corporation, a global leader in packaging and packaging solutions announced the completion of the purchase of Ruby Macons Limited (“Ruby Macons”). The India-based producer of high-quality corrugated packaging materials becomes a central component of MWV’s packaging platform in India and a key element of the company’s plans to grow in emerging markets. The transaction was completed on Nov. 30, 2012 and financial results for Ruby Macons will now be reported as part of MWV’s Industrial Packaging segment.
Ruby Macons is the market leader in corrugated packaging materials in India. The company currently produces over 150,000 tons of containerboard annually at two mills containing three paper machines in and around the city of Vapi, Gujarat. These assets, as well as a significant expansion project underway, will significantly increase capacity and accelerate MWV’s profitable growth in this fast growing region.
NewPage Corporation, a leading producer of high quality supercalendered rotogravure and offset printing papers, is pleased to announce today its Supercalendered Delivery Promise. Effective with confirmed orders with a requested delivery date on or after January 1, 2013, NewPage will assure that supercalendered paper will be provided to meet each and every press date. To demonstrate our confidence, customers will be entitled to a discount on their next order of similar size should NewPage not deliver on our Supercalendered Delivery Promise. “The Duluth, Minnesota, mill has been delivering on our commitments for 25 years,” said Dawn Polaski, Customer Service manager at the NewPage Duluth mill. “We are thrilled to continue this legacy by offering the Supercalendered Delivery Promise.”
The Supercalendered Delivery Promise is available to all customers requesting shipments of supercalendered paper in the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) from the NewPage Duluth mill. “We are pleased to offer our customers the extra assurance that their paper will arrive when and where it is needed,” stated Ethan Haas, general manager, Supercalendered Papers. “Our Customer Service, Operations and Logistics teams have consistently proven that they have the focus, follow-through and longevity that are superior to many other supercalendered mills in North America. Our geographical location has always provided a logistical advantage to our customers. This program will allow us to further reduce the supply risk to our customers’ supercalendered papers purchasing programs.”
R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company today announced the availability of its RRD ActiveDisclosureSM system, a cloud-based solution to draft, collaborate on, and finalize Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosures and other filing requirements. It combines an award-winning solution with RR Donnelley's experienced team of service professionals to help enterprises create and manage disclosures, making the process faster and easier, and enabling C-level executives and financial reporting teams to focus on all aspects of governance, risk and compliance (GRC), as well as other business critical activities.
Since the SEC introduced XBRL filing regulations, companies have started adopting disclosure management software applications that improve the overall process. The RRD ActiveDisclosure system gives users greater control over the creation of their periodic disclosures, allowing teams to collaborate in real time and improve the efficiency of their end-to-end processes. The tool's integrated XBRL features help ensure the completeness of XBRL tagging and built-in validation provides assurance prior to filing. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution allows users to benefit from productivity tools that they are already familiar with as well as from the flexibility and scalability of the cloud.
"Our RRD ActiveDisclosure system arms organizations with the expertise and technology needed to improve internal and external collaboration, streamline the disclosure management process, and allow more time for business-critical activities," said Tom Juhase, President of RR Donnelley's Financial Services offering. "However, savvy executives know that improved disclosure management is only one benefit of making data more dynamic and therefore more useful. Our RRD ActiveDisclosure system continues to deliver enhancements to our vision of providing clients with the service and tools needed to gain better business insight, make better strategic decisions, and embrace active GRC practices."
More than 40 percent of magazines surveyed saw concurrent print and digital audience growth in the fall of 2012, according to the most recent study by GfK MRI.
Of the 118 titles reported to have experienced print growth from the spring of this year, 78 of them, or 43 percent, also saw digital audience gains. On the digital-only side, 119 publications had their audiences rise, including 25 with previous digital audiences of less than 1,000.
Overall, average total print audience rose by 1.3 percent, while average total digital audience increased by 47.5 percent.
Six magazines-Handy, Street Rodder, Outside, Four Wheeler, Conde Nast Traveler and Diabetes Self-Management-reached benchmarks of double-digit print growth and triple-digit digital growth.
The correlation between print and digital growth is substantially stronger than the 43-percent figure suggests however.
While 40 of those publications with growth on the print side saw digital audiences stay flat or decline in the fall, only 11 were due to actual decreases in audience. The remaining three-quarters had no digital presence in the spring and continued that trend into the fall-essentially, a null set.