European Paper Industry Launches Bold Investment Roadmap

The European paper industry today has launched the reviewed version of its 2050 Roadmap detailing the pathways and investment needed to cut its carbon emissions by 80% while creating 50% more added-value. The Roadmap projects the need for EUR 44 billion more investment — a 40% increase on current levels — to transform industry in Europe and lead the low-carbon bioeconomy by 2050. The Confederation of European Paper Industry (CEPI) pioneered in 2011 the first low-carbon industry Roadmap. It is today the first industry to table a blueprint to bolster industry transformation. Today the industry reaffirms its vision that decarbonisation and growth are mutually compatible and calls for a better alignment of policy, research and financing conditions to boost investment in Europe. click Read More below for additional detail
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Ranking America’s Largest Publishers

Anyone even remotely interested in book publishing knows who the Big Five trade publishers are—if not necessarily in what order they rank. For the record, Penguin Random House sold the most units through NPD BookScan outlets last year, followed by HarperCollins. Simon & Schuster was in third place; last week, S&S reported that its worldwide revenue was $767 million in 2016, down 1.8% from 2015. The Hachette Book Group was #4 in units sold in 2016, a total that includes units from the Perseus Books Group, which Hachette bought last March. Macmillan rounded out the top five. What is more of a mystery is which is the sixth-largest trade house. The company that finished behind the Big Five in 2016, based on unit sales made at retailers that report to BookScan, was Scholastic. click Read More below for more of the story
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Garvey Group, Graphic Tech Acquisitions Expand Australian Firm’s POP Footprint

Compete in the point-of-purchase (POP) and/or packaging products arena? If so, then you better familiarize yourself with Melbourne, Australia-based Orora Ltd. It’s been on an acquisition tear to expand its POP manufacturing footprint in North America, and just announced a definitive agreement to acquire Niles, Ill.-based The Garvey Group and Fullerton, Calif.-based Graphic Tech for a total of $54 million. Once completed, they will further expand the publicly-held Australian company’s footprint in the Midwest and West Coast. According to Orora financial disclosures, these latest acquisitions represent a multiple of 5.8 times last 12 months’ EBITDA. In addition, Orora announced it has agreed to reimburse vendors for recent growth capital investments totaling $5 million. The Garvey Group (which also has locations in Los Angeles and Franklin, Wis.) and Graphic Tech transactions are expected to be completed by the end of March. click Read More below for additional detail
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Family Christian Stores to Close

Family Christian Stores, the largest retailer of Christian books and merchandise in the country, is closing all of its outlets. The chain, which went through a bankruptcy proceeding in 2015, cited changing consumer behavior and declining sales when it announced its decision to shutter on Thursday. FCS operates 240 stores in 36 states. According to various sources, a board meeting was held at FCS's Grand Rapids, Mich., headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to determine whether the beleaguered retailer would close or finance another year. To continue, sources said, board members said that they needed to see a path to profitability by 2018. click Read More below for more of the story
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Crude Oil Prices Torn Between Conflicting Supply Trends

Crude oil prices have stalled anew as traders weigh conflicting supply trends. On one hand, OPEC is pushing for broader implementation of a supply cut deal agreed by the cartel and several large external producers, notably including Russia. On the other, swing output continues to swell, with Baker Hughes data showing the number of active US rigs rose to the highest since October 2015 last week. Significant progress on this narrative seems unlikely over the coming day. Markets may have to wait until Tuesday to see the next significant catalyst for trend development. The EIA monthly report and the weekly API inventory flow data are due to cross the wires. click Read More below for additional detail
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Finch Paper Announces High-Speed Inkjet Brand-Expansion Plan

Finch Paper sets itself apart by providing printers with domestic solutions to capitalize on their high-speed inkjet investments. Making it easier than ever to select the right paper, Finch Paper has updated and expanded its paper brands. The most notable being the announcement of Finch Opaque Jet. “Folding the Finch Inkjet Pi product into Finch’s legendary brand, Finch Opaque, is a win-win for our loyal direct mail customers,” said Greg Maio, vice president of sales of Finch Paper. “Corporate buyers who have previously specified Finch Opaque can fast track the approval process for Finch Opaque Jet on inkjet platforms.” Greg continues, “It’s a brand that is immediately recognized and trusted.” click Read More below for additional detail
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Retailers work on alternatives to a border-adjusted tax

U.S. retailers are working with lawmakers in the House and Senate to craft alternatives to a proposed tax on imported goods that they say will raise prices for consumers. “We’re in the process of working with the Hill to give a couple of different alternatives to what we think would be a regressive tax,” J.C. Penney Co. CEO Marvin Ellison said Friday in an interview. Ellison was part of a group of retail CEOs that met with President Donald Trump last week. Tax reform and specifically the border-adjustment tax, which has been trumpeted by House Speaker Paul Ryan as the centerpiece of how to help pay for corporate tax cuts, was the focus. The executives voiced their concerns to the president and proposed other ways to lower rates rather than taxing imports, he said. click Read More below for more of the story
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AFP, Inc. Acquires Division of Springfield, MO’s EPI

Austin Foam Plastics, Inc. (AFP, Inc.), a leading provider of integrated engineered packaging solutions, announces its acquisition of Springfield, MO's Engineered Packaging Inc.'s (EPI) protective packaging division. Over a 26 year period, EPI, which is owned and led by Mr. Jim Stout, successfully built a strong business in the custom engineered packaging space by creating a customer-centric culture. AFP will continue to stay aligned with Mr. Stout as he begins to explore his retirement. As a result of the acquisition, AFP strengthens its ability to serve existing customers in the Midwest and is strategically positioned for growth. click Read More below for additional detail
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Adult Trade Sales Slipped in First Nine Months of 2016

Sales of adult trade books fell 1.6% in the first nine months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, according to figures released this morning by the Association of American Publishers as part of its StatShot program. Sales of children’s and young adult books increased 4.9% in the same period. Within the adult book segment, the overall decline was mainly due to a 16.9% drop in e-book sales and a 2.2% drop in hardcover sales. In the small physical audiobook segment, sales dropped 10.6%. Digital audio had the strongest gain in the period, with sales up 29.5% over 2015. Trade paperback sales rose 8.2%. E-books accounted for 22.7% of sales in segment for the period, down from 26.9% in the comparable time span in 2015. click Read More below for more of the story
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Smurfit Kappa and Sun Chemical deliver unrivalled new packaging coding solution

For its latest initiative, the company has collaborated with Sun Chemical, the leading producer of printing inks and coatings, to deliver the most robust and efficient, digital laser-based coding solution that supports customer packaging and labelling requirements. The new coding solution for secondary cartons combines Smurfit Kappa’s flexo printed corrugated boxes with Sun Chemical’s SunLase activated coating system resulting in high quality, reliable, late stage coding, which allows customers to laser mark packaging at the end of manufacturing operations. With the capacity to laser mark at the typical speed of an automated packing line, it offers a replacement for direct thermal labelling. As a result, there is less disturbance during the packaging line as there is no requirement for labelling and printing. click Read More below for additional detail
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