Brent crude rises over $1, but set for first yearly drop since 2015 (reuters)

Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on the final day of the year, mirroring gains in stock markets, but were on track for their first annual decline in three years as concerns of a persistent supply glut lingered. Both contracts are down more than a third this quarter, the steepest decline since the fourth quarter of 2014. For most of 2018, oil prices were on the rise, driven up by healthy demand and supply concerns, especially around the impact of renewed U.S. sanctions against major producer Iran, which were introduced in early November. Click read more below for additional detail.
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Sears gets last-minute buyout bid from Lampert

Sears Holdings Corp. won a reprieve from liquidation after its chairman submitted an eleventh hour offer to buy the bankrupt chain. But the company’s future remains uncertain. Sears chairman Eddie Lampert met the Dec. 28 deadline imposed by the company for potential buyers of Sears assets. (The offer came just in time to meet the 4 p.m. deadline, CNBC reported.).Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund, submitted a bid for substantially all of the assets of Sears, including a portfolio of 425 stores, which it valued at $4.4 billion. The offer came in hours after Sears announced it will close 43 Sears stores and 37 Kmart stores in late March. Click read more below for additional detail.
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FPAC – Our Wish List for Canadian Forestry in 2019

The debate about the future of Canada’s natural resources has dominated 2018. While our friends in the oil and gas sector have been at the centre of the discussions and protests, the challenge is being felt by all of us working in the natural resources sector – from chemistry to forestry to mining. Why is it that Canada, a country with among the most stringent environmental, health and safety, labour, and human rights laws and regulations in the world, is facing continued pressure to restrict resource development and losing jobs and economic opportunity in the process? As Lorraine Mitchelmore, federally appointed Chair of the Resources of the Future Economic Strategy Table so smartly mentioned in The Globe and Mail recently: “We have commodities that would be the envy of any other country in the world. And yet, for a variety of reasons, we seem determined not to take full advantage of them. We are not building as many projects as we should, we are not attracting our share of global capital, we are not fully reaching global markets, and in certain cases, we are selling our products at significant discounts to benefit other countries.” Click read more below for additional detail.
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New press to bring new opportunities to Royle

Royle Printing, an independently owned and managed printing company located in Sun Prairie, WI is celebrating its 70th anniversary with the announcement of the addition of an eight unit Manroland press. “Royle continues its commitment to investments in new technologies and equipment, keeping our clients and Royle on the forefront of the evolution of print,” says Chris Carpenter, President and Owner of Royle Printing. “Our equipment and outstanding team will put this new asset to good use, helping us meet the demanding needs of the publication and catalog markets. This new press will play an important role in contributing to our continued growth for many years to come.” Utilizing the latest in Manroland technology, the 8-unit Rotoman printing press enhances Royle’s manufacturing platform. The high-yield press runs at 65,000 impressions per hour and is capable of producing a variety of formats, including; standard upright, tabloid and digest publications. Click read more below for additional detail.
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Japan’s Oji to buy 33 percent of Mitsubishi Paper to battle digital shift

Japan’s Oji Holdings Corp on Tuesday said it has agreed to buy 33 percent of peer Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd as the pair seek to drive down costs in the face of competition from Asian rivals and consumers’ shift to digital media. Oji will buy newly issued shares in Mitsubishi at 726 yen each for a total of around 7.6 billion yen ($69.68 million), the companies said in a joint statement. Mitsubishi Paper shares closed on Tuesday at 719 yen. They said they plan to cut costs by cooperating on logistics and sharing raw materials purchases. Click read more below for additional detail.
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Mittera Group Buys Select Assets of 80-Year-Old Henry Wurst Inc. Printing Operation in Kansas City (piworld.com)

Mittera Group, a Des Moines, Iowa-based, multi-platform communications provider that operates 11 facilities in six states, announced the purchase of select assets of Henry Wurst Inc.’s (HWI) Kansas City division. In the coming weeks, work from the North Kansas City, Mo., manufacturing operation will reportedly be absorbed into the Mittera Group facilities. However, the Henry Wurst Denver facility will continue operating as an independent company led by the Henry Wurst management team. “Henry Wurst’s Kansas City business is a great fit for our organization," pointed out Jon Troen, CEO of Mittera. "Their customers will now be able to utilize Mittera’s complete suite of marketing solutions and robust manufacturing platform.” This includes services such as direct mail printing; data analytics and reporting; application development; design; photography; videography; strategic analysis; and social and digital marketing. Click read more below for additional detail.
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Gap to go dark on Fifth Avenue (chainstorage.com)

Gap Inc. is closing one of its former landmark locations. The apparel retailer will shutter its three-level Gap store at 680 Fifth Avenue (between 53rd and 54th streets) in Manhattan on January 20. It will follow other retail closings on the famed shopping street, including the Lord & Taylor flagship. Henri Bendel is also closing up shop. Gap opened its Fifth Avenue outpost opened in 1994. Click read more below for additional detail.
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PI 400 Fast-Track Company: Push Solutions Is More Than a Manufacturing Organization

In August 2012, Brad Flagge, Nick Bova and Craig Inglish — long-time printing industry colleagues — purchased an existing company (Lithographics of Wisconsin) and rebuilt it. Push Solutions started with nine employees, nine pieces of equipment and less than $1 million in sales. “We had to do a lot with a small amount of equipment in the early years,” notes Flagge who serves as president and CEO-operations and finance. Fast forward to 2018; sales are nearly $9 million, there are 38 full-time employees (in peak season that amount increases to 50), operating in two facilities. The amount of equipment for its digital, offset and wide-format services, has more than tripled, to 28. And from 2016 to 2017, the company experienced a growth rate of 38%. Click read more below for additional detail.
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