PhillyInc: Printer beefing up Burlco plant

Posted: April 04, 2013

Whether it's newspapers, magazines, or direct mail, printing has been a difficult business to be in over the last few years.

So it caught my attention Tuesday when Quad/Graphics Inc., one of the nation's biggest printers, announced that it would be making "multimillion- dollar" investments in two plants, including one in Westampton.

The publicly traded Quad/Graphics said it would be adding mail processing and equipment to create "commingling centers" at Westampton and a plant in Effingham, Ill., to cut the postage costs for direct-mail clients.

"Postage is typically our clients' single largest production-related expense and can be as much as 60 percent of their budget," Steve Jaeger, president of Quad/Graphics Direct Marketing, said in a statement.

The spending by the Sussex, Wis.-based company is good news for 120 employees of the Burlington County direct-mail operation, which had been owned for years by Vertis Holdings Inc. After filing for bankruptcy in 2012 for the third time in five years, Vertis was bought by Quad/Graphics in January for $170 million.

The Vertis acquisition added 3,900 employees and $1.1 billion in annual revenue to Quad/Graphics, which reported net sales of $4.09 billion in 2012 and a global workforce of 21,400 as of Dec. 31.

That deal greatly expanded Quad/Graphics' presence in the Philadelphia area. Besides the 160,000-square-foot plant in Westampton, Quad/Marketing added a 299,000-square-foot operation in Chalfont, Bucks County. Equipment for Westampton's new role will be coming from a Bristol plant that is closing, said a Quad/Graphics spokeswoman.

Quad/Graphics also operates a 427,000-square-foot print production site in Atglen, Chester County. It picked up that plant when it bought World Color Press Inc., once known as Quebecor, in July 2010.

VWR talks turkey

VWR International L.L.C., of Radnor, which had sales of $4.13 billion in 2012, has an acquisition strategy, too.

On Tuesday, VWR said it bought Prolab Laboratuar Teknolojileri Ltd., a distributor of scientific-lab supplies in Istanbul, Turkey.

Owned by the private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners L.L.C., VWR did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

If Prolab is like the six distributors VWR bought in 2012, then the purchase price wasn't more than eight figures. VWR's 2012 annual report says it paid a total of $117 million for those six companies.


Contact Mike Armstrong

at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.

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