VOL. 112 | NO. 80 | Tuesday, May 12, 1998
By LAURIE JOHNSON
Quebecor Printing starts $98 million addition
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Quebecor Printing Inc. has started construction on a $98 million addition that will almost double the size and nearly quadruple the output of its plant at 828 E. Holmes Road.
A building permit valued at $16.5 million was issued by Shelby County Code Enforcement for construction of the addition which will add 105,000 square feet to the 126,500-square-foot facility, an 83 percent increase.
This increase in size, coupled with installing new printing equipment, is expected to transform the plant into one of the most advanced retail insert printing facilities in the world.
The new addition, which will represent a total investment of about $98 million, is expected to be completed Sept. 15.
H&M Construction Co. Inc. is the general contractor for the project.
Quebecor Printing is a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc., a Montreal-based communications group with operations in North America, Europe, South America and Asia.
The Memphis plant produces retail advertising inserts for major retail chains that are distributed in newspapers and stores throughout the United States.
The Holmes Road printing plant is one of two Quebecor has in the Memphis area. The company opened a second plant last year in Olive Branch, Miss.
John Hazlegrove, vice president and general manager of the plant, said 95,000 square feet of the new addition will house two new printing presses and new cylinder-making equipment.
Hazlegrove said negotiations for long-term contracts with its major clients, which include K-Mart, Michaels, Sears, Walgreens and Montgomery-Ward, was one of the factors prompting the expansion. The company recently signed a major contract with Sears.
"Everything in our business is customer-driven," he said. "The motto in our department has always been faster, cheaper and better.
"So, in order to get (the contract), we had to lower our costs and put in state-of-the-art, sophisticated equipment," he said.
The new equipment includes two Albert-Frankenthal gravure presses, which print at a rate of about 3,000 feet per minute. Each press is about 137 inches wide, and with the accompanying folders, trimmers and stackers attached to the end, about 230 feet long.
"This is the largest, most highly technical printing press in the world," Hazlegrove said. "Were operating five printing presses right now, and these two will put out more than all of them combined."
He said the new equipment will shorten the plants "print window" the time a piece being printed is actually on the press considerably.
In 1997, the plant used 83,000 tons of paper, Hazlegrove said. The company will begin using the new presses in 1999, and by the year 2000, after the new presses are in full operation, the plant is expected to use between 400,000 and 500,000 tons of paper per year.
The new equipment also may allow the plant to accommodate new customers, Hazlegrove said.
In addition to providing space for more equipment, the new addition also will have a 10,000-square-foot paper warehouse.
The Memphis Quebecor plants last expansion was in 1982, when it was expanded from about 50,000 square feet to its current size.
The plant currently has 239 employees, 55 of which have hired since 1996 when the company started planning for the expansion.
Hazlegrove said about 25 more probably would be hired by the time the presses began operating.
With $3.1 billion in annual revenues, Quebecor Printing is Quebecor Inc.s largest subsidiary. It is the largest commercial printer in Canada and Europe, and the second largest in the United States, with 26,000 employees in more than 115 printing and support service facilities.
Quebecor Printing (USA) Corp., headquartered in Boston, operates 51 printing and related media services facilities in 31 states, with 16,500 employees.
The Memphis Quebecor plant is one of eight Quebecor facilities in Tennessee, which combined employ more than 4,500. Other facilities are located in Dickson, Clarksville, Nashville, Church Hill and Kingsport.
Consolidated revenues for Quebecor Inc., reached $7 billion in 1997, an increase of more than 12 percent over revenues for 1996 and a new company performance record.