PICTOU – Advocate Printing and Publishing Company Ltd.’s flagship facility in Pictou is expanding its production services after the company announced today that it bought most of Transcontinental’s Dartmouth-based printing business.
Advocate, Atlantic Canada’s largest independent printing company, is growing with the acquisition of printing equipment from a 60,000 square-foot commercial printing facility, as well as Transcontinental’s sales and client services team, who are moving to Advocate’s Burnside office.
The deal, which was the result of two years of negotiations, does not include Transcontinental’s national clients, newspaper publishing and newspaper printing or retail flyers.
“This is great news for Advocate,” said the company’s president and CEO Sean Murray.
“Through the integration of additional capabilities and economies of scale, we will be well positioned to service clients throughout Atlantic Canada.”
Pictou will see the bulk of the new production, including a 40-inch press with coating capabilities that will allow for large sheetfed projects. Bridgewater, St. Stephen and Dieppe will also receive modernized equipment over the coming weeks.
In an era of uncertainty in the print industry, Murray says it’s proof the company is committed to investing in Atlantic Canada.
“We are passionate about Atlantic Canada and Atlantic Canadian business,” he said.
“We work to enhance our economy and our communities through better communication. Printed product is everywhere and an important component of every marketing mix. We are very proud of this opportunity to better service the marketplace.”
Transcontinental staff were notified this afternoon of the sale, and about 55 people were laid off. Murray says along with sales and client staff, several production positions will be offered to support increased output in Pictou and Bridgewater.
“We believe in community and take our role in the communities where we operate very seriously. We are thrilled that this purchase will ensure more work that will increase our staffing levels in Pictou and Bridgewater as well as our New Brunswick facilities,” said Murray.
Shane Sponagle, vice president of sales, says the company is working to make the transition for incoming employees as smooth as possible.
“It will hopefully be an easy transition for them and their clients because we’ll offer all of the same things plus more than they’re used to having at their disposal,” said Sponagle.
The move means even more options for Advocate’s current clients, Sponagle added.
“It just solidifies our position as the largest commercial printer in Atlantic Canada. We’re in this for the long haul, we’re not going anywhere, and they can expect we’ll be around for a long time,” he said.
While details of the sale, including price, have not been released, vice president of Production Mike LeBlanc says in addition to several presses moving to Pictou, a five-colour printing press will go to Bridgewater.
“I think the slow downturn in printing is starting to settle down,” said Leblanc, adding the new equipment will enable crews to work on projects they didn’t have the capacity for in the past.
Advocate has approximately 350 employees, which, in addition to the commercial printing divisions, includes the media division that publishes 10 newspapers, 21 trade and regional magazines and operates a flyer distribution division, commercial photography, creative design and digital services.
The company works throughout the Atlantic Provinces with printing facilities in Pictou and Bridgewater in Nova Scotia and Dieppe and St. Stephen in New Brunswick.