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Major French Publisher to Acquire Two Heidelberg Mainstream Web Presses

Press release from the issuing company

The Dépêche du Midi group, a French newspaper publisher with a turnover of 152 million euros, announced during the Ifra show in Geneva, its intention to purchase two Mainstream web offset presses from Heidelberg. The Dépêche du Midi group, a family run company based in Toulouse, France is headed by Jean-Michel Baylet and operates chiefly in the newspaper sector, publishing the daily Dépêche du Midi, which has an average print run of 250 000 copies. The Dépêche also publishes five other regional titles, including Le Petit Bleu d’Agen and La Nouvelle République des Pyrénées, as well as free newspapers, such as Publi Toulouse in 300 000 copies and regional weeklies including Le Midi Olympique. The French group also owns major shares in the television and travel sectors. The purchase of two Mainstream presses is part of a company ambitious project called “Steering towards excellence” drive, which position the DDM group as the main printer for the South of France. The two newspaper presses with tubular blankets will replace 3 Heidelberg Harris N-1650 presses purchased by the Dépêche du Midi at the end of the 1970’s. “We wanted more colour in our publications as well as greater flexibility in the number of sections to answer the market requirements” explains Jean-Michel Baylet. “ The Mainstream also gives us the possibility to handle multiple editions with a better productivity” he concludes. Launched in May 2000, the Mainstream is a 1x4 press (double width, straight format) based on Sunday technology. The gapless blankets allow it to maintain the dynamic stability necessary to run at a speed of 80 000 copies per hour with a 1:1 plate to blanket cylinder ratio. This productivity allows the printer to respond to the reduced print windows demanded of publishers today. The 1x4 configuration also allows the layout versatility of 2 page jumps and sections with unequal page counts. The Mainstreams at La Dépêche du Midi, which are to be installed from the end of 2002, have an identical configuration, with 4 towers, 32 inkers, 7 Contiweb FD splicers and a JF-255 folder, in a 470 mm cut-off and 1280 mm web width, Berliner format. Commissioning of the presses is planned for summer 2003. “We are happy to be able to consolidate our partnership with the Dépêche du Midi group and are convinced of the ability of our Mainstreams to provide them with the flexibility, productivity and colour print quality necessary to take up the challenges they have set themselves” declared Jacques Navarre, Senior Vice-President Newspaper Product Centre. The sale of the Mainstream presses to the Dépêche du Midi brings the number of Mainstream presses sold throughout the world since Drupa 2000 to 14, or 473 inking systems.

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