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Heidelberg Delivers Two Mainstream Presses To La Depeche Du Midi

Press release from the issuing company

June 25, 2003 -- La Dépêche du Midi group, a publisher based in Toulouse with a consolidated turnover close from 152 million euros announced the order of two Heidelberg Mainstream web presses in October 2001, during the IFRA tradeshow in Geneva. These two Mainstream presses are the two first to be built in Europe in the Heidelberg production facility in Montataire, France. Each of the two presses for la Dépêche du Midi - in the Berliner format with a 470 mm cut-off and 1280 mm web width - has 32 printing couples distributed in four towers, three formers, a JF-255 jaw folder and seven Contiweb FD pasters with automatic reel loading. Installation of the first press in Toulouse began in mid-February. In parallel, a section of the second press including a tower with eight printing couples, a folder and two pasters intended for training operators from La Dépêche du Midi and for print tests in real conditions has been installed in one of the halls of the Customer Support Center in Montataire. Printing Tests Two printing test types were performed on the Mainstream of La Dépêche du Midi: - OQL test (Optimal Quality Level) of IFRA on a type form test. - Test realized with printing forms from La Dépêche du Midi using four-color pages, advertising pages in particular. These different forms were run on different papers, Norske Skog Nornews 45g and UPM Norm 45g in particular. Printing has been done on a web running at 70,000 copies per hour speed (Maximum speed with a single web) by the operators from La Dépêche du Midi according to the following outline: - makeready at a 15,000 cph speed. - Accelerating to 40,000 cph and sample taking to check the inking and register control stability. - Accelerating to 70 000 cph. Operators from la Dépêche du Midi have therefore become accustomed to the Mainstream and have hands-on experience in utilizing its advanced technology to maximize print quality and productivity. Training Program From January to March, several training sessions were held in Montataire for the different teams from la Dépêche du Midi. Four main course types were given for some groups of five to seven trainees: - one session with common-core syllabus on the basic elements of the Mainstream - one mechanical service course - one electronics service course - one practical operating course on the Mainstream for the operators. Training offered in the Customer Support Center in Montataire includes theoretical courses in classrooms and practical courses on the Mainstream. Training on-site is additionally planned in Toulouse, representing overall more than 5,000 man hours of training. La Dépêche du Midi management board's visit to Montataire La Dépêche du Midi management board lead by its Chairman Mr. Baylet and its Managing Director Mr. Maffre, came to Montataire in the end of March to attend a running test on the press installed in the Training Center. The excellent printing quality, the easy blanket change and the fast plate changes were praised by the delegation as major assets of the Mainstream. La Dépêche du Midi group, based in Toulouse and chaired by Mr. Jean-Michel Baylet, publishes the daily newspaper La Dépêche du Midi, which runs an average 250,000 copies. La Dépêche also publishes five other regional titles, including the local daily newspapers Le Petit Bleu d’Agen and La Nouvelle République des Pyrénées, the regional weekly newspaper ÔToulouse and one weekly national specialty newspaper Le Midi Olympique. The group also owns an important publisher subsidiary of free papers (Publi-Toulouse, printed in 300,000 copies). Launched in May 2000 at DRUPA, the Mainstream is a 1x4 newspaper press (single circumference, double web width) using Sunday technology. Thanks to its gapless blankets, the press has the necessary dynamic stability to produce 80,000 newspapers per hour with a plate cylinder to blanket cylinder ratio of 1:1. This productivity is an asset for the publishers facing a reduction of the printing time frame. The 1x4 format also offers a higher flexibility thanks to the two-page jumps and the possibility to produce sections with different paginations. The Mainstream semi-automatic plate lock-up system also enables very fast edition changes, therefore meeting the demand of regional daily newspapers. 21 Mainstream presses have been sold worldwide with a total of 691 printing couples.