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SPIR Communication becomes the first French customer for Goss

Press release from the issuing company

September 16th, 2004 – SPIR Communication, a leader in the free newspaper and commercial printing sector in France, has placed an order with Goss International for two identical M-600C web presses for its IPS printing group. Each press consists of four M-600 printing units equipped with an Autoplate fully automatic plate loading system, Ecocool dryer and JF-55 folder. The M-600C, equipped with multidrive, is capable of producing up to 55,000 copies per hour. It will be supplied to SPIR with the Goss Omnicon control system and Omni Makeready module for reducing start-up waste. The installation at the IPS printing plant in Reyrieux, near Lyons, one of the five IPS printing centers that ensure coverage of all France, will be carried out in two stages. The first press is scheduled for delivery in February 2005, to be followed by the second six months later. Francis Cartoux, SPIR director and chairman of IPS SAS printing operations, has the following to say in relation to this major order, which happens to coincide with the acquisition of Heidelberg Web Systems by Goss International: “We have been working with Goss Universal and Community presses for a very long time. Some have up to 28 printing units and are equipped with dryers. We have always been well served by Goss. We have been working with the Montataire location since 2002, when we installed our two double-width Mainstream newspaper presses. There also, we have been well served. “Selecting a supplier for an investment as large as for a web press always represents a risk for the customer. Any merger or reorganization constitutes a risk for the supplier. However, in the case of Goss and Heidelberg, we do not regard this as a pure and simple absorption, but rather a concentration of know-how: that of Goss for newspaper web presses and that of Heidelberg for commercial presses. This know-how is the result of offering a complete range of newspaper and commercial web printing presses. This is why we regard this as a favorable development and look towards the future with confidence.” The origins of SPIR Communication date back to 1971 with the launch of the group’s first newspaper, Aix-Hebdo, which still exists today. Since then, SPIR has vigorously participated in the dynamic development of the French newspaper sector, which currently represents about 35 million copies distributed weekly nationwide. SPIR, whose turnover is given as €410 million, contributes some 15 million copies to this figure. The company’s five printing plants are equipped with four and eight-page newspaper presses. The four-page press park includes one Goss Community and two Goss Universal presses, whose number of printing units has increased recently to 26 and 30 respectively. The two eight-page presses are Mainstream installations offering the possibility of quarter-fold delivery. The cut-offs are 57.8 cm for the freesheets. For its commercial printing operations, the group has two 16-page presses equipped with dryers and 630 mm cut-offs. The new Goss M-600 presses have been ordered with 625mm cut-off. “At IPS, we tend to select equipment that is best able to lower production costs,” according to Francis Cartoux. “Therefore the double-width Heidelberg Mainstream presses were chosen mainly because they allow IPS to produce tabloids that can reach up to 84 pages in four-page jumps, thus reducing the number of webs processed by the folder. “We chose the M-600 from among three nearly identical presses”, Francis Cartoux explains. “We will install them at our printing plant in Reyrieux, north of Lyons, where our Mainstream presses are already in production. We were persuaded by the argument of uniform maintenance for all these presses. At a technical level, the Autoplate automatic plate loading system also influenced our decision, as it allows us to considerably speed-up job changeover without having to invest in an additional printing unit for flying plate changes.” The M-600C already has its work lined up for it. It will be used to produce LOGIC IMMO, a free magazine for the property sector, published every three weeks with 45 local editions and a circulation of two-and-a-half million copies with page counts varying between 16 and 96. The new press will enable IPS to eventually to bring back outsourced printing jobs and to consider producing up-market magazines. Francis Cartoux estimates that the two presses will be fully operational in their final configuration by mid-2006, thus demonstrating that his confidence in the future is based on realistic expectations.