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Transcontinental signs 15-Year deal to print San Francisco Chronicle

Press release from the issuing company

Nov. 17 - Transcontinental announced today that it has signed an exclusive 15-year contract with Hearst Corporation to print the San Francisco Chronicle daily newspaper and its related products, as well as provide complete post-press services. North America's seventh-largest printer and Canada's leading newspaper printer is slated to begin production in spring 2009 in a new plant it will equip with state-of-the-art technology in the San Francisco Bay Area. The contract with the Chronicle plus the printing of other products at this new facility will surpass US$1 billion in total revenues over the 15-year period. Transcontinental's total investments are estimated at over US$200 million (C$228 million). Founded in 1865, the San Francisco Chronicle is the Bay Area's principal newspaper. It had the U.S.'s 14th largest ABC-verified circulation as of September 30, 2006 (Monday to Friday, 373,805; Saturday, 383,378; Sunday, 432,957), with a readership of 1.2 million per Sunday in the richest, second most-educated, and fifth most-populous market in the U.S. The Chronicle is one of 12 daily and 20 weekly newspapers owned by Hearst Corporation, also one of the world's largest publishers of monthly magazines. "We are extremely pleased to sign this contract with such prestigious brands as the San Francisco Chronicle and Hearst Corporation," said Luc Desjardins, president and CEO of Transcontinental Inc. "Our unique newspaper production model, combining the latest technology with highly skilled, autonomous work teams, has led major dailies to entrust their printing to us and concentrate their resources on their core business - producing top-quality content, leveraging it and developing their brand. Such is the case with The New York Times for the Ontario and upstate New York markets, as well as the two most highly regarded dailies in Canada, The Globe and Mail and La Presse. This contract with such a reputable company as Hearst Corporation is yet another vote of confidence for our market-leading newspaper production model, and is just the first of many strategic footprints Transcontinental is developing in the U.S. with newspaper industry leaders." Francois Olivier, president of Transcontinental's Printing Products and Services sector, explained: "This agreement came into effect because of the decision of the Chronicle's management to exit the printing and related components of their business. Our production model gives publishers the tools they need to help them maintain and strengthen their market position: more color; greater flexibility for advertisers and insert distribution; the flexibility to create more niche products, special sections, and opportunities for innovation; and greater overall printing quality. Our strategy is to join forces with the innovators who have decided to be winners through this period of rapid change in the newspaper publishing industry. Indeed, our business model has been custom-tailored to appeal to them." Frank Vega, president and publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle, commented, "This agreement is part of our continuing effort to elevate the Chronicle, and its related products, to a new level of service for both readers and advertisers. With a new plant coming on line in spring 2009, we will be able to better produce our content and present it in a more crisp, colorful and timely fashion. By providing complete post-press services, the relationship benefits our advertisers through more targeted pre-print capability."