Jan 31, 2014
International Paper (IP) and Unisource Worldwide (UWW) Holdings have announced a definitive agreement to merge their distribution businesses and form a newly created, publicly traded company that will be the largest paper distributor in North America.
This is a big deal. Two of the largest distributors of paper, board, and related supplies for the commercial printing and packaging industries are merging. It would be like Sysco and US Foods, UPS and Fedex, or Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks merging — OK, maybe not that big, but you get the idea.
The new xpedx/Unisource (unipedx? I hope not.) will have an unparalleled combination of product assortment, availability, logistics services, operational efficiencies, and, potentially, pricing power in the market. According to IP, the combined xpedx and Unisource business will have projected annual revenue in the range of $9 billion to $10 billion, and will have about 9,500 employees across more than 170 distribution centers in North America.
xpedx (blue) and Unisource (red) North American Locations
InfoTrends graphic from xpedx and Unisource data
Sep 16, 2013
International Paper announced it will permanently close its massive Courtland, Alabama mill by the end of the first quarter of 2014. This is a huge decision for IP and speaks very loudly about the long-term demand for printing and communications paper. Printer and copier manufacturers, inkjet and toner vendors, office products and supplies resellers, and print service providers need to take notice.
International Paper Courtland Alabama Mill
Source: Decatur Daily
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Oct 8, 2010
At Graph Expo xpedx announced that it will distribute the EFI wide format printer line including EFI-VUTEk and EFI-Rastek. This is a very positive deal for xpedx, which has been moving methodically into wide format for a number of years, and for EFI which recently lost an important distribution partner in the United States when Agfa acquired Pitman. Read more »
Oct 3, 2010
Here are some thoughts leading into Graph Expo 2010:
- Digital is mainstream — Look at the exhibitors across the front of the Graph Expo show floor. This is real estate that had been held for years by Heidelberg. Now it’s (from left to right): Xerox, HP, EFI, Presstek, xpedx, and Pitney Bowes. Heidelberg, the largest exhibitor for many years, does not have a booth at the show. Komori, another press manufacturer with a long history of participation at Graph Expo, is not exhibiting either. The landscape has changed and digital has become mainstream at Graph Expo.
- Inkjet, inkjet, inkjet — The digital print market is represented mostly by toner-based electrophotographic devices today. They produce by far the majority of production digital print output. Yet in five or ten years that equation could be turned on its head by high-speed continuous feed color inkjet products capable of printing high volumes on a range of uncoated and coated paper types. Graph Expo 2010 will be a turning point in the use of coated paper on these devices. Economical coated paper that works on this class of products will open up new application areas and drive high volumes of print. Label & packaging applications using inkjet are also a new growth area.
- Larger format cut-sheet — The B2-format inkjet products from Fujifilm and Screen grabbed a lot of attention at IPEX. So did Presstek’s announcement of its 75DI (which can handle 6-up letter). Leading into the show Kodak and Xerox made announcements about increased formats for top-of the line NexPress and iGen4 products. These announcements have important implications for productivity, of course, but perhaps more importantly for the types of print applications that will fit within the print area. Think about multi-up small document applications like business cards and post cards as well as applications where every inch counts such as folding cartons.
- New cut-sheet color products — 2010 has been a strong year for new cut-sheet color products with announcements from Canon, HP Indigo, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, and Xerox. The range of choice for cut-sheet color devices faster than 70 pages per minute (ppm) has expanded. In addition, offerings in the 50 to 70 ppm range are also coming on line. Keep an eye out for how these devices are being leveraged with new workflow, front-end, and finishing tools.
- Effects beyond CMYK — There are a growing number of products that have new or added features that differentiate them from their competitors. These include expanded CMYK color gamut, fifth colors, and gloss coating. Taking advantage of these features to their fullest is a challenge since they require software tools and education to be used to their fullest. Look beyond the hardware to see what these vendors are doing to make these effects easy to employ.
Looking forward to a very interesting show. Hope to see you there.