Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quebecor Closing Covington Plant

Quebecor World told customers and plant employees in the past few days that it is shutting its Covington, TN printing plant, sources tell Dead Tree Edition.

Quebecor World still lists the Covington plant on its Web site without reference to it closing, but the sources say the plant will be shuttered within a couple of months. Quebecor World's 2008 annual report, released last week, said the printing industry "is still in the process of consolidating and is still suffering from overcapacity."

"We are also aggressively aligning our cost structure to mitigate the impact of the economic downturn," the report added, without mentioning any plant closures other than the three that Quebecor World implemented last year.

Covington's pressroom has mostly long-cutoff presses -- that is, heatset web offset presses that typically produce pages that are 10 7/8" tall. Most magazines and catalogs have moved to short-cutoff presses, which produce pages that are only 10 1/2" tall, thereby reducing paper and ink costs. And once they make the move to short-cutoff, they rarely go back.

This is the second big hit in barely three months to the town of 9,000 north of Memphis. In December, AbitibiBowater announced the closure of its NuWay converting facility in Covington, which turned newsprint into coated paper.

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