20 Jan 2021

William Smith ‘Family’ Continues to Grow

William Smith Logo

The William Smith staff ‘family’ continues to develop and grow with two further new appointments.

Jonathan Harle, who has been with the company for 15 years, has become Northern Hardware Account Manager. During his time with William Smith Jonathan has developed and honed his knowledge and experience through several different departments, including artwork and graphics, and sign production. However, many customers will know him from his position as Commercial Sales Estimator. For the last 18 months, Jonathan has been Hardware Sales Estimator and this new role is seen as a natural progression into an expanding part of the business.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting in person many of the people I have spoken to on the phone or via e-mail,” says Jonathan.

Married and with a new baby boy, Ethan, Jonathan loves golf and football, and was an accomplished badminton player.

Thomas Hutchinson, one of William Smith’s newest recruits, has been appointed as Estimator. He joins the company in his first full time position since leaving 6th Form this year, having decided to get straight into work rather than go to University.

“I’m a local lad and was aware of William Smith as a reputable employer and I already know a lot of people who work here,” say Tom. “So, when I saw a position advertised, I applied straight away. I’ve been here a couple of months now and I’m enjoying every minute of it, meeting new people and getting to know customers on the phone.”

FASTSIGNS Outlets Experience Sales Growth and Success in Difficult Economy


After facing the most difficult economy in recent history, many businesses considered themselves fortunate to have survived; achieving an increase in sales was a seemingly impossible challenge.

To combat that feeling, FASTSIGNS International, Inc., franchisor of more than 530 sign and graphic centers in six countries, developed new programs and tools to encourage and support their system amidst an increasingly volatile economic landscape. One initiative that resulted in widespread, positive results was “Sale-A-Bration,” an incentive cruise.

“Our franchise partners are small business owners and they face the same struggles that other small business owners face,” explained Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International, Inc. “Our primary goal—in both good and bad economic times—is to do whatever we can to train and support them, help them operate their local business and as a result, help them maximize their profitability and success.”

In spite of the challenging economy, FASTSIGNS International, Inc. is reporting that from May 2009 through April 2010, 40 FASTSIGNS® centers, including three Australian SIGNWAVE® centers, increased their sales by more than 20 percent compared to the same time period during the 12 months prior. Another 26 FASTSIGNS centers achieved at least a 10 percent increase in sales during the same time period.

The 40 centers that achieved at least 20 percent growth won an all expenses paid, four-day cruise this fall. Those reporting the sales increase for this time period represent a diverse sample of FASTSIGNS centers, ranging from those who have been in the system for 20 years to those who opened their doors just two years ago.

“We have lived through one of the worst recessions in our history and it is incredibly motivating to see our franchise partners not only survive, but thrive in difficult times.” said Monson. “It wasn’t easy—they worked harder, as well as smarter. We are very proud of their accomplishments, and sending the qualifiers on a cruise is our way of thanking them for their efforts and giving them a chance to take a well-earned vacation.”

Three corporate employees have also won passage onto the ship. When the program first launched, each franchise owner and each corporate employee was given 10 recognition certificates to be used throughout the qualifying period to praise or thank someone on the corporate team whom they felt deserving of special recognition. The criteria was that the team member recognized had to demonstrate values and practices that met FASTSIGNS objectives including improving franchise owner satisfaction and assisting franchise owners in increasing their profitable sales. Every certificate received went into a company-wide drawing for fully-paid passage for two employees and a guest of their choosing. The third corporate employee earning the trip was the franchise business consultant who had the most FASTSIGNS center owners qualify from his or her region.


FASTSIGNS International, Inc. is the worldwide franchisor for the more than 530 FASTSIGNS® sign and graphic centers located in the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Mexico and Australia (where centers operate as SIGNWAVE).

FASTSIGNS sign and graphics centers leverage sign and marketing knowledge, state-of-the-art technology and innovative thinking to solve customers’ marketing and communications challenges—from the simple to the simply impossible™. Centers provide consulting, file transfer, design, production, delivery and installation for a full range of custom sign and graphic solutions to companies of all sizes, from all industries. For more information, visit www.fastsigns.com. For franchise information, visit franchise.fastsigns.com


Holdom heads for IGS UK


Shaun Holdom

Ink specialist, Shaun Holdom, is joining IGS UK as business development manager where he will be concentrating on the rapidly growing market demand for compatible formulations used in today’s wide-format printing machines. His in-depth knowledge of this industry will enable the Maidenhead distributor to increase the range of quality products it currently supplies to sign-makers and display producers.

Holdom has been involved in the ink manufacturing sector since 1998 when he joined former manufacturer, Lyson. After seven years as product manager for the company, he moved to Ink Technologies UK where, from 2005, he worked as sales manager promoting its after-market specialist inks.

The move to IGS UK enables Holdom to become more involved in the development of new business for the ink sector, both nationally and internationally. With a thorough understanding of the criteria and formulations required for manufacturing and distributing cost-effective, compatible products, his experience will be beneficial to new and existing suppliers and end customers.

Managing director of IGS UK, Nick Wintle, comments: “Demand for our inks continues to grow and become increasingly diverse, particularly now that there is such a variety of formulations available for the different machines currently in use within the market. We look forward to the benefits of Shaun’s long-term experience and enthusiasm for developing our product range.”

IGS are the UK Distributor for Sun Chemical Streamline digital inks, and the owners of the Colorific ink brand.

Find out more at www.igsuk.net


Micha Moses now Vice President Strategic Alliances at GMG

Micha Moses

GMG, a leading developer and supplier of high-end color management software solutions, has announced that Micha Moses has taken up his duties as Vice President Strategic Alliances at GMG with immediate effect. Moses will be responsible for specifically strengthening and expanding the company's strategic partnerships with the main global players of the graphic arts industry and other potential strategic partners.

Previously, Micha Moses held a variety of management positions in sales and OEM business development. During more than ten years at Adobe Systems, he started the OEM PostScript Licensing business in Europe and later took responsibility for this business activity in the Far East. After Adobe, Moses co-founded a software company building a technology platform to re-use print content for the internet and wireless devices. At XMPie, Micha Moses started the European sales activities with emphasis on developing OEM and other strategic partnerships.

"With about 20 years of management experience in the graphic arts industry, Micha Moses is familiar with the specific characteristics and challenges of its markets," says Paul Willems, CEO of GMG GmbH & Co. KG. "As a strategically thinking executive, he will certainly help us to further develop our numerous global partnerships with leading industry suppliers in terms of new technologies, sales channels and co-marketing activities."

"GMG is growing steadily and has already built up an excellent reputation in the market and with leading manufacturers as all-round color management specialist. Our aim and my personal challenge is to consolidate and expand GMG's position as the world's leading color management solutions provider for practically every application area," says Micha Moses.

Agfa reports strong Q2 results

Agfa Logo

Agfa-Gevaert today announced its second quarter results.


Clearly outperforming the trend of the first months of the year, the Group's revenue grew 8.7 percent versus the second quarter of 2009 to 736 million Euro. The increase is largely attributable to Agfa Graphics, whereas Agfa HealthCare posted a slightly higher revenue. The current exchange rate conditions had a beneficial impact on the Group's top line business performance.


Due to the continuous success of the efficiency improvement programs, the optimal use of the manufacturing capacity, favorable raw material effects and an IP related one-off effect in Agfa Graphics, the Group's recurring gross profit margin improved to 36.0 percent, versus 31.6 percent in the second quarter of 2009.


Selling and General Administration expenses were 147 million Euro. Representing 20.0 percent of revenue, these expenses are slightly better than the 20.4 percent of last year's second quarter.


The Group's recurring EBITDA (the sum of Graphics, HealthCare, Specialty Products and the unallocated portion) increased from 64 million Euro in the second quarter of 2009 to 107 million Euro. Recurring EBIT improved significantly from 38 million Euro (5.6 percent of sales) to 84 million Euro (11.4 percent of sales).


Restructuring and non-recurring items resulted in an expense of 15 million Euro, versus an expense of 12 million Euro in 2009.


The net finance costs amounted to 22 million Euro, compared to 27 million Euro in the second quarter of 2009.


Income tax expense remained stable at 8 million Euro.


As a result of the strong operational performances of all business groups, a positive net result of 39 million Euro was booked, compared to a net loss of 9 million Euro in the second quarter of 2009.


Balance sheet and cash flow

- At the end of June 2010, total assets were 3,058 million Euro, compared to 2,852 million Euro at the end of 2009.

- Inventories were 585 million Euro (or 113 days). Trade receivables (minus deferred revenue and advanced payments from customers) amounted to 471 million Euro, or 58 days and trade payables were 235 million Euro, or 45 days.

- Net financial debt amounted to 391 million Euro, versus 445 million Euro at the end of 2009 and 569 million Euro at the end of the second quarter of 2009.

- Net cash from operating activities amounted to 61 million Euro.


Agfa Graphics' revenue improved by 19.9 percent (15.2 percent excluding currency effects) versus the second quarter of 2009, when the crisis was still significantly impacting the graphic industry. Broken down in business segments, the growth was due to an upturn of the digital computer-to-plate (CtP) prepress business and the business group's success in the analogue computer-to-film (CtF) market. The Industrial Inkjet segment's revenue also continued to grow. Regionally, the revenue growth is mainly due to the good performance of Agfa Graphics in the USA and in the emerging countries. In most European countries, the industry is recovering far slower than in the rest of the world. In general, competitive pressure continues to weigh on the business group's revenue.


As a result of the efficient use of the manufacturing capacity, higher volumes in the CtF segment, positive raw material effects and an IP related one-off effect, Agfa Graphics' gross profit margin improved from 27.0 percent in the second quarter of 2009 to 33.2 percent. Following strong improvements in the past two years, SG&A costs further reduced from 20.6 percent of revenue in the second quarter of 2009 to 19.4 percent. Recurring EBITDA amounted to 56.6 million Euro (14.5 percent of revenue). Recurring EBIT amounted to 46.1 million Euro (11.8 percent of revenue), versus 12.2 million Euro (3.7 percent of revenue) in the second quarter of 2009, which was marked by the strong impact of the crisis in the industry.


Major events in the second quarter were the Fespa trade show (Munich, Germany - 22-26 June) and the 4-yearly IPEX trade show (Birmingham, UK - 18-25 May). At IPEX, Agfa Graphics was able to exceed its targets in prepress, as well as in industrial inkjet. At the show, Agfa Graphics introduced several new prepress products and systems, including two new eco friendly printing plates. The :Azura V chemistry-free plate for violet CtP systems is ideal for small to mid-size commercial printers. :Amigo TS is an enhanced version of the popular :Amigo thermal printing plate. The new plate offers higher image contrast and allows printers to increase productivity. Agfa Graphics also demonstrated new software solutions, as well as two new platesetters.


In the field of industrial inkjet, Agfa Graphics launched several new inks. The :Agorix LM UV inks are designed to be used on the :Dotrix Modular single-pass UV inkjet press. The inks are ideally suited for short-run printing on a wide range of packaging substrates. The new :Agora ink family is ideal for the next generation single pass "piezo" print heads. Furthermore, Agfa Graphics introduced a new member to its family of :Anapurna large format printers.


Still in industrial inkjet, Agfa Graphics added variable data capabilities to its high-speed :M-Press Tiger flatbed inkjet press. Thanks to this new tool, users can define elements (text, graphics, images, …) which may change from one document to the next without slowing down the printing process. In June, Agfa Graphics announced that StylePrint, one of Australia's leading screen printing companies, purchased its second :M-Press Tiger only five months after the installation of the first system. The first :M-Press Tiger in North America was ordered by Cameron Advertising Displays Ltd, one of the most successful screen printing companies in Canada.


In August 2010, Agfa Graphics announced the successful completion of the acquisition of the assets of the Harold M. Pitman Company, a leading US supplier of prepress, industrial inkjet, pressroom and packaging printing products and systems. The acquisition will allow Agfa Graphics to strengthen its distribution power and expand its presence in the growing US industrial printing industry. It will boost Agfa Graphics' revenue in the US to over $500 million.


Performing markedly better than in the first months of this year, Agfa HealthCare booked a slight revenue increase of 0.3 percent (a decrease of 3.7 percent excluding currency effects) compared to the second quarter of 2009. The traditional imaging products continued their market-driven decline. Computed Radiography (CR) performed well and a strong order intake was booked for CR, as well as for Direct Radiography (DR). For IT, revenue grew substantially in the emerging countries and the USA, where Agfa HealthCare clearly outperformed the market. In certain Southern European countries, the unstable economic climate weighed on Agfa HealthCare's IT sales, whereas the beginning of an upturn was noticed in the German and Northern European markets.


As a result of improved service efficiency in IT and the efficient use of manufacturing capacity, the business group's gross profit margin improved from 39.3 percent in the second quarter of 2009 to 41.9 percent. The business group's SG&A expenses remained stable. Agfa HealthCare's recurring EBITDA amounted to 48.1 million Euro (or 16.3 percent of revenue). Recurring EBIT improved strongly to 35.6 million Euro, or 12.0 percent of revenue.


In the second quarter, Premier Healthcare Alliance honoured Agfa HealthCare with the Supplier Performance Award. With the award, the alliance applauds the efforts of contracted suppliers that meet and exceed operational expectations. Premier is a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,300 US hospitals and 67,000 other healthcare sites working together to achieve high quality, cost-effective care.


In the field of Imaging, Agfa HealthCare was awarded a new three year, multi-source, contract by HealthTrust Purchasing Group to provide Computed Radiography products to their more than 1,400 acute care hospitals, 120 alternate care sites and 3,600 physician practices in the US.


In the 2010 Best in KLAS Medical Equipment Report, Agfa HealthCare was named category leader for single plate CR. Agfa HealthCare's CR 30-X digitizer is the No. 1 ranked CR product according to KLAS, a research firm specializing in monitoring and reporting the performance of healthcare vendors. In the second quarter, a strong order intake was booked for CR and DR systems, with the CR 30-X as the absolute star among the family of CR digitizers.


In Imaging Informatics, Agfa HealthCare signed an agreement with the Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC) in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) to upgrade its existing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) and install a Radiology Information System (RIS) and Nuclear Information System (NIS). The AMC is one of the The Netherlands' leading university medical centers. Furthermore, Agfa HealthCare completed the installation of its latest PACS and RIS releases at four of Alliance Medical's sites across Ireland. Alliance Medical is an independent provider of diagnostic imaging services with 11 dedicated sites across Ireland. In Brazil, Agfa HealthCare signed an agreement with the Fundação Instituto de Pesquisa e Estudo de Diagnóstico por Imagen (FIDI) for the installation of its CR and Imaging IT solutions across the organization's 25 sites.


In Enterprise IT, Agfa HealthCare continued its geographical expansion by launching its Document Management System (known as HYDMedia) in France and Luxemburg. This new offering completes the digitization of hospitals and healthcare facilities, by allowing them to install a fully paperless workflow.


Agfa Specialty Products' revenue decreased 12.5 percent compared to the second quarter of 2009. Like in the first quarter of the year, the business group's revenue was influenced by the shift of part of its film business to Agfa Graphics and by the market-driven decline for some of the Classic Film products. The revenue for Printed Circuit Board (PCB) film continued to increase due to the growth of the electronics industry in Asia.


The revenue impact and the continued R&D for the New Business products were counterbalanced by the increased use of the manufacturing capacity and the continued efforts to reduce operational costs. The recurring EBITDA margin amounted to 9.0 percent of revenue and the recurring EBIT margin amounted to 7.3 percent of revenue.



Provided that the exchange rates and macro-economic conditions remain stable, the Agfa-Gevaert Group expects a full year revenue growth of about 200 million Euro versus 2009. The revenue increase is expected to come from Agfa Graphics, as the business group's internal growth will be supplemented by the impact of the recently announced acquisitions and joint venture. Agfa Graphics' full year EBIT to revenue ratio is expected to be higher than average because of the favorable raw material costs, the stronger than anticipated recovery of the graphic industry in the USA and the IP related one-off effect. Agfa HealthCare anticipates a better top line performance in the second half of the year. The business group expects its full year EBIT to revenue ratio to be closer to 11 percent than to 10 percent.


Agfa Graphics sticks to its 7 percent medium term EBIT target. Agfa HealthCare will continue its programs to improve service efficiency. Furthermore, the business group's profitability will gradually become less exposed to the fluctuations of the silver price. For Agfa HealthCare, the medium term EBIT to revenue ratio is expected to be between 10.5 percent and 11 percent.


Agfa Specialty Products continues to invest in new businesses, which will only gradually start to compensate for the ongoing decline in the demand for some of the traditional film products.


Christian Reinaudo, Agfa-Gevaert's President and CEO, said: "The strong performance in the first half of this year indicates that our targeted strategies and industry-leading technologies have allowed us to rejoin the path to growth. We expect that the combination of organic growth and the effects of our recent strategic moves will yield a full year revenue increase of about 200 million Euro."

HP reports earnings up in Q3

Hp Logo

Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue increased 9% to $6.2 billion. Supplies revenue was up 5%, while Commercial hardware revenue and Consumer hardware revenue increased 28% and 4%, respectively. Printer unit shipments increased 16%, with Commercial printer hardware units up 44% and Consumer printer hardware units up 9%. Operating profit was $1.0 billion, or 16.9% of revenue, versus $960 million, or 17.0% of revenue, in the prior-year period.


HP today announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2010, with net revenue of $30.7 billion, up 11.4% from a year earlier including a favorable currency benefit of approximately one percentage point.

In the third quarter, GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.75, up from $0.69 in the prior-year period. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was $1.08, up from $0.92 in the prior-year period, including a one-time negative impact of approximately $0.02 per share related to a legal settlement. Non-GAAP financial information excludes after-tax costs of approximately $0.33 per share and $0.23 per share in the third quarter of fiscal 2010 and 2009, respectively, related primarily to the amortization of purchased intangibles, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.

"The broad-based strength of HP's Q3 performance further demonstrates the power of our strategy and the discipline of our execution," said Cathie Lesjak, HP chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer. "We raised our full-year outlook and are continuing to build momentum in driving out costs, investing for profitable growth and capitalizing on HP's competitive advantages in the marketplace."

Information about HP's use of non-GAAP financial information is provided under "Use of non-GAAP financial information" below. Unless otherwise noted, all growth rates included in the narrative below reflect year-over-year comparisons.

Third quarter revenue was up 12% in the Americas to $14.2 billion. Revenue was up 9% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and up 14% in Asia Pacific to $10.9 billion and $5.6 billion, respectively. When adjusted for the effects of currency, revenue was up 11% in the Americas, up 12% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and up 8% in Asia Pacific. Revenue from outside of the United States in the third quarter accounted for 63% of total HP revenue, with revenue in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) increasing 21% while accounting for 11% of total HP revenue.



Services revenue increased 1% to $8.6 billion. Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing revenue and Business Process Outsourcing each increased 1%, while revenue in Technology Services declined roughly 1%. Application Services revenue was up 4% versus the prior-year period. Operating profit was $1.4 billion, or 15.9% of revenue, up from $1.3 billion, or 15.3% of revenue, in the prior-year period.


Enterprise Storage and Servers

Enterprise Storage and Servers (ESS) reported total revenue of $4.4 billion, up 19%. Industry Standard Server revenue increased 31%, while Storage revenue increased 10% and Business Critical Systems revenue declined 15%. ESS blade revenue was up 29%. Operating profit was $549 million, or 12.3% of revenue, up from $381 million, or 10.2% of revenue, in the prior-year period.


HP Software

HP Software revenue increased 2% to $863 million. Business Technology Optimization revenue increased 3%, and Other Software revenue decreased 1%. Operating profit was $183 million, or 21.2% of revenue, up from $153 million, or 18.1% of revenue, in the prior-year period.


Personal Systems Group

Personal Systems Group (PSG) posted a 12% increase in unit shipments and maintained the leading market share position in PCs worldwide. PSG revenue increased 17% to $9.9 billion. Notebook revenue for the quarter was up 10%, while Desktop revenue increased 27%. Commercial client revenue was up 25%, while Consumer client revenue increased 12%. Operating profit was $469 million, or 4.7% of revenue, up from $387 million, or 4.6% of revenue, in the prior-year period.


Imaging and Printing Group

Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue increased 9% to $6.2 billion. Supplies revenue was up 5%, while Commercial hardware revenue and Consumer hardware revenue increased 28% and 4%, respectively. Printer unit shipments increased 16%, with Commercial printer hardware units up 44% and Consumer printer hardware units up 9%. Operating profit was $1.0 billion, or 16.9% of revenue, versus $960 million, or 17.0% of revenue, in the prior-year period.


Corporate Investments

ProCurve revenue increased 42%, and HP Networking overall increased 198% year over year including the impact of the 3Com acquisition.


HP Financial Services

HP Financial Services (HPFS) revenue increased 14% to $764 million. Financing volume increased 3%, and net portfolio assets increased 13%. Operating margin was 9.4%, up from 7.9% in the prior-year period.


Asset management

HP generated $3.3 billion in cash flow from operations for the third quarter. Inventory ended the quarter at $7.2 billion, with days of inventory up to 28 from 25 in the prior-year period. Accounts receivable of $15.6 billion was down 2 days year over year. Accounts payable ended the quarter at $14.9 billion, up 2 days over the prior-year period. HP's dividend payment of $0.08 per share in the third quarter resulted in cash usage of $205 million. HP also utilized $2.6 billion of cash during the quarter to repurchase approximately 55 million shares of common stock in the open market. HP exited the quarter with $14.8 billion in gross cash.



For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, HP estimates revenue of approximately $32.5 billion to $32.7 billion, GAAP diluted EPS in the range of $1.03 to $1.05, and non-GAAP diluted EPS in the range of $1.25 to $1.27. Fourth quarter fiscal 2010 non-GAAP diluted EPS estimates exclude after-tax costs of approximately $0.22 per share, related primarily to the amortization of purchased intangibles, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.

For the full year, HP expects revenue in the range of $125.3 billion to $125.5 billion. HP expects FY10 GAAP diluted EPS to be in the range of $3.62 to $3.64 and non-GAAP diluted EPS in the range of $4.49 to $4.51. FY10 non-GAAP diluted EPS estimates exclude after-tax costs of approximately $0.87 per share, related primarily to the amortization of purchased intangibles, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.