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Transcontinental sells building to San Francisco Chronicle publisher Hearst

MONTREAL — TC Transcontinental has agreed to sell the building that housed its former printing operations in Fremont, Calif., for US$75 million, with the proceeds to be used to reduce debt, the company said Tuesday.

The buyer is Hearst Corp., which took over printing operations at the plant in April 2018 as the two companies dissolved a multi-year outsourcing agreement in which Transcontinental printed the San Francisco Chronicle for the media company.

TC Transcontinental began printing the Chronicle starting in 2009 under an agreement that was to run for 15 years.

However, the companies amended the agreement in 2012 to reflect a decline in print newspaper circulation and Transcontinental received US$200 million in compensation from Hearst.

In 2017, Hearst decided to bring printing of the Chronicle in-house as of April 2018.

Transcontinental said the pending sale of the building to Hearst is expected to close in the fourth quarter of its 2019 financial year.

The Montreal-based company has been undergoing a multi-year transition as a result of changing market conditions, as consumers and advertisers increasingly turn to digital media at the expense of publications and flyers printed on paper.

In addition to divesting its newspapers and reducing its reliance on commercial printing, the Transcontinental has been expanded into flexible packaging.

It announced separately on Tuesday that it has invested an undisclosed amount to buy a 60 per cent interest in Trilex, a plastic packaging supplier in Ecuador — its eighth packaging acquisition since 2014.

“The acquisition of a majority participation in Trilex, a leading supplier to the banana export industry, is aligned with our growth strategy for the Packaging Sector,” said TC Transcontinental CEO Francois Olivier said in a statement.

The Montreal-based company releases results for its third quarter on Thursday.



Companies in this story: (TSX:TCL.A TSX:TCL.B)

The Canadian Press

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