Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Goss Chief Talks to Tops in Ops

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Goss Chief Talks to Tops in Ops

Article excerpt

International Newspaper Group meeting provides a platform for press- maker president

After closing its last U.S. factory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time, Goss Graphic Systems dispatched Richard Sutis to Dallas for an unscheduled presentation at the International Newspaper Group's annual meeting this month.

Goss president since May and vice chairman of Chinese joint venture Shanghai Goss and Goss Japan, Sutis stressed that Goss remains a healthy international enterprise and is not abandoning the Americas. (He arrived buoyed by a big British buy: Three weeks after the reorganization was announced and just three days before he spoke to the ING, the United Kingdom's largest newspaper publisher, Trinity Mirror, said it will spend $25 million to equip its new Western Mail & Echo plant in Cardiff, Wales, with four highly automated Colorliner towers, two jaw folders, and six split-arm reelstands.)

Beyond information contained in his company's reorganization announcement, Sutis said slowing advertising (including inserts) in a declining market delayed large press purchases in the United States (though Universal and Magnum sales continued). And the strength of the dollar relative to the euro, he said, "made the Cedar Rapids products uncompetitive."

Throughout its most recent financial difficulties, however, Goss was never in default, according to Sutis, who said, "We were in compliance with all our covenants." While that may be true for financial backers, the International Association of Machinists union local in Cedar Rapids said employees' last paychecks bounced, customers were left waiting for paid-for presses, and installation subcontractors said they have not been paid.

Though the shortfall experienced this year called for immediate action, Sutis said, "Likely, two years ago, we should have taken the same action we've taken today." The big Cedar Rapids plant may have remained open, but Goss did file for Chapter 11 in July of 1999. Court approval followed in October, and by the next July it had emerged from bankruptcy.

Goss will be better able to execute its plans when it is "through with this [latest bankruptcy] process by next spring," he said, adding that it will incur "some minimal cost," create manageable debt, and allow "very competitive" pricing. …

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