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Phoenix buys two new firms

March 19, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

Phoenix Color Corp. has bought two out-of-state firms, adding 110 employees, company officials said Thursday.

Employees from the two companies, TechniGraphix, of Dulles, Va., and Mid-City Lithographers of Lake Forest, Ill., will stay where they are rather than move to Phoenix's operations in Washington County, said Ed Lieberman, Phoenix's chief financial officer.

Lieberman said Phoenix would not disclose the purchase price of either firm.

TechniGraphix, of Dulles, employs approximately 50 people at its high-quality, on-demand book printing company, said Amy Smith, Phoenix spokeswoman.

Phoenix officials plan to build a new on-demand plant at their Book Technology Park northwest of the Hagerstown Regional Airport. That plant would become a branch of TechniGraphix, Smith said.

"TechniGraphix has mastered the art and science of producing very high quality books in quantities that traditional book manufacturers find impractical," Phoenix board of directors Chairman Louis LaSorsa said in a prepared statement.

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On-demand plants specialize in quickly filling smaller book orders, such as soft-cover educational and children's books, Smith said.

While the purchases didn't bring any jobs to the local area, Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said county officials were glad to see a local company expand.

Phoenix also finalized a deal in January to buy Mid-City Lithographers of Lake Forest, Ill., Lieberman said.

Mid-City's 60 employees will stay at the existing plant until a new 60,000-square-foot plant Phoenix is building in Lake Forest is complete at the end of this year, according to Smith and a Phoenix Color news release. That plant will replace one that was planned for Lebanon, Ind.

Mid-City controlled 30 percent to 35 percent of the national market for elementary and high school textbooks and workbooks, Lieberman said. The book component plant makes covers for those books.

The Lake Forest operation allows Phoenix to better reach clients in the Midwest, Lieberman said.

Phoenix employs 650 people companywide, including more than 500 in the Hagerstown area.

The $100 million Book Technology Park will create 600 new jobs for Phoenix.

Construction on phase one of the park has begun. Phoenix is expected to begin manufacturing books there by June, Smith said.

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