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Printing plant to expand plant, work force

October 13, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MIDDLEWAY, W.Va. - A Canada-based manufacturer that acquired the Spectratech International Inc. printing plate plant near Middleway earlier this year has announced plans to add another 20 to 30 jobs, which would put its total employment at the local plant at about 100 people, a company official said Tuesday.

The jobs will be added when the plant opens another production line.

Creo Inc., which is based in Vancouver, offers products to companies involved in the printing industry. The company's product line includes digital cameras, software and imaging devices that use lasers, said Rochelle van Halm, media relations manager for the company.

A year ago, Creo purchased its first printing plate plant in South Africa, and in February, Creo purchased the former Spectratech plant, van Halm said.

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The Middleway plant has been a long-time producer of printing plates and at one time was owned by 3M.

Creo plans to construct another lithographic plate production line at the Middleway plant, an expansion that will create 20 to 30 jobs over the next 12 to 14 months, van Halm said. The plant produces thermal printing plates for commercial, packaging and newspaper printers.

About 80 people are employed at the plant, van Halm said.

The additional production line should be completed by the end of next year, van Halm said.

Creo will announce on Nov. 17 an estimate of how much it will invest in the expansion, van Halm said.

The new production line will be built in the existing plant, she said.

Demand for printing products has been good and Creo wants to offer as many printing products as it can to its customers, van Halm said.

The company also has manufacturing facilities in Vancouver and Israel and is aiming for $1 billion in total revenue in 2007, she said.

This week, Creo is participating in a printing industry trade show in Chicago and some of the printing plates that were manufactured in Middleway are on display at the show, van Halm said.

The West Virginia plant and inventory were acquired from Spectratech for $19.3 million in February, she said.

In the first three quarters of 2004, Creo reported $52.5 million in revenues from consumables, which include printing plates and proofing materials, according to a company news release.

The company expects revenue from consumables to grow by more than 50 percent in 2005, the release said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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