As reported yesterday, Quebecor World, printer of most North American comics periodicals, has filed for bankruptcy in both US and Canadian Courts. Jim Milliot at PW writes:
According to the company, as part of the filing, it has reached financing commitments with Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley for $1 billion in new financing that will allow it “to meet all current operating needs, including wages, benefits and other operating expenses.” The financing was approved be the Canadian court yesterday and should be approved in the U.S. by tomorrow. Operations outside of North America are not included in these filings. In an interview with PW last Thursday, Sean Twomey, senior v-p of market development for Quebecor World, said that no matter what the outcome of the refinancing discussion, Quebecor’s book facilities would continue to operate. Kevin Clarke, head of the book group, reiterated that position this morning, saying that from an operational standpoint “it is business as usual.”
Today, Quebecor is trying to calm its customers:
Quebecor World Inc. is moving to reassure jittery customers, suppliers and employees as the struggling commercial printing giant prepares for a massive restructuring under court protection from its creditors.
“People are scared,” said a source close to events at the Montreal-based company, which obtained court protection from its creditors Monday in Quebec Superior Court and is before a U.S. bankruptcy judge today.
“Customers are worried that their orders won’t get done, suppliers that they won’t get paid,” said the source.
These worries appear to be more theoretical and actual thus far. Although Quebecor World’s bankruptcy sounds like a disaster for comics, it really isn’t according to everyone we spoke with. For one things, other printers would be happy to pick up business which, as precious as it seems to comics fans, isn’t that huge an undertaking. Contingency plans have been made, and many companies are in very serious talks about switching, but it appears the impact will be minimal.
However, we would emend that statement just a bit. Yesterday we recveived a package of Image comics from Lebonfon, another Canadian printer with ties to, but independent from Quebecor. Instead of opening the usual Chinese box from Quebecor, the comics were sensibly bundled inside a manila envelope.
We like their style.