François Olivier becomes president and chief executive officer of Transcontinental at its growth-focused annual meeting



    MONTREAL, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - As announced last September, François
Olivier today officially became president and chief executive officer of
Transcontinental at its annual shareholders' meeting. He is taking over from
Luc Desjardins, who is leaving the company after eight years of loyal and
productive service.
    Rémi Marcoux, founder and executive chairman of the board, thanked Luc
Desjardins for his contribution: "Luc successfully guided Transcontinental
through an important stage in its growth. Since 2000, Transcontinental's
performance has been a remarkable achievement, and I wish to personally thank
him today, as well as on behalf of the board of directors."
    François Olivier joined Transcontinental in 1993 and rose through the
ranks, exceeding expectations every step of the way. He has become
particularly known in recent years for developing the newspaper outsourcing
model for North America, a future growth segment for Transcontinental.
Mr. Olivier was appointed following a rigorous selection process headed by the
independent members of the board, under the guidance of senior director J.V.
Raymond Cyr.
    "François has an impressive track record with Transcontinental,"
Mr. Marcoux said. "He is an entrepreneur and innovator who puts growth front
and centre and he has excellent credibility throughout the organization.
Because we have a strong management team, we were able to identify an internal
successor, in this instance a member of my family, which guarantees the
continuity and stability that are so crucial in today's economy."

    Growth-focused annual meeting

    Corporation spokespeople told the some 400 shareholders, business
partners and executives present at the meeting just how well positioned
Transcontinental is to keep growing.
    First, Rémi Marcoux pointed out that Transcontinental has the strategy,
solid financial base and leadership to continue to grow and to win in the
printing and media industries. He touched on the company's niche-based
strategy, which means "not being the biggest but being the best in each of our
niches," its disciplined financial management, which makes it possible for it
to play an active role in the current consolidation of the printing industry,
as well as a mobilizing business project that "shows that at Transcontinental,
it's the people who make the difference."
    He added: "Transcontinental earns more than a quarter of its revenues and
slightly more than 40% of its profits from its Media sector. Our strong brands
in both magazines and newspapers have brought us exceptional awareness in the
communities we serve and are an excellent lever for the development of our
digital offering."
    Luc Desjardins, for his part, delivered a personal message to the guests
present: "I have just finished eight fine years at the head of
Transcontinental and I am leaving with a feeling of accomplishment. I am very
confident that we will achieve the financial objectives of Evolution 2010. We
have a business project, a technologically advanced company, a solid financial
foundation and the teams we need to keep growing. The company is in good
hands."
    François Olivier reviewed the main highlights of 2007 that he considers
promising for the company's future growth. In addition to the launch of The
Race Towards Excellence, a mobilizing tool designed to impart the
corporation's vision and strategy to its 15,000 employees, he reviewed the
four issues of Evolution 2010: talent, sales growth, efficiency and digital.
    In his words, the "Race Towards Excellence is like a training program
aimed at getting each Transcontinental business unit to strive for continuous
improvement. By measuring ourselves against the best in each area of activity,
we will create the conditions that will lead us to excellence."
    Among the year's highlights, he mentioned the acquisition of PLM Group, a
Canadian leader in direct marketing; winning the contracts to print Rogers'
magazines and the San Francisco Chronicle; the launch of More magazine; the
launch (lebelage.ca) or revamping of websites tied to Transcontinental's'
magazines (lesaffaires.com, canadianliving.com and thehockeynews.com); the
planned investment of $60 million to make Transcontinental Transmag one of the
most modern newspaper printing plants in the world; and the renewal of
Transcontinental's commitment to protect the environment.
    Mr. Olivier continued, saying "our growth in the years ahead will be
based in part on our ability to integrate and develop new, non-print related
growth platforms that will help our existing customers optimize their
marketing dollar. At the same time, we will be active participants in the
consolidation of the printing and publishing industries. The keystone will
continue to be our close proximity to our customers, our business credibility
and our reputation."
    Lastly, Benoît Huard, vice president and chief financial officer, put
Transcontinental's financial results into perspective, showing that
Transcontinental did well in 2007 and is in a good position to keep growing.
He noted the following: organic growth of revenue reached 4.4 % in the fourth
quarter; excluding the impact of the exchange rate, adjusted net earnings per
share increased 11%, slightly more than the Evolution 2010 target; the
cumulative impact of the exchange rate over the past five years, which reduced
net earnings by $51 million, or $0.57 per share; the Corporation's enviable
financial position, generating $240 million in cash flow from operations in
2007 and a net funded debt to total capitalization ratio of 29%.
    Mr. Huard concluded by noting that "this solid financial position allowed
us to invest $130 million in fixed assets and more than $130 million in
acquisitions, including PLM Group. In addition, we increased our dividend for
the fifth consecutive year and bought back 2.5 million shares, worth
$53 million dollars. Our disciplined financial management and ability to
generate cash flow from operations gives us the means to pursue our growth."

    About Transcontinental

    The largest printer in Canada and sixth-largest in North America,
Transcontinental is also the country's leading publisher of consumer magazines
and French-language educational resources, and its second-largest community
newspaper publisher. Transcontinental distinguishes itself by creating
strategic partnerships that integrate the company into its customers' value
chain, notably through its unique newspaper printing outsourcing model and its
value-added services. From mass to highly personalized marketing, the company
offers its clients integrated solutions which include a continent-leading
direct marketing offering, a diverse digital platform and a door-to-door
advertising material distribution network. Transcontinental is a company whose
values, including respect, innovation and integrity, are central to its
operation.
    Transcontinental (TSX: TCL.A, TCL.B) has approximately 15,000 employees
in Canada, the United States and Mexico, and reported revenues of C2.3 billion
in 2007.
    %SEDAR: 00000383EF




For further information:

For further information: Media: Nessa Prendergast, Director, Media
Relations, Transcontinental Inc., (514) 954-2809,
nessa.prendergast@transcontinental.ca, www.transcontinental.com; Financial
Community: Jennifer F. McCaughey, Director, Investor Relations,
Transcontinental Inc., (514) 954-2821, jennifer.mccaughey@transcontinental.ca

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