Transcontinental introduces rationalization measures



    MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Transcontinental today announced major
rationalization measures to address the recession. Some 1500 jobs are
eliminated and substantive cost-cutting measures are being implemented
throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico.
    In recent weeks the rapid deterioration of the economy has reduced the
communication and marketing investments of a number of Transcontinental's
customers, significantly affecting some of the Corporation's business niches.
Commercial printing projects, direct mail projects and magazine advertising
placements have been cancelled or postponed by companies that have been hit by
the recession.
    "It's a difficult situation for everyone affected, but we are acting in
the interests of all of our employees and our shareholders," said François
Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transcontinental. "In the
short term, this rationalization comes at a cost, but in the medium term it
will protect the Corporation's financial health."
    Due to the economic downturn caused by the financial crisis, in November
2008 the Corporation announced that it was consolidating the operations of
Transcontinental Direct USA Inc., its U.S. subsidiary. This consolidation,
along with a company-wide review of production capacity, the adjustment of
costs to demand, the closure of plants and the termination of some
publications involves the elimination of 1500 jobs. The employees affected by
the cuts will be entitled to severance packages and professional career
counselling services.
    In addition, as part of the rationalization measures, all of
Transcontinental's employees are being asked to do their share. A number of
extraordinary initiatives in light of the situations and specific needs of
each business group have been implemented. Each budget item and each new
project has been reviewed. A hiring freeze has been implemented. Unpaid leave,
reduced work weeks and other measures are also being implemented. For their
part, the Corporation's senior managers have decided to take two weeks of
unpaid leave but to work throughout that period. In total, these measures will
cut costs by about $75 million on an annualized basis, including $50 million
in 2009. Capital investments, except for those assigned to outsourced
newspaper printing, have been reduced. "We plan to maintain our prudent
balance between our profits, costs, debt and investments," said Mr. Olivier.

    Reinventing Transcontinental

    In fiscal 2009, Transcontinental plans to continue its transformation by
expanding its service offering on the Internet, integrating new marketing
services and creating new communication platforms. This transformation will
take place along with the development of its core activities as a publisher
and printer.
    As François Olivier pointed out, Transcontinental is in an enviable
position for maximizing its growth: "We have the customer base, and we already
provide those customers with a major portion of their marketing tools. We have
the necessary assets and organizational capacities. We have the strategy, the
values, the people and the financial solidity to get through the economic
crisis and come out of it in a stronger position for growth."

    About Transcontinental

    Transcontinental provides printing, publishing and marketing services
that deliver exceptional value to its clients and provide a unique, integrated
platform for them to reach and retain their target audiences. Transcontinental
is the largest printer in Canada and sixth-largest in North America. It is
also the country's leading publisher of consumer magazines and French-language
educational resources, its second-largest community newspaper publisher, and
its digital platform delivers unique content through more than 120 Web sites.
Its Marketing Communications Sector provides advertising services and
marketing products using new communications platforms supported by database
analytics, premedia, email marketing, and custom communications.
Transcontinental is a growing company with a culture of continuous improvement
and financial discipline, whose values, including respect, innovation and
integrity, are central to its operation. Transcontinental (TSX: TCL.A, TCL.B)
operates in Canada, the United States and Mexico, and reported revenues of
C$2.4 billion in 2008. For more information about the Corporation, please
visit www.transcontinental.com.




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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