Salt Lake Papers Choose Japanese Press Maker

By: Jim Rosenberg

Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho (TKS) Ltd. didn’t erect and operate its new ColorTop 5000UD at Nexpo just to cart it back across the Pacific.

The one-page around, four-page-wide shaftless four-color tower introduced at the annual newspaper technology exhibition last month will become part of three presses in two years if a letter of intent turns into a contract from The Newspaper Agency Corp. (NAC), agency for the joint operating agreement between the owners of Utah’s Deseret Morning News and The Salt Lake Tribune.

Presses from three manufacturers were under consideration at least through Nexpo. National Sales Manager Mike Shafer said TKS learned of the decision shortly after the show. He said it represents expanding competition in a market lately dominated by two press makers.

A contract will mark the first full, replacement press sale in this market for the Japanese press maker’s U.S. affiliate since installations were completed in 1990 at The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch and The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J. For the past 13 years, TKS (USA) Inc. has supplied upgrades, expansions, and tower additions to its own and other presses in the U.S.

Sales of imported presses during most of the latter half of that period were hampered by antidumping investigations and duty impositions. The government actions in response to Goss petitions were followed by Goss lawsuits against the same foreign press makers. Only TKS has not settled with Goss, which made the presses that now print the Salt Lake City dailies. As a part of the discovery process earlier in the year, Goss summoned TKS President Kohei Shiba to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo for a 90-minute videotaped deposition, which a consultant to TKS described as part of a “systematic pattern of harrassment.”

TKS is the latest to enter the market for so-called 1-by-4 or straight-only presses, and the ColorTop 5000UD was designed with the North American market in mind (E&P, June 23). The proposed Salt Lake sale for installation in a new West Valley City plant would make it North America’s largest 1-by-4: three inline presses, with jaw folders, consisting of 111 open-fountain printing units over 24 auto-loading reelstands.

The equipment is to be housed in a 400-foot-long, 50-foot-wide, 80-foot-tall press hall, which will be built adjacent to a packaging area and NAC’s new headquarters. Only editorial offices will remain downtown. Total cost of the project is estimated at $80 million, of which the press accounts for between $25 million and $50 million, according to NAC President Joe Zerbey. The Tribune reported that its current and former owners’ dispute over the latter’s right to reacquire the paper may delay and increase the cost of the project.

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