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Plans to outsource Chron printing on track

Despite the recession and a downturn in the newspaper industry, the company that plans to take over the printing of the Chronicle is moving forward with opening a new $200 million plant in Fremont.

Montreal-based Transcontinental on Friday reported a loss of $94 million for the quarter ended Oct. 31, compared to a profit of $38 million in the same period a year earlier. One reason it gave for the loss was the shutdown of some of its junk-mail operations in the U.S. Transcon eliminated 460 jobs at a junk-mail plant in Pennsylvania last month.

Still, Transcon chief executive François Olivier said in a statement Friday that his company will benefit next year from the 15-year contract to print the Chron.

When presses at the Transcon plant begin rolling, the Chron plans to close its remaining printing plants in San Francisco and Union City, eliminating more than 200 Teamster jobs. A Business Journal article from August points out that the 350,000-square-foot, 300-employee Transcon plant will be able to print more than just the Chron, creating some competition for commercial printers such as Fricke-Parks in Union City and Southwest Offset in Redwood City.

It’s not known exactly when the new plant will open. Originally the plan was to open in February 2009, but more recently recruiting ads have said the opening will occur in the summer of 2009. The plant is being built on Kato Road near the Dixon Landing-880 interchange.

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