Speech pronounced by
Mr. Pierre Beaudoin,
President of Wilco Inc.
at a press conference with
the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for the Economy and
Finance in attendance
Held in Candiac
November 19, 2001 at 2 p.m.
Madam Deputy Prime Minister,
Members of the National Assembly,
Clients and business partners,
I want to begin by thanking you for joining us in celebrating an
important stage in the life of Wilco Inc., which today is announcing an
investment of $18.15 million in its Candiac facilities.
This investment, with support from the Québec government, will
enable us to continue to satisfy the growing demand from our
international customers and supply them with high-quality, customized
Today’s announcement demonstrates the success Wilco has
achieved, success based on a meticulous analysis of the North American
market and on clear strategic choices.
In 1987, when I took over the company that my father had founded
24 years earlier, my partners and I knew that we needed to determine the
market segments where Wilco’s specific strengths would translate into a
key competitive advantage on the North American market.
We identified the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and hair colorant
segments. Not only do these sectors demand the print quality and finish
that Wilco is known for, but they are also growing because of an ageing
population. These sectors complemented the tobacco market, a long-time
customer of our company.
To consolidate our position, we acquired, three years later,
Bourguignon DH, a company that specialized in these specific markets.
At about the same time we began our association with the Fonds de
solidarité des travailleurs du Québec.
In the early nineties, a recession was created by the advent of the
free trade that sparked a shift in the cosmetics industry to the United
We came through that difficult period with the support of our
employees, our financial partners and our core customers in Québec and
Canada who have shown confidence in us for over 30 years.
Today, Wilco is synonymous with quality and customer service far
beyond our borders.
Our American customers see us as one of the leading suppliers in
the hair colorant, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
In 1997, we merged with Cartem, another partner of the Fonds de
solidarité, and formed the Groupe Cartem Wilco. Over the last few years,
Cartem has invested $8 million to modernize its plant in Sainte-Marie. In
May 2001 it acquired Les Emballages ECCO/Étiquettes Miramont. Today,
the Groupe Cartem Wilco has three plants, 450 employees and sales of
$90 million, making it the largest independent producer of folding
cartons in Canada.
During the past three years, Wilco invested $6 million and moved
to the Candiac building to modernize and consolidate its operations. Our
customers in North America have reacted to this decision very favourably
and our sales are up 50% in three years.
Those of you who have visited our facilities can vouch for their
cleanliness and exceptional organization, which faithfully reflect the
quality of our services and products.
By moving to Candiac, we were able to set ourselves apart from the
competition by adopting a technology that can transfer an image directly
from computer to plate, without film.
This results in savings for the customer and better print quality.
We were the first folding carton manufacturer in North America to
adopt this technology, which is fast becoming an industry standard.
Using the best production techniques is part of our business plan
because we want to offer our customers not only the best products, but
the best possible service as well.
Today, our investment of $18.15 million shows that we are
determined to maintain the highest quality standards for our products
and customer service.
Accordingly, the investment we are announcing today has three
• increase our production and storage capacity;
• optimize materials flow within the plant;
• and boost our product offerings in our markets.
There are three parts to this investment:
The first will enable us to acquire the building and the land needed
to expand production and storage space by close to 40%. Work is already
under way, as you have noticed, and should be finished this winter.
The acquisition of an eight-colour press with two coaters makes up
the second step in this project. The press will be installed this winter and
will be fully operational in March 2002. This new equipment will be the
flagship of our printing department. It will make us more competitive and
will increase our printing capacity by more than 50%.
The last part of the investment will extend over the next 12 to 18
months during which we will add finishing equipment needed to
accommodate our growth.
I want to point out that today’s announcement would not have
been possible without the support many of you have provided.
Over the last few months, a number of our customers have agreed
to sign long-term contracts with us guaranteeing the current order
volume and, in many cases, adding new product families to our
production. I want to thank them for their confidence in us and I can
assure them that we will live up to their expectations.
I also want to thank the board of directors of the Cartem Wilco
Group, particularly my fellow shareholders, namely Mr. Pierre-Maurice
Vachon and Mr. Lucien Labbé and the Fonds de Solidarité de la FTQ,
who had faith in my project and agreed to support me in the grand Wilco
I also want to acknowledge Wilco’s employees who, working as a
team, have made a significant contribution to making our company what
it is today.
Lastly, I want to thank the Québec government for its support of
this investment plan that will have an economic and social impact in our
region. I take pride in announcing that, in addition to protecting existing
jobs, we expect to create another 50 jobs by the end of 2004. Most of
these jobs will be tied to running the new equipment.
* * *
Madam Deputy Prime Minister, in thanking you for the
government’s support, I also want to acknowledge the professionalism
and dependability of the staff at Investissement-Québec with whom we
I also want to assure you that our current growth in the
pharmaceutical, cosmetics and hair colorant sectors allows us to look
forward to new developments in the near future.
I feel certain that we will have other opportunities for seeing each
other in the coming years.
Thank you for your attention.