Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reprographers, what are your company's "Risk Factors" and does your "strategic plan" consider those risk factors?

Reprographers, as most of you are aware by now, all “publicly-held” companies have to provide a comprehensive, detailed list of their respective “risk factors”, so that investors who purchase stock or notes are made aware of the risk factors that the public company faces.

In coming up with a list of risk factors for public filings, securities attorneys advise their public-company clients to be very detailed ….and to be very, very comprehensive. If an investment goes bad (stock tanks or notes prove worthless), the injured party, in order to win in litigation, will have to prove that its investment tanked because of a factor (or, in the plural, factors) the company did not mention. So, the theory here is …. even if a risk factor is remote, include it in the filing. The more the merrier!

In its recent S-4 Registration Statement filing, ARC included 3 sections of risk factors:

· Risks Related to Our Business

· Risks Relating to the Exchange Offer

· Risks Related to the Notes

As to the section: “risks related to our business”, most reprographers face the same or similar risks as ARC.

As to the other two risk factor sections related to the “Exchange Offer” and “Notes”, reprographers other than ARC do not face those risk factors, except to the extent that a reprographics company does have outstanding borrowings (from banks or from whoever), its lender(s) do face some of the same risks that ARC’s lenders face.

One of the most interesting things about the process of defining risks – “risks related to your business” – is that the list you compile for your own business is an excellent exercise to undertake, since that list allows you to consider your risks in the formulation of (or update to) your company’s “strategic plan.” That’s, of course, if you even have one!

If you need assistance with the development of a strategic plan for your company (or, if you need assistance with updating your company’s strategic plan) and would like help from someone who is experienced with that sort of thing, contact me.

Okay, continue on to the next section, please.

For those of you who are too lazy to access the S-4 filling “Risk Factor” section, I’ve pulled that section and published it below:


An investment in our notes is subject to risks and uncertainties. You should carefully consider the risks described below, in addition to the other information contained in this prospectus, before making an investment decision. Realization of these risks could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially adversely affect our business operations. In such case, you may lose all or part of your original investment.

Risks Related to Our Business

Adverse Domestic and Global Economic Conditions and Disruption of Financial Markets could have a Material Adverse Impact on Our Business and Results of Operations.

During the past several years, domestic and international financial markets have experienced extreme disruption, including, among other things, extreme volatility in stock prices and severely diminished liquidity and credit availability. These developments and the related severe domestic and international economic downturn, have continued to adversely impact our business and financial condition in a number of ways, including effects beyond those that were experienced in previous recessions in the United States and foreign economies. The current restrictions in financial markets and the severe prolonged economic downturn may adversely affect the ability of our customers and suppliers to obtain financing for operations and purchases and to perform their obligations under agreements with us. These restrictions could result in a decrease in, or cancellation of, existing business, could limit new business, and could negatively impact our ability to collect on our accounts receivable on a timely basis, if at all. Although there have been recent signs of certain areas of economic improvement, we are unable to predict the duration and severity of the current economic downturn and disruption in financial markets and their effects on our business and results of operations. These events are more severe than the effects of previous economic recessions and may, in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

The Residential and Non-Residential Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry is in the Midst of a Severe Downturn. A Continuing Decline in the Residential and Non-Residential AEC Industry could Adversely Affect Our Future Revenue and Profitability.

We believe that the residential and non-residential AEC markets together accounted for approximately 76% of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2010, of which we believe the non-residential AEC industry accounted for approximately 93% of our net sales to the AEC market and the residential AEC industry accounted for approximately 7% of our net sales to the AEC market. Our historical operating results reflect the cyclical and variable nature of the AEC industry. Both the residential and non-residential portions of the AEC industry are in the midst of a severe downturn. The effects of the recent economic downturn in the United States economy and weakness in global economic conditions have resulted in a downturn in the residential and non-residential portions of the AEC industry. We believe that the AEC industry generally experiences downturns several months after a downturn in the general economy and that there may be a similar delay in the recovery in the AEC industry following a recovery in the general economy. A prolonged downturn in the AEC industry would diminish demand for our products and services, and would therefore negatively affect our revenues and have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition. Since we derive a majority of our revenues from reprographics products and services provided to the AEC industry, our operating results are more sensitive to this industry than other companies that serve more diversified markets.

Because a Majority of Our Overall Costs are Fixed, Changes in Economic Activity, Positive or Negative, Affect Our Results of Operations.

Because approximately 45% of our overall costs were fixed for the year ended December 31, 2010, changes in economic activity, positive or negative, affect our results of operations. As a consequence, our results of operations are subject to volatility and could deteriorate rapidly in a prolonged environment of declining revenues. Failure to maintain adequate cash reserves and to effectively manage our costs could adversely affect our ability to offset our fixed costs and may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Impairment of Goodwill may Adversely Impact Future Results of Operations.

We have intangible assets, including goodwill and other identifiable acquired intangibles on our balance sheet due to prior acquisitions. The initial identification and valuation of these intangible assets and the determination of the estimated useful lives at the time of acquisition involve management judgments and estimates. Based on our annual goodwill impairment assessment, we recorded a $38.3 million impairment during 2010.

The results of our impairment analysis are as of a particular point in time. If our assumptions regarding future forecasted revenue or gross margins of our operating segments (or "reporting units") are not achieved, we may be required to record additional goodwill impairment charges in future periods, if any such change constitutes a triggering event prior to the quarter in which we perform our annual goodwill impairment test.

Competition in Our Industry and Innovation by Our Competitors may Hinder Our Ability to Execute Our Business Strategy and Maintain Our Profitability.

The markets for our products and services are highly competitive, with competition primarily at local and regional levels. We compete primarily based on the level and quality of customer service, technological leadership, product performance and price. Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to continue to improve our service offerings, and develop and integrate technological advances. If we are unable to effectively develop and integrate technological advances into our service offerings and technology products in a timely manner, our operating results may be adversely affected. Technological innovation by our existing or future competitors could put us at a competitive disadvantage. In particular, our business could be adversely affected if any of our competitors develop or acquire superior technology that competes directly with or offers greater functionality than our proprietary technology, including our flagship product, PlanWell.

We also face the possibility that competition will continue to increase, particularly if copy and printing or business services companies choose to expand into the reprographics services industry. Many of these companies are substantially larger and have significantly greater financial resources than us, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, we could encounter competition in the future from large, well-capitalized companies such as equipment dealers and system integrators that can produce their own technology and leverage their existing distribution channels. We could also encounter competition from non-traditional reprographics service providers that offer reprographics services as a component of the other services that they provide to the AEC industry, such as vendors to our industry that provide services directly to our customers, bypassing reprographers. Many of these companies are substantially larger and have significantly greater financial resources than us, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage. Any such future competition could adversely affect our business and impair our future revenue and profitability.

The Reprographics Industry has Undergone Significant Changes in Recent Years and will Continue to Evolve. Our Failure to Anticipate and Adapt to Future Changes in the Reprographics Industry could Harm Our Competitive Position and Future Revenue and Profitability.

The reprographics industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. The industry's main production technology has migrated from analog to digital. This has prompted a number of industry trends, including a rapid shift toward decentralized production and lower labor utilization. As digital output devices become smaller, less expensive, easier to use and interconnected, end users of construction drawings are placing these devices within their offices and other locations. On-site reprographics equipment allows a customer to print documents and review hard copies without the delays or interruptions associated with sending documents out for copying, and digital document services that were once considered the domain of experts, such as ourselves, are becoming easier to accomplish in common office settings. Also, as a direct result of advancements in digital technology, labor demands have decreased. Instead of producing one print job at a time, reprographers now have the capability to produce multiple sets of documents with a single production employee. By linking output devices through a single print server, a production employee simply directs output to the device that is best suited for the job. As a result of these trends, reprographers have had to modify their operations to decentralize printing and shift costs from labor to technology.

We expect the reprographics industry to continue to evolve. Our industry is expected to continue to embrace digital technology, not only in terms of production services, but also in terms of network technology, digital document storage and management, and information distribution, all of which will require investment in, and continued development of, technological innovation. If we fail to keep pace with current changes or fail to anticipate or adapt to future changes in our industry, including changes in digital document services, our competitive position could be harmed which would have a material adverse impact on our future revenue and profitability.

If We Fail to Continue to Develop and Introduce New Services and Technologies Successfully, Our Competitive Positioning and Our Ability to Grow Our Business could be Harmed.

In order to remain competitive, we must continually invest in new technologies that will enable us to meet the evolving demands of our customers. We cannot guarantee that we will be successful in the introduction, marketing and adoption of any of our new technology services and products, or that we will develop and introduce in a timely manner innovative services and products that satisfy customer needs or achieve market acceptance. Our failure to develop new services and products and introduce them successfully could harm our competitive position and our ability to grow our business, and our revenues and operating results could suffer.

In addition, as reprographics technologies continue to develop, one or more of our current service offerings may become obsolete. In particular, digital technologies may significantly reduce the need for high-volume printing. Digital technology makes traditional reprographics equipment smaller and cheaper, which may cause certain AEC customers to discontinue outsourcing their reprographics needs. Any such developments could adversely affect our business and impair future revenue and profitability.

If We are Unable to Charge for Our Value-Added Services to Offset Potential Declines in Print Volumes, Our Long Term Revenue Could Decline.

Our customers value the ability to view and order prints over the internet and print to output devices in their own offices and other locations throughout the country and the world. In 2010, our reprographics services excluding digital revenues represented approximately 58% of our total net sales, and our facilities management services represented 20.4% of our total net sales. Both categories of revenue are generally derived from a charge per square foot of printed material. Future technological advances may further facilitate and improve our customers' ability to print in their own offices or at a job site. As technology continues to improve, this trend toward printing on an "as needed" basis could result in decreasing printing volumes and declining revenues in the longer term. Failure to offset these potential declines in printing volumes by changing how we charge for our services and developing additional revenue sources could significantly affect our business and reduce our long term revenue, resulting in an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

We Derive a Significant Percentage of Net Sales from within the State of California and Our Business could be Disproportionately Harmed by an Economic Downturn or Natural Disaster Affecting California.

We derived approximately 32% of our net sales in 2010 from our operations in California. As a result, we are dependent to a large extent upon the AEC industry in California and, accordingly, are sensitive to economic factors affecting California, including general and local economic conditions, macroeconomic trends, and natural disasters (including earthquakes and wildfires). In recent years, the real estate development projects (both residential and non-residential) in California have significantly declined which, in turn, has resulted in a decline in sales from within the California-based AEC industry. Any adverse developments affecting California could have a disproportionately negative effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our Growth Strategy Depends, in Part, on Our Ability to Successfully Complete and Manage Our Acquisitions and Branch Openings. Failure to do so could Impede Our Future Growth and Adversely Affect Our Competitive Position.

As part of our growth strategy, we intend to prudently pursue strategic acquisitions within the reprographics industry. Since 1997, we have acquired more than 140 businesses, most of which were long established in the communities in which they conduct their business. Our efforts to execute our acquisition strategy may be affected by our ability to continue to identify, negotiate, close acquisitions and effectively integrate acquired businesses. In addition, any governmental review or investigation of our proposed acquisitions, such as by the Federal Trade Commission, may impede, limit or prevent us from proceeding with an acquisition. Acquisition activities have not been a significant part of our growth strategy in fiscal years 2010 and 2009 due to potential risks inherent in an economy recovering from a recent recession. As the economy improves, we currently expect to resume acquisition activity as a substantial component of our growth strategy. There can be no assurance, however, that any future acquisition activity, and any resulting growth, will equal or exceed prior levels of acquisition activity and growth.

Acquisitions involve a number of unique risks. For example, there may be difficulties integrating acquired personnel and distinct business cultures. Additional financing may be necessary and, if used, would increase our debt level, dilute our outstanding equity, or both. Acquisitions may divert management's time and our other resources from existing operations. It is possible that there could be a negative effect on our financial statements from the impairment related to goodwill and other intangibles acquired through implementation of our acquisition strategy. We may experience the loss of key employees or customers of acquired companies. In addition, risks may include high transaction costs and expenses of integrating acquired companies, as well as exposure to unforeseen liabilities of acquired companies and failure of the acquired business to achieve expected results. These risks could hinder our future growth and adversely affect our competitive position and operating results.

In addition to acquisitions, part of our growth strategy is to expand our geographic coverage by opening additional satellite branches in regions near our established operations to capture new customers and greater market share. Although we believe that the capital investment for a new branch is generally modest, the branches that we open in the future may not ultimately produce returns that justify our investment.

If We are Unable to Successfully Monitor and Manage Operations of Our Subsidiaries and Segments, Our Business and Profitability could Suffer.

Since 1997, we have acquired more than 140 businesses and, in most cases, have delegated the responsibility for marketing, pricing, and selling practices with the local and operational managers of those businesses. During the past two years we have begun to centralize many of these functions, but if we do not successfully manage our subsidiaries and segments under this decentralized operating structure, we risk having disparate results, lost market opportunities, lack of economic synergies, and a loss of vision and planning, all of which could harm our business and profitability. In addition, there is a risk that the company-wide rebranding initiative that we commenced following the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2010 could have a negative effect on our revenues and results of operations and financial condition.

We Depend on Certain Key Vendors for Reprographics Equipment, Maintenance Services and Supplies, Making us Vulnerable to Supply Shortages and Price Fluctuations.

We purchase reprographics equipment and maintenance services, as well as paper, toner and other supplies, from a limited number of vendors. Our three largest vendors in 2010 were Oce N.V., Azerty, and Xpedx, a division of International Paper Company. Adverse developments concerning key vendors or our relationships with them could force us to seek alternate sources for our reprographics equipment, maintenance services and supplies, or to purchase such items on unfavorable terms. An alternative source of supply of reprographics equipment, maintenance services and supplies may not be readily available. A delay in procuring reprographics equipment, maintenance services or supplies, or an increase in the cost to purchase these items could limit our ability to provide services to our customers on a timely and cost-effective basis and could harm our results of operations and financial condition.

Our Failure to Adequately Protect the Proprietary Aspects of Our Technology, Including Planwell, May Cause us to Lose Market Share.

Our success depends on our ability to protect and preserve the proprietary aspects of our technologies, including PlanWell. We rely on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secret protection, confidentiality agreements, license agreements, non-competition agreements, reseller agreements, customer contracts, and technical measures to establish and protect our rights in our proprietary technologies. Our license agreements contain terms and conditions prohibiting the unauthorized reproduction or transfer of our products. These protections, however, may not be adequate to remedy harm we suffer due to misappropriation of our proprietary rights by third parties. In addition, United States law provides only limited protection of proprietary rights and the laws of some foreign countries may offer less protection than the laws of the United States. Third parties may unlawfully copy aspects of our technology products, unlawfully distribute them, impermissibly reverse engineer them or otherwise obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. If competitors are able to develop such technologies and we cannot successfully enforce our rights against them, they may be able to market and sell or license products that compete with ours, and this competition could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Furthermore, we may, from time to time, be subject to intellectual property litigation which can be expensive, a burden on management's time and our Company's resources, and the outcome of any such litigation may be uncertain.

Damage or Disruption to Our Facilities, Our Technology Center, Our Vendors or a Majority of Our Customers could Impair Our Ability to Effectively Provide Our Services and may have a Significant Impact on Our Revenues, Expenses and Financial Condition.

We currently store most of our customer data at our technology center located in Silicon Valley near known earthquake fault zones. Damage to or destruction of this technology center or a disruption of our data storage processes resulting from sustained process abnormalities, human error, acts of terrorism, violence, war or a natural disaster, such as fire, earthquake or flood, could have a material adverse effect on the markets in which we operate and on our business operations. We store and maintain critical customer data on computer servers at our technology center that our customers access remotely through the internet and/or directly through telecommunications lines. If our back-up power generators fail during any power outage, if our telecommunications lines are severed or internet access is impaired for any reason, our remote access customers would be unable to access their critical data, causing an interruption in their operations. In such event, our remote access customers and their customers could seek to hold us responsible for any losses that they may incur in this regard. We may also potentially lose these customers and our reputation could be harmed. In addition, such damage or destruction, particularly that directly impacting our technology center or our vendors or customers, could have an impact on our sales, supply chain, production capability, costs, and our ability to provide services to our customers.

Although we currently maintain general property damage insurance, if we incur losses from uninsured events, we could incur significant expenses which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

If We Lose Key Personnel or Qualified Technical Staff, Our Ability to Manage the Day-to-Day Aspects of Our Business will be Adversely Affected.

We believe that our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel is critical to our success. If we lose key personnel and/or are unable to recruit qualified personnel, our ability to manage the day-to-day aspects of our business will be adversely affected. Our operations and prospects depend in large part on the performance of our senior management team and the managers of our principal operating segments. Outside of the implementation of succession plans and executive transitions done in the normal course of business, the loss of the services of one or more members of our senior management team, in particular, the sudden loss of the services of Mr. Suriyakumar, our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, would disrupt our business and impede our ability to execute our business strategy. Because the other members of our executive and divisional management team have on average more than 20 years of experience within the reprographics industry, it would be difficult to replace them.

Downgrades in Our Credit Rating may Adversely Affect Our Business, Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

From time to time, independent credit rating agencies rate our credit worthiness. Credit market deterioration and its actual or perceived effects on our business, financial condition and results of operation, along with deterioration in general economic conditions, may increase the likelihood that major independent credit agencies will downgrade our credit rating. Any downgrade in our credit rating could increase our cost of borrowing, which would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations, perhaps materially. Any downgrade in our credit rating may also cause a decline in the market price of our common stock.

Valuation Allowances Recorded Against Our Deferred Tax Assets may Adversely Impact Our Future Results of Operations.

As of December 31, 2010, we have deferred tax assets of $156 million and deferred tax liabilities of $111 million, which amounts to net deferred tax assets of $45 million on our balance sheet. Deferred tax assets are future income tax benefits we expect to realize. The realization of deferred tax assets requires an assessment of historical financial performance in conjunction with various forecasts and assumptions of future financial performance including future flows of taxable income. Actual results of these forecasts and projections may differ significantly whether positive or negative. Significant negative results may require a valuation allowance for the amount of deferred tax assets considered not to be realized in the future.

Results of Tax Examinations may Adversely Impact Our Future Results of Operations.

We are subject to various tax examinations on an ongoing basis. Adverse results of tax examinations for income, payroll, value added, sales-based and other taxes may require future material tax payments if we are unable to sustain our position with the relevant jurisdiction. Where appropriate, we have made accruals for these matters which are reflected in our Consolidated Balance Sheets and Statements of Operations.

Our Debt Instruments Impose Operating and Financial Restrictions on us and, in the Event of a Default, would have a Material Adverse Impact on Our Business and Results of Operations.

The New Revolving Credit Facility and the notes, impose operating and other restrictions on us and many of our subsidiaries.

The Indenture contains covenants that limit, among other things, our company's and certain of our subsidiaries' ability to incur additional debt and issue preferred stock, make certain restricted payments, consummate specified asset sales, enter into certain transactions with affiliates, create liens, declare or pay any dividend or make any other distributions, make certain investments, and merge or consolidate with another person.

The New Revolving Credit Facility contains covenants which, subject to certain exceptions as set forth in the New Revolving Credit Facility, restrict our ability to incur additional debt, grant liens or guaranty other indebtedness, pay dividends, redeem stock, pay or redeem subordinated indebtedness, make investments or capital expenditures, dispose or acquire assets, dispose of equity interests in subsidiaries, enter into any merger, sale of assets, consolidation or liquidation transaction, or engage in transactions with stockholders and affiliates.

The New Revolving Credit Facility contains financial covenants which, among other things, requires us to not exceed a specified maximum consolidated leverage ratio, not exceed a specified maximum consolidated senior secured leverage ratio and not go below a specified minimum consolidated interest coverage ratio.

A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under our debt instruments. If any such default occurs, our creditors under the agreements may elect to declare all outstanding borrowings, together with accrued interest and other fees, to be immediately due and payable. The creditor under the New Revolving Credit Facility also has the right in these circumstances to terminate any commitments to provide further borrowings.


For the details of these "risk factors" sections ......

* Risks Relating to the Exchange Offer

* Risks Related to the Notes

...... refer to the S-4 Registration Statement filing (link to S-4 provided in previous post or accessible at

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