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Reprographics Firm Buys Fla. Company

Blueprinting: Glendale's American Reprographics' latest acquisition gives it a foothold in Orlando.


Top reprographics provider American Reprographics Co. of Glendale on Tuesday purchased Orlando Reprographics of Florida, the latest in its string of acquisitions of mom-and-pop blueprinters struggling to upgrade their operations with cutting-edge technology.

Known almost entirely for its digital blueprint work within the construction industry, American Reprographics serves 110,000 customer companies in more than 100 markets nationwide. Over the last five years, it has sought out small, independent shops that typically can't afford to update aging document reproduction machines in a bid to expand nationwide. New, high-end digital equipment can cost nearly $250,000 per machine.

"The average mom-and-pop reproduction shop can't afford it," said David Stickney, American Reprographics' director of marketing. "The acquisition is beneficial for us and for them. We keep them alive."

With $2 million in annual revenue, Orlando Reprographics' small size was not a disadvantage, said S. Chandramohan, American Reprographics' chief executive who founded the company in 1988. Instead, its mom-and-pop characteristics made the deal more attractive. Its strong customer base and local name recognition will provide American Reprographics with a foothold in the region. Orlando was recently named one of the top 10 fastest-growing U.S. markets.

"It's the same old-time family business the customers are used to," said Chandramohan, counting Walt Disney Co. as a local Orlando customer. "Much of this industry is based on highly local relationships. . . . But now it has access to the best technology out there."

Financial details about the acquisition were not disclosed.

Since 1996, privately held American Reprographics, with $428 million in annual sales, has purchased more than 50 companies, including last month's buyout of Universal Reprographics South Inc., based in Irvine, and Ridgway's Reprographics of Houston, which was the second-largest reprographics firm in the U.S. American Reprographics acquired 10 other companies, in cities as diverse as Boston, Cleveland and Richmond, Va., in 2000.

Reprographics is the business of reproducing highly detailed, precision documents such as construction blueprints and surveying materials so they can be copied with the same clarity as the original.

Orlando Reprographics, similar to other American Reprographics acquisitions, will keep its original name and management team, Chandramohan said. After Tuesday's deal, American Reprographics employs about 3,500 people nationwide.

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