Advo Eyes International Ventures

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NEW YORK -- Advo officials unveiled initiatives planned for next year at an investors conference here yesterday.

Myron Lubin, president of Advo's diversified business group, said the company hopes to start a shared-mail program in Canada, building on its purchase of Toronto-based FACC Corp. FACC distributes more than 250 million pieces of ad mail to targeted segments of Canada's 11 million households. These mailings are solo mailings, not shared-mail packages.

"We have the potential now to pick up business from U.S. clients who have stores in Canada," he said.

The company is looking at other international opportunities in the United Kingdom and France, said Lubin, who meets next week with Deutsche Post. But any deals in those areas are down the road, he said.

Don McCombs, Advo's new chief financial officer, discussed plans to use next-generation sorting equipment shortly that will improve efficiency.

"The system allows us to inkjet a specific message for every household [on a mail piece or circular]," he said. "What that means is you can take a customer list and a specific type of advertisement and do a different one for every household at the same output."

The system will be faster, letting Advo expand the number of households it reaches and do more second in-home mailing dates.

McCombs said Advo has ordered two of the machines from a manufacturer in Switzerland and will test it in Los Angeles within three months.

Chairman/CEO Gary Mulloy said that Advo is in preliminary talks with the U.S. Postal Service about a negotiated service agreement that could be similar to the recent Capital One announcement, but for Standard mail.

"We are beginning discussions for our own kinds of contractual approaches with the postal service as to how we can mutually build total postal revenues," he said.

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