Archant has outsourced the printing and distribution of its newspapers, shuttering its own presses and putting 96 jobs at risk.
The regional publisher, whose titles include the Eastern Daily Press and The New European, has said the move will provide “substantial cost savings” as it continues to invest in digital.
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It will stop printing newspapers at Thorpe Print Centre from November. The £40m print facility, which is situated just outside Norwich, where Archant’s headquarters are based, will stand idle.
Printing of Archant’s more than 50 regional newspaper titles will transfer to Newsprinters, a subsidiary of News UK, in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.
The distribution of Norfolk and Suffolk titles, also previously in-house, will be taken over by Menzies and Smith News.
Archant has said the majority of the jobs at Thorpe will transfer to one of these three suppliers. Staff have been informed there may be redundancies, with a consultation process said to be underway.
Archant’s portfolio of magazines are already printed by a different external supplier. Archant Print, an arm of the company, retains no clients.
A spokesperson for the publisher said: “Continuing reductions in paginations and quantities of [Archant’s] newspaper portfolio has led the business to a review of the printing of its newspaper titles.”
Archant told staff it had entered into a “long term ‘variable cost’ agreement with Newsprinters, meaning we will not be tied to the high fixed costs of our present operation”.
It added: “As everyone understands, in the decades since we opened the Thorpe site, our industry has gone through many changes.
“For the first time, a third party is now able to offer the capacity and flexibility to print all our daily and weekly papers, providing substantial cost savings.
“Our business continues to invest into growth areas such as our digital platforms, to keep Archant robust and future-proof.”
Newsprinters publishes copies of the Sun, The Telegraph, The Times and Evening Standard.
Archant chief executive Jeff Henry, who is stepping down this week, said: “Archant is committed to delivering the best possible service to our readers and advertisers in the most cost effective manner.
“The Broxbourne printing plant is one of the largest and most technologically advanced in the world which will ensure we continue to deliver the highest quality printed newspapers to our readers in the most cost efficient manner.
“I would like to thank the teams at Thorpe for their dedication and the great service they have delivered to our business, over many years, whatever the challenge.”
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