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  1. The Wire
May 11, 2023

News UK proposes closure of one of three print plants

Knowsley's printing will be transferred to plants in Broxbourne and Eurocentral.

By Bron Maher

News UK‘s printing and distribution business, Newsprinters Ltd, has proposed to close one of its three print plants.

The plant in Knowsley, Merseyside, built as part of a £650m investment in print facilities at the end of the 2000s, says it has the capacity to produce 430,000 colour papers an hour.

News UK said that following “an extensive review of Newsprinters Ltd… the business has regretfully concluded that it must propose the closure of its Knowsley print plant in the months to come”.

Print work at Knowsley will be transferred said to its other print sites at Eurocentral near Glasgow and Broxbourne near Waltham Cross, which it claims is the biggest newspaper printing press in the world. It said this would “retain our UK-wide print and distribution capability for News UK and our other clients”.

The closure is subject to consultation with affected staff. The business said: “This development will have no impact on the publication of any of the news brands manufactured by Newsprinters Ltd.”

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Newsprinters prints and distributes titles outside the News UK stable. An Extinction Rebellion blockade of Knowsley and another Newsprinters facility in Broxbourne in 2020 impacted deliveries of the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times, as well as the Murdoch-owned Sun and Times newspapers.

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Newsprinters managing director Darren Barker said the company was “committed to keeping printed newspapers in the hands of our readers, and delivering for our clients.

“The proposal to close our Knowsley facility was a difficult decision to reach. However, this proposal is aimed at strengthening our ability to provide long term sustainability to the print and distribution services we provide to clients across the industry.

“I want to recognise and thank all Newsprinters colleagues and business partners in Knowsley for their valuable contribution over many years and their continued cooperation and understanding. We are committed to offering every possible support as we undertake the proper staff consultation process.

“News UK remains committed to print and will continue to invest in both the quality journalism our readers want and our print production and distribution capability serving both in-house and third party clients.”

The Knowsley closure is the latest in a series of print press shutterings in recent years. DMG Media closed its site in Hillsea, Portsmouth in June last year, Reach announced the closure of a Teesside plant in December (after closing two others two years earlier), the FT shut its site in Bow in March 2022 and Archant closed its last presses in 2019.

[Read more: Pulp friction – Why paper has become a huge headache for publishers]

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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