Johnston Press unveils supersite as sales rise
By Philip Chadwick Thursday, 07 September 2006
Johnston Press will officially take the wraps off its new newspaper printing supersite at Dinnington today (7 September) following a mixed set of half-year results.
Work at the £60m facility, which runs the UK's first triple-width MAN Roland Colorman press and a Muller Martini mailroom, has already started with the Sheffield Star, one of the first titles to be printed there.
Today's launch is the culmination of a three-year project, first revealed in September 2003, to upgrade Johnston's press capacity in Yorkshire.
Johnston Press chief executive Tim Bowdler said that News International (NI), which has signed a 15-year contract print deal with Johnston for the Dinnington site, will also begin printing its titles including The Sun and the News of the World "relatively soon".
NI has also ordered a raft of triple-width MAN Roland presses as part of its £600m print overhaul.
The opening of the new plant will lead to the closures of existing Johnston plants in Sheffield and Hartlepool. Consultations are currently underway over the future of the 100 or so staff affected.
Meanwhile, the regional newspaper publisher posted mixed results for its first six months of the year. Pre-tax profits were down 2.9% to £79.8m, but operating profit before non-recurring items rose 7.8% to a record £101.6m. Turnover rose 18% year-on-year to £312.2m.
Bowdler said: "It is a tough market we are managing. The second half has started as the first half finished, with no discernible improvement in advertising revenues."
Turnover £312.2m (up 18%)
Pre tax profits £79.8m (down 2.9%)
Operating profits £101.6m (up 7.8%)
Underlying earnings per share 20.39p (down 0.9p)
Interim dividend 3.1p (10.7%)
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