DMGT Didcot site set for closure

Max Goldbart
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) is to close its Harmsworth Printing Didcot site, putting around 50 jobs at risk.

An anonymous source told PrintWeek that the planned closure date is 20 December, with production set to come to an end on the 19th, and that there will likely be an announcement when DMGT releases its end-of-year results on 1 December.

A statement from DMGT said: “Following an internal evaluation, DMG Media is proposing the closure of its Didcot printing site.

“Under the proposal, a portion of the print copy currently handled at the Didcot site will be moved to DMG Media’s existing Thurrock print site and a number of third-party options are being explored in order to meet remaining print demand at the required product and quality specifications.”

It went on to say that it expects the consultation to be completed by the end of December.

Unite the union is not recognised at Didcot, but it does have members working there. 

DMG Media is a subsidiary of DMGT. It runs a flexo press at the Didcot site, which incorporates the production of newspapers in colour with non rub-off ink.

The main Harmsworth printing site was relocated to a 20-acre greenfield site in Thurrock in 2011.

Last month, PrintWeek revealed that further print rationalisation could be on the cards at the group after DMGT announced a strategic review of its operations, including a cost-cutting  programme that could see the loss of more than 400 jobs.

In the year to September 2015 sales were down £1.3m at the Didcot site, which prints The Daily Mail, bringing sales to £33.8m. It made a pre-tax profit of £1.9m.

At the time, the newly-appointed DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said he was conducting a strategic review of all of the group’s businesses “to create greater focus within the portfolio”. 

PrintWeek also understands that Trinity Mirror, which announced the closure of its Cardiff site last week, is being considered as a potential option to take over the work currently produced at Didcot. 

The near-£2bn turnover DMGT business encompasses Daily Mail and MailOnline publisher DMG Media as well as a substantial business-to-business division that includes Euromoney, DMG Information, DMG Events, and Risk Management Solutions.

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