Polestar Sheffield keeps printing

Jo Francis
Friday, May 20, 2016

A major publishing client of Polestar Sheffield has been told by administrators that the plant will continue printing this weekend and next.

PrintWeek understands that staff have also been paid up until the end of the month.

Despite the exodus of work from Sheffield a number of major clients with time-sensitive publications remain at the plant, including weekly magazine Hello! and the weekend supplements for the Mirror newspapers.

Hello! associate publisher Roger Williams told PrintWeek that the publisher was looking at contingency plans.

“We have been guaranteed printing for our next couple of issues at Sheffield by the administrators, and we are co-operating with their payment requirements,” he said.

“We moved to Sheffield from Greaves and have always worked really well with them. Polestar have always been a very good supplier to us and it’s a great shame for the people there that they are in this situation.”

Hello! has an ABC circulation of 267,299 and is printed gravure at the site over the weekend, to a tight schedule that allows it to go on-sale on Monday and Tuesday.

The print run varies depending on events and the featured celebrity, for example the recent special issues celebrating HM Queen’s 90th birthday.

Williams said the publisher was looking at various options on the continent.

Sister title Hello! Fashion Monthly is printed web offset at Polestar Chantry.

Prinovis in Liverpool is unlikely to be able to take the title on due to the huge amount of work it has already absorbed due to the crisis at Polestar, and the fact that it already prints arch-rival OK!.

The situation for the up-for-sale Polestar plants in administration – Sheffield, Chantry, Bicester, Stones and Wheatons – remains unresolved. Administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have not provided any further update since the beginning of this week.

It will be four weeks on Monday since Polestar’s main print operations went into administration.

A Trinity Mirror spokeswoman said: “We are still printing at Polestar this week and next week. Of course with them in administration it is prudent for us to be considering our options, however there are no new agreements in place yet.”

PrintWeek understands that Polestar Sheffield’s web offset operation has also produced its last issue of DMG Media’s Weekend magazine for the Saturday Daily Mail this week.

Event and You magazine for the Mail on Sunday have already moved to Prinovis in Liverpool.

Wyndeham Group owner Walstead Investments remains the favourite to take over Polestar’s Bicester web offset site, but negotiations appear to be proving complex and protracted.

Walstead/Wyndeham is understood to be seeking assurances from customers in order to make the deal viable.

Sources also said Wyndeham representatives had also been to Polestar Sheffield’s web offset operation earlier this week to observe the 96pp and 64pp Goss presses in action.

Walstead has not commented.

 

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