End of the line for Polestar Sheffield

By Jo Francis, Tuesday 24 May 2016

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Workers at Polestar’s Sheffield web offset site have been told the facility will cease operation with immediate effect. Sheffield’s gravure operation is also being wound down, and will stop printing by 31 May.

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Bleak day for workers at Polestar Sheffield

Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers have just released the following statement.  

“The administrators regret to announce that going concern sales of the Sheffield web and Sheffield gravure sites have not been possible. The Sheffield web site will be closed with immediate effect and a controlled work out of remaining contracts within the gravure business will be carried out, followed by a closure."

PwC said 98 employees at the Sheffield web offset site and 450 in the gravure business would lose their jobs as a result.

PwC partner Zelf Hussain, one of the joint administrators, said: “It is with real regret that we have made these decisions, but this was the inevitable consequence of no viable offers being received and a rapid departure of a number of customers.

"We would like to thank employees for their assistance, cooperation and hard work and the union for their support during this difficult time.”

One employee told PrintWeek: “I’m gutted. My head’s in a whirl.”

PwC said all employees at the site will be paid up until the end of the month, with a number remaining after that date to decommission equipment.

Around 80 workers from Sheffield had been made redundant since Polestar UK Print and Polestar Stones-Wheatons went into administration last month.

Gravure customers had been told the plant would continue printing up until the end of the month.

The 43,000sqm Sheffield site was set up in 2004 as a greenfield gravure facility. It began gravure printing in 2005.

In 2013 Polestar signed a £50m deal with Goss International for six web offset presses, including the first 96pp presses in the UK.

A circa 20,000sqm web offset extension was added to the Sheffield site in 2014 to house two new long-grain 96pp Goss web offset presses and a 64pp short-grain press, which made up the first tranche of the planned reinvention of Polestar’s web offset platform.

There appears to be little chance of anyone stepping in to rescue either the web offset or gravure sides of the business, although Prinovis, Wyndeham owner Walstead, and YM Group are known to have been looking at some of the equipment at the site.

 

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