Wednesday, March 23, 2016

News: Johnston Press is a big deal for Dinnington


The deal to print Express Newspapers' north of England titles in Dinnington, Rotherham is worth some £12.8m to Johnston Press, one of the largest local newspaper publishers in the UK.

Headquartered in Edinburgh, Johnston Press operates a £60m printing facility on the site of the former Dinnington Colliery in Rotherham. The company, which is behind local titles such as The Yorkshire Post and The Star, secured a deal last year to print a number of national titles.

Reporting its latest financial results for the year ended January 2 2016, the indebted group revealed that its "printing division continues to flourish winning £12.8m worth of new contracts to print the Daily Express, Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday and Sunday Express at Dinnington."

It was described as a "a significant long-term contract" with the Express Group joining other major customers including News UK, Guardian Media Group, Local World and Tindle Newspapers, as well as many niche publications.

Johnston Press is also poised to take ownership of its first national newspaper, the i, and has been in talks with the current printers to possibly move to printing to its own facilities.

The group's printing business operates out of three sites in Portsmouth, Dinnington and Carn.


In 2013 News International paid Johnston Press £10m to terminate a lucrative print contract. Now trading as News UK, News International is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and is home to some of the biggest and most popular British newspapers including The Times and The Sun. The termination followed a similar £30m negotiation in 2012, following the closure of the News of the World.

A 15 year deal between News International and Johnston Press was announced in 2004, extending previous contractual agreements, and was integral to an additional investment of around £20m in the Dinnington facilities that opened in 2007.

The state-of-the-art facility includes one of the most modern and fastest presses in the world. It has the capacity to print 192 pages in full colour, 120,000 newspapers an hour in full colour and 75 titles per week.

For the 52 weeks to January 2, printing revenue rose, but were offset by reduction in newsprint supply revenue. In challenging trading conditions, adjusted profit before tax was £31.5m which was a 22.6% increase on the £25.7m reported in the previous year. Turnover was £242.3m, down from £260m in 2014. The group continues to restrucutre and is investing in digital. Net debt continued to be reduced but still stood at £179.4m.

Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press, said: "The acquisition of the i newspaper is incredibly exciting for us. It gives us scale, with a combined Johnston Press plus i daily print circulation of over 600,000 papers making us the UK's 4th largest news publisher, and thus numerous revenue and cost synergy opportunities. Further, not only will the i contribute positively to earnings but it will allow us to accelerate growth in digital, and help stabilise our circulation revenues. In conjunction with the planned asset disposals this will enable us to continue to reduce debt levels and cut financing costs further."

Johnston Press website

Images: Johnston Press


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