APN to close Toowoomba print site

With soaring profits in its radio and digital outdoors business, APN will see its Toowoomba printing site shut down, leaving some 40 employees unsure of their future.

The Toowoomba printing plant, expected to shut down in June 2015, only began production seven years ago as part of a $100m upgrade of APN’s Australian Regional Media (ARM) print sites in Queensland and NSW. It is the fourth print site that ARM has closed in recent years.

The plant in Warwick, an hour’s drive to the south, will get a Manugraph from Toowoomba, and use it to print coldset titles. A Manugraph Cityline coldset press, which can print 48 pages at 35000cph is likely to be sold off.

David Power, ARM group services director, says the falling newspaper circulation is to blame, which he says has had a disastrous effect on advertising revenue, which fell seven per cent in 2014 following a 15 per cent, drop in 2013.

Power says, “This has been a very difficult decision for ARM to make but it is necessary due to the commercial realities that the print industry faces today.”

He says, “The fourth plant to close will result in some redundancies and ARM will provide support to those affected and where the possible some employees may be relocated to other APN sites.

Michael Miller APN chief executive says the focus for the year is to grow through investing in radio and outdoor digital.

Last year, the company’s profit jumped from $2.6m to $11.5m a year after the media company spent $246.5m to take full control of its radio assets. In December APN spent $78m to buy popular Perth radio station 96FM.

Miller says digital accounts for seven per cent of its overall revenue and APN plans to continue with the integration of the businesses and diversification of the revenue streams, with a particular focus on digital revenues.

“This approach has proved fruitful with these businesses recording strong revenue and EBITDA growth year on year,” he says.


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