New print plant to open in Hastings this year

A new print plant is to be established in Hawke's Bay later this year to take over the printing of APN's lower North Island newspapers.

It was announced yesterday the printing of APN's lower North Island newspapers has been outsourced to Beacon Publishing and Print Company Ltd. It will become operational later this year and as part of the agreement, the Beacon Group will purchase some of APN's printing equipment and set up a new print site in Hastings.

This includes the Karamu Rd, Hastings, printing site which produces Hawke's Bay Today and several of its liftout publications and community newspapers.

It is expected the new Hastings plant will become operational in the fourth quarter of 2013 with printing work gradually transferred from APN's current Hastings site and the Wanganui print site.

Both plants will be closed when the new plant is fully operational. Staff at APN's Hastings site will be offered the opportunity to transfer.

Hawke's Bay Today General Manager Russell Broughton said he was pleased the printing of APN's lower North Island newspapers would be retained in Hastings.

"Retaining jobs in Hastings is vital to our community, and APN Print has a fantastic team here in Hawke's Bay and we are thrilled that they all have the opportunity to transfer across to the Beacon Print team."

Hastings Print Manager Peter Halstead said it was good as staff could retain their jobs.

"Everyone retains their jobs and there will be extra hours available to staff," he said. "There will also be a lot more newspaper tonnage going through the plant, which will create more jobs."

The Beacon Print and Publishing Company was established in 1939 and owns newspaper, commercial and digital printing and web offset printing businesses in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions.

It is privately operated and majority owned by the Spring family but APN also has a 21 per cent stake in the company.

Beacon's Media Group CEO Simon Ellis said: "The expansion is a significant development for the company, and we look forward to working closely with APN."

APN New Zealand CEO Martin Simons acknowledged the tremendous contribution of print staff at the company's lower North Island plants.

"Their dedication and quality of work produced over many years is beyond question," he said.

"Both the Wanganui and Hastings teams have recently won national and international quality awards for their standard of printing."

The APN publications which will be printed by Beacon Publishing and Print in Hastings are: CHB Mail, Dannevirke News, Vibe, Indulge, Hawke's Bay Today, Driven, Taupo Weekender, The Hastings Leader, The Napier Courier, Village Press, Bush Telegraph, Wairarapa Times Age, Horowhenua Chronicle, Masterton Your Property, Stratford Press, Wanganui Chronicle, Wanganui Midweek, Wairarapa Times Age Midweek.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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