A £40m print deal will make Northern Ireland one of the biggest producers of daily newspapers in Europe.
Independent News and Media (NI) announced the deal in Belfast today after it struck long-term print contracts with two of the UK’s biggest media companies.
The first deal sees all sections of the Daily Telegraph printed in the company’s high-tech plant at Newry for the next 15 years. The second deal brings the Daily Mirror to the Belfast Telegraph print plant for a seven-year term.
The deals represent two of the longest print agreements signed in the region and have been made possible by an IN&M investment strategy which has seen more than £50m spent on new presses in both centres.
The Newry presses, which began running two years ago, are now among the most modern in the world and have been bench marked by print companies and newspapers in many countries.
The agreements mean that the Daily Mirror and Daily Record will be printed in full colour on Colorliner presses at the company’s plant at Royal Avenue, Belfast.
The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph, both of which have recently gone full colour, will be output from Newry.
The two contracts come at a time of severe retrenchment in the printing industry, which has seen press shutdowns and plant closures.
Only last week Johnston Press announced the closure of its plant in Kilkenny with major job losses.
The deals mean that INM in Northern Ireland will now be printing all Mirror titles, the Telegraph titles, plus the Sun, News of the World, the Daily Express and Sunday Express, the Daily Star, the hugely successful Irish Star, the Sunday World (which dominates its market), the Sunday Tribune, the London Independent and a |series of high quality magazines for the Independent in London.
The full output from the plants in Belfast and Newry now cover 35 titles with 200m copies a year using 50,000 tonnes of newsprint, imported through sophisticated handling facilities at Belfast docks.
The deal was welcomed today by Kieran Matthews, INM’s assistant managing director, who is responsible for printing.
He said: “These contracts are a major vote of confidence in our company and its workforces in Belfast and Newry from two of the UK’s finest media companies.
“We are very pleased to have confirmed these contracts. They have allowed us to continue what has been a long-standing, valued relationship with both customers”.
INM chief executive in Northern Ireland Michael Brophy said: “The two agreements, which are long term, are a tribute to the people who have built the plants in Belfast and Newry and to the staff who work throughout the night, every night, to bring UK national newspapers to the streets of Northern Ireland.”