Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Business paper seeks 25 job cuts

A judge heard it could be near fatal for The Sunday Business Post if it does not print this weekend

The Sunday Business Post newspaper is to seek up to 25 redundancies by the end of the year as part of a cost-saving restructuring plan, a court has been told.

The title, which employs 76 people and has a readership of 140,000, is being sold as part of a complex overhaul of the ownership and financial affairs of parent company Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH).

The Commercial Court in Dublin appointed an interim examiner to protect the publication, which recorded a 1.2 million euro loss at the end of January. Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told it would be near fatal for the paper if it did not print a newspaper this weekend.

The court was told that the company behind the production of the newspaper, Post Publications, was looking to reduce costs on three fronts: rent, payroll and printing.

When questioned by the judge, Garvan Corkery, junior counsel for the company, said that management were looking for 20 to 25 voluntary redundancies by the end of the year.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton has been appointed as interim examiner to the Sunday Business Post.

He will be in charge of ensuring the implementation of a successful restructuring, and is hopeful that an investor committed to the continued publication of the paper and employment of its staff can be found, a spokesman said. A commitment has also been given that the newspaper will be published as normal during the examinership.

It is understood the Sunday Business Post loses almost 60 cent every time it sells a paper.

Despite the figures, Judge Kelly was told there is a reasonable prospect for the survival of the paper and that expressions of interest have been made. He said the appointment of the interim examiner was desirable and necessary for the company to continue to publish and have the protection to find new printers.

"It is crucial for the survival of the Sunday Business Post that it continues to publish," said Judge Kelly. "If it ceases there's a real risk of its readership disappearing and its market share being dissipated."

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