ACM preparing to close Richmond printing plant

Australian Community Media (ACM) is planning to close its Richmond print facility, formally the Rural Press print and headquarters.

“The proposal is in its early stages and as such a closing date is yet to be set,” a statement from the company confirmed.

“We wanted to let all impacted employees know as soon as it became clear that the site closure was a real possibility.”


ACM executive chairman and former Domain boss, Antony Catalano, and his executive team have been looking for ways to take “onerous costs” out of the business.

“This decision, while difficult, is critical in establishing a streamlined, capital- light business that can compete in this rapidly changing media landscape,” the statement read.

The Richmond print plant has a mix of double and single-width presses, capable of printing heatset and UV glossy products as well as coldset, teamed with Ferag mailroom and robotised palletising equipment.

Fairfax Media took over the site in 2008 as part of the Rural Press and Fairfax Media merger. The plant, which had been upgraded in 2014 to print the The Sydney Morning Herald prior to it moving to News Corp’s facility at Chullora in Sydney under a print-sharing agreement – and has become a major contractor to independent newspapers, many of which appeared following News Corp’s closure of more than 100 print mastheads in NSW and QLD.

ACM and its regional newspapers including The Canberra Times, The Newcastle Herald and The Border Mail were bought for $125 million by Catalano and investment firm Thorney Investment Group from Nine as part of its acquisition of Fairfax Media.

Several other printing operators including IVE and Spotpress have been in discussions with ACM and publishers about shifting those printing contacts once the plant is closed. Sources advised Mumbrella that an end of financial year was the date currently being flagged by ACM.

Spot Press and IVE recently took on some printing for ACM when flooding hit the northern Sydney region earlier this year.

The news comes just weeks after ACM announced it would resume printing. ACM ceased print operations at three of its press facilities last year, and suspended a number of non-daily newspapers.


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