The company hopes to realise net savings of over $3.5m per year from the closure of the printing operation. However, the threat of industrial action does loom over the decision, but the company is confident that it will be able to avoid such fallout.
It is expected that the net cost of the closure in the second half of the 2004 financial year will be between $6m and $10m. The minimal carrying value of assets at the plant is expected to be covered by transfer and sale of plant and equipment.
Fred Hilmer, Fairfax CEO, says, "Our staff at Spencer Street have our thanks and appreciation. We made every effort to maintain a viable printing business for our community publications at Spencer Street.
"Unfortunately, continued in-house printing of these papers is now uneconomic given the shift in demand and supply for printing in the Victorian market, particularly over the past year."
The closure of printing operations at Spencer Street will not affect any of the company’s publications in Victoria.