EWO Media has shut down its 16pp web press with the loss of more than half the jobs at its Essex facility.
The Southend-on-Sea firm is the sister business of GD Web Offset in Rotherham.
Commercial manager David Payne said there had been a “sharp decline” in 16pp web work for the site’s Manroland Polyman press in the past couple of months, and especially since the Christmas break, “resulting in excess capacity at both sites”.
EWO Media also runs an eight-colour KBA Rapida with reel sheeter.
“On reflection it was obvious that the more efficient unit based at GD was perfectly capable of absorbing the current level of 16pp work that was being produced at EWO, with the lower volume ‘sheeted’ work being absorbed by increasing the number of shifts on the long perfector at EWO, so that it now operates on a full 24/7 basis. This has resulted in unfortunate but necessary redundancies being made at the EWO site,” Payne said.
Shuttering the web press has resulted in 24 redundancies, with 22 staff remaining.
Payne said that EWO currently operated out of three factory units and it was likely that one or two units could be rented out in future.
GD Web Offset has already made moves to reduce its overheads with a joint-venture deal with a waste management company.
EWO does not have any immediate plans to sell the Polyman.
“The 16pp web at EWO will remain in situ. Primarily as a disaster recovery unit for both the long perfector and GD Web and to enable maintenance programmes to be carried out. This is easily achievable as we have retained the skillsets necessary to restart the web when needed,” Payne added.
He said he hoped the Brexit situation would result in more work returning to the UK from the continent.
“Our real hope is that the market will pick up again once confidence returns and we will be able to get back to full capacity or as near as possible.
“At present I am only aware of three UK manufacturing printers with presses of 48pp and above and perhaps with all the concerns over Brexit some of the UK print buyers might look a little closer to home and start supporting them before we all become a distant memory,” he stated.
EWO Media owner Paul Mursell split with Aspenlink chief executive Jeremy Spring, his business partner at GD Web Offset, last year.
The abbreviated, unaudited financial statements for the first year of trading at GD Web Offset, to 31 March 2018, acknowledge there is a dispute between the two parties. Mursell stated in the report that he hoped the situation could be resolved amicably during the current financial year.
The report states that Aspenlink was responsible for paper supply and accounting records for the business during the year, and Mursell wrote: “I regret to say the accounting records has been less than perfect. But I feel that financial results reasonably reflect performance for the year.”
GD Web Offset had net assets of £207,702.
EWO Media had net assets of £255,698 in its most recent financial filing, for the year to 31 October 2017.
Spring said he did not want to comment.