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Industry

Saving newsprint in a post-Brexit Britain

As Monocle magazine announced its decision to move its printing operations out of the UK to Germany citing Brexit uncertainty as the reason, how is the industry preparing for March 29th?

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Monocle magazine covers global affairs and lifestyle topics. Photo: Garry Knight (Flickr)

Monocle is currently printed in Cornwall by Walstead Roche, formerly known as Wyndeham Roche, where the publication spends about £1.2m on printing each year. Of the 155,000 copies produced each month, Monocle says it exports about 80% of them.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Monocle’s editor-in-chief and chairman Tyler Brule, says: “There just isn’t much of a plan in this country. People are like ‘Oh well, it might work, let’s see what happens,’ and we can’t afford to do that. We wanted to make sure we felt confident we had a plan.”

Neef & Stumme in Wittingen, Germany, will print the magazine from the April edition. Walstead Roche did not immediately respond to Print Monthly’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, Britain’s newspapers have been stockpiling paper, ink and other supplies in case of a no-deal Brexit. The UK relies heavily on paper imports, with EU membership countries accounting for two-thirds of the supply.

If I can use one word to define what all our members want, it is stability

Bettine Pellant, chief executive officer of Picon (Printing Industry Confederation), comments on the Brexit uncertainty: “It would be very brave of anyone to predict the outcome of Brexit at the current time; there are too many possible scenarios.

“As an organisation Picon can only provide expert advice and at its business forum in the autumn two speakers, political commentator John Arnold and leading business journalist Declan Curry, defined the key issues and potential outcomes, at least to the point of [January 15th’s] vote. If I can use one word to define what all our members want, it is stability.” 

The UK Government announced in September 2018 that it would be implementing both UK timber and UK Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) regulations, which will have the same requirements as EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and EU FLEGT regulations, after the UK leaves the EU.

But the implementation period remains uncertain at this point and many in print are taking measures to minimise disruption in production and distribution lines following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The potential for rising production costs in the event of no-deal, coupled with confusion and delays at the border, all have to be factored in to our planning

In the East Midlands, David Hunter, managing director of Antalis and Confederation of British Industries (CBI) member, has been preparing for any Brexit eventuality.

He comments: "This has included upgrading our warehousing capacity, analysing our supply chain and mapping our products against World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs. However, the implications of a 'no deal' Brexit for our business would impact our ability to grow as a key employer in the East Midland’s region.

"While WTO tariffs on most paper products in a no-deal scenario are likely to be small, the notable exception is tariffs of around 6% for some plastics and polymers which represents over £22 million turnover of our business.

“The potential for rising production costs in the event of no-deal, coupled with confusion and delays at the border, all have to be factored in to our planning which is costly and diverting time and resources from growing our business in the region."

How is your business preparing for Brexit, whatever the outcome? Email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in the conversation on Twitter.


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