Bertelsmann plans to close its Nuremberg printing site by April 2021, and has begun immediate talks with employee representatives, with around 670 permanent staffers and 250 contract workers affected.
The move is part of a wider realignment of the Bertelsmann Printing Group, which will also see collaboration between the individual companies "significantly intensified", standardising organisational structures and pooling functions such as IT. The Group will also gain a new c.e.o. in Dirk Kemmerer, as long-serving Axel Hentrei retires.
Thomas Rabe, chairman and c.e.o. of Bertelsmann, said: "The realignment of our printing activities is our answer to the far-reaching changes in the printing industry. As a leader provider in Europe, the Bertelsmann Printing Group is in a good position. However, megatrends like digitalisation and individualisation, as well as the increasing convergence of gravure and offset printing, present the printing industry with major challenges. In the past year, paper price increases also led to restraint on the part of many customers. We have already responded to these developments with various measures in the past few years and are now responding with an even stronger integration of our printing and direct-marketing businesses. We expect this will lead to further improvements in efficiency and effectiveness."
The closure of the Nuremberg site aims to "significantly reduce the massive overcapacity in gravure printing, in a bid to counteract the ongoing erosion of prices and the losses forecast for the gravure segment in the years ahead", the company said.
Rabe described the move as "very difficult for us" but "unavoidable if our overall printing business is to be future-proof."
A redundancy programme would be financed from Group funds, he also said.