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Polestar Colchester In £10 Million Expansion Program

Press release from the issuing company

July 23, 2004 -- The Polestar Group is investing in excess of £10 million in its Colchester operation. The company's press capacity is to be increased following the order for a new 64-page Heidelberg Sunday 4000 press, whilst its bindery facility is to benefit from the installation of two Ferag Unidrum stitching lines. Modifications to the existing press hall will be made to accommodate the additional machine, which will be operational in April 2005. It will join five other presses at the plant to provide much-needed extra capacity for the company, as Polestar Chief Executive Barry Hibbert explains: "As one of the leading web offset printers in the UK and with new contracts coming on stream, Polestar Colchester is a full house. The increased capacity in the press room and bindery, which will incorporate the latest technology, will enable the company to maintain its high levels of service to existing customers and continue to attract new work." The press is the second Heidelberg web press to be ordered by Polestar this year, with a Sunday 4000 machine installed at Polestar Petty in May, and it joins an existing Heidelberg Mini Web already at Colchester following its transfer from Polestar Anglia. Barry Hibbert continues: "With the sale of Heidelberg's web business to Goss nearing completion, we have received every assurance that we will continue to receive the highest levels of service and support for our existing and future press installations, and have no concerns regarding the future of the business." John Chambers, Heidelberg Divisional Web Director, says: "We are delighted to have received this order from Polestar for a second 64-page press. After a successful installation at Polestar Petty, we think Polestar is really excited by the flexibility that our Sunday technology offers. We look forward to working with the team at Colchester in due course." The first of the two Ferag lines will be commissioned in September with the second line coming on stream in January 2005. These two Unidrum systems form part of the six lines ordered by Polestar in January, with the other four already operational at Polestar Petty in Leeds. Polestar Colchester produces over 40 weekly magazines and more than 90 monthlies. Each month the company processes around 25,000 pages of data, with weekly totals of 4500 plates produced and 300+ sections made ready and printed on 3500+ tonnes of paper. In the last 12 months, contracts have been signed with new and existing customers within the magazine publishing market, including Haymarket, Quantum, Merricks Media and Archant. In March 2003, the company completed a £3.5 million investment programme, which saw its expansion to a four-press house and the relocation of the bindery to new 60,000 square foot premises. In November, the first European installation of the Rutherford Graphic Products (RGP) IntelliSet digital pre-setting system was completed successfully at the plant. A successful year culminated this month with Polestar Colchester awarded the accolade of Business Magazine Printer of the Year by trade magazine Printing World.