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Prisa And Polestar Merge Spanish Printing Operations

Press release from the issuing company

24 October 2003: The Polestar Group has today confirmed that it has agreed to integrate its Spanish operations with the printing activities of Grupo Prisa, Spain’s leading media group, to create the largest printing group in Spain and one of the largest in Europe. Prisa and Polestar will each hold a 40 per cent share in the newly created company, with venture capitalists Ibersuizas holding the remaining 20 per cent. In addition, Polestar will be able to exercise a call option in five years time to acquire the principle commercial printing assets of the newly created company from its joint venture partners. Subject to the EU’s approval of the deal, the new company is expected to come into effect towards the end of November. Polestar’s Chris Pavlosky will be Chairman, with Jesus Castillo, Chief Executive of Prisa Print, also becoming Chief Executive of the joint operation. Approximately 1500 people will be employed, coming from both Polestar’s and Prisa’s existing employee bases. The integration of the activities of Prisaprint and Polestar Spain will create the largest printing group in the country, with an excellent geographical spread of web offset and gravure printing plants in Galicia, Valencia, Seville and Madrid, where the head office will be based. With a solid base of clients that includes major national and international book publishing companies, publishers of newspapers and Spanish magazines, as well as multinational organisations and large commercial supermarkets, the new company’s turnover will surpass 200 million Euros per annum. It is also expected to attract a significant share of its work from mainland Europe and the UK. Polestar’s Chief Executive Barry Hibbert says: “This is extremely good news for Polestar. It strengthens our contract print base in Europe, and on a significant scale takes us into newspaper production for the first time. It also sees a welcome return for the Group to substantial book printing with one of Europe’s leading brands. Grupo Prisa’s operations in South America also offer a platform for growth and are of strategic value to Polestar.” He continues: “Polestar is an ideal fit with Prisa’s operations because we are able to bring to the party gravure printing, with a Madrid location, which is vital for distribution within the country and beyond, and we do not compete in any area of Grupo Prisa’s other multimedia activities. We are looking forward to working with them and combining our respective successes to date to build a powerful, high quality printing group in Europe for Europe.”