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106-year-old firm insolvent as Circle restructures

Circle has filed for administration of its Austrian print business and is now seeking buyers for its Belgian, German and Spanish print operations.

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Circle files for insolvency of Austrian print firm Oberndorfer Druckerei

The group announced it would be filing for bankruptcy of its Dutch printing companies earlier in April, following a “strong deterioration of the market” last year.

The latest news from the company sees Oberndorfer Druckerei placed into administration – an Austrian offset printing firm that was first established in 1913. Around 160 jobs and 300 creditors are affected, and it is believed no wages have been paid since the beginning of March.

According to AKV (Alpine Creditors Association) the due liabilities of Oberndorfer Druckerei stand at €12.3m (£10.6m). The firm produced magazines, catalogues, brochures and advertising materials for clients across Europe and in the United States.

Joost de Haas, executive director Circle Media Group and chief executive officer of Roto Smeets Group comments: “After a reasonable 2017, we saw a strong deterioration of the market in 2018. Paper prices increased with 15-20%, while our printing volumes decreased twice as fast as on average.

Our intention was to play a leading role in the necessary consolidation of the European print industry

“Adapting our capacity and workforce at a similar pace is too expensive in most European countries under the current labour laws. As a result, we had already to take our Dutch print operations through an insolvency. We now have to make the same difficult decision for our company in Austria (Oberndorfer Druckerei).”

Peter Andreou, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Circle Media Group adds: “Our intention was to play a leading role in the necessary consolidation of the European print industry. Over the past three years we have created a pan-European group of print companies with a loyal customer base.

“We must conclude now that we are no longer in a position to realise our ambition. Our businesses in Germany (Koerner Druck and J. Fink Druckerei) and Belgium (Corelio Printing) are in good shape and deserve a future under new ownership. For our recently refinanced Spanish business we are currently investigating the options including new ownership.”

Circle Media recently sold book printing group CPI and its gravure printing company Helprint in Finland, with the former only being acquired by the group nine months previously. 

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