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Magazine focus after newspapers sale

Morton’s of Horncastle has confirmed the way forward for the company will be in magazines, following the sale of its newspaper division to Johnston Press.

A statement from the company, following the sale of Lincolnshire Independent Newspapers, said the newspapers – which include the Horncastle News, Coningsby and Tattershall News, Louth Leader, Mablethorpe, Sutton and Alford Leader, Skegness News and Market Rasen Mail – had come to represent less than 20 per cent of its activities after previously being the mainstay of the firm.

Its focus would now rest on contract print and specialist magazine activities. Contract printing has effectively doubled in the past five years.

Morton chairman Philip Sharpe said: “It was with very mixed feelings that we came to this decision, but the world is changing and we felt that it was right for our company to concentrate on print and magazines.”

He said the local papers were in “good heart”, with rising circulations, but they, and their employees, could be given enhanced long-term prospects as part of a major group.

Mortons Media Managing Director Terry Clark: “The papers have been very much a part of my life and I will be sorry to say goodbye to an excellent team, but I feel that new opportunities will be created which Mortons were not in a position to offer.”

The company said all LIN publishing staff would be transferred to Johnstons and Mortons Print Ltd would retain the print contract for the papers.

Johnstons would ultimately take composing work in-house, resulting in redundancies at the Horncastle typesetting department. There would also be fewer admin posts.

A decision on the sale from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is expected by the end of January.

  • Johnstons recently bought the Boston-based Lincolnshire Standard Group and also owns the Grantham Journal, Spalding Guardian and Stamford Mercury.
  • Mortons is currently involved in a £1.5m expansion project in its Press Hall where there will be an increase in staff. It is also expected to increase its staff to meet increasing demands of magazine publishing.

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