Now former Fairfax Ballarat newspaper plant comes under the hammer

Australian Community Media's Ballarat plant is the latest to hit the market, with offers called for by the end of the month.

ACM announced the closure - with the loss of 134 jobs - in July, and has also sold its Wodonga print site in Victoria, leaving it with no printing capacity in the state.

The ten-unit manroland Uniset press on which it is anchored was extended by then owners Fairfax Media to enable it to print The Age, allowing the group's showplace Tullamarine print centre to be closed.

Double-width units and heatset capacity were added to the press in Ballarat's Wendouree, but News Corp declined to make use of the facilities under a much-vaunted 'capacity sharing' agreement between the two, opting to build a new plant itself.

It's next year's opening of that centre - where one of the presses actually comes from a closed former ACM/Fairfax site - which is leading to the closure of the Ballarat centre.

On offer in addition to the Uniset press and its three folders - all dating from 2003-2013 - and a separate 32-page heatset Geoman press (relocated from Tullamarine) are Müller Martini delivery components, inserting and postpress equipment, two Tolerans stitchers, the QI Press Controls register system, plateroom and other press peripherals. Two packaged 1100Kva generators are among engineering and support equipment, which also includes compressors and vacuum pumps. Like ACM's sister plant in North Richmond, NSW, the Ballarat site is equipped with an ABB robotic palletising system.

A six-station Müller Martini saddle-stitcher has already been sold.

Hilco Global APAC is inviting offers on "part or all" equipment by October 30; the same company had managed the sale of equipment from News Corp Australia's regional Queensland print centres, including two Manugraph newspaper presses (see advertisement on this website).

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