The closure is part of the company's digital transformation, converting Axel Springer into a purely digital publishing company in the long term.
German media group Axel Springer SE plans to close down the printing plant in Ahrensburg near Hamburg next year. Talking to EUWID representatives, Axel Springer did not specify the exact date when the closure will occur. According to the Verdi trade union, the effective date of the closure is 31 July 2024.
According to the company there are two major reasons in support of closure decision. First, there is no way to ensure that the Springer printing plant in Ahrensburg will be fully and efficiently supplied with energy now that the Prinovis rotogravure printing plant, which is part of the Bertelsmann Printing Group, will be closed down as announced as of January 2024. The Prinovis plant is located on the same premises and secures the Springer printing plant’s electricity supply. A group spokesman explained that in view of declining print circulation in the newspaper business, investing in energy supply facilities of its own at the site would not be worthwhile for Springer.
Second, the decision to shut down the Ahrensburg printing plant for good is a step towards the “digital only” strategy announced by Matthias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, in January. At that time Döpfner explained that his goal was to accomplish the company’s digital transformation, converting Axel Springer into a purely digital publishing company. He added that he did not know when this would be the case, but in his opinion it was crystal clear that one day, a printed copy of the Bild, Germany’s largest and most popular tabloid, or of the Die Welt newspaper – or of any other newspaper produced by Axel Springer – would no longer exist.
To date the Ahrensburg plant has printed partial editions of the publishing house’s own newspapers Bild, Bild am Sonntag, Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag. Moreover, the plant has produced Hamburger Abendblatt and partial editions of Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Following the Ahrensburg plant’s closure, thesenewspapers will be printed at two of Axel Springer’s printing plants in Berlin-Spandau and Essen-Kettwig, where, according to company spokesman Senft, the required capacities will become available in the course of the next two years due to the statistically forecast declines in print circulation.