SaltWire Network Inc., Atlantic Canada’s largest publishing company with newspapers in all four provinces, has sold part of its printing operations in a move that will bring “stronger operational focus” to the media company.
SaltWire president and CEO Mark Lever said Wednesday the company sold the Nova Scotia arm of its printing subsidiary, Bounty Print Ltd., to New Brunswick’s Taylor Printing Group Inc.
He said Bounty NL operations will remain part of the SaltWire Network, but will operate as SaltWire Printing.
Lever said the sale will enable the media company to “bring more focus to our core operations.”
“We did a good job managing that (printing) business and turning it around when we bought it,” he said in an interview. “But our focus is on our media business.”
Lever said the cash generated from the sale will help the company invest in capital projects next year related to SaltWire.com, a new website with content from all SaltWire publications.
Meanwhile, he called Taylor Printing, headquartered in Fredericton, an “innovative operator” that has challenged conventional rules of printing. All 32 members of the Bounty NS team will join Taylor, Lever added.
SaltWire Network, owned by the Dennis-Lever family, has 27 media titles across the East Coast: Saltwire.com, The Chronicle Herald, Cape Breton Post, The Telegram, The Guardian and the Journal Pioneer.
Saltwire Network was formed in 2017 when The Chronicle Herald’s parent company, the Halifax Herald Ltd., purchased more than two dozen Atlantic Canadian papers owned by Transcontinental Inc.
However, in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed last spring, SaltWire alleged it had suffered “significant damages and loss” as a result of inaccurate and inflated numbers provided by Montreal-based Transcontinental.
Lever said Transcontinental has asked for an extension to file its defence, and now has until Jan. 10 to respond.
Meanwhile, SaltWire has sold off several real estate holdings acquired from Transcontinental. Lever said some of the properties had deferred maintenance issues, and by selling them – at or above market value – SaltWire has been able to focus on its media operations rather than facilities management.
SaltWire also recently ended its subscription to The Canadian Press wire service, turning instead to Postmedia and Reuters for wire content.
Lever said rather than paying for a more expensive service, SaltWire is investing in reporting on the ground in Atlantic communities.
“We’re repurposing the money to add local journalists,” he said. “SaltWire is committed to telling the stories of Atlantic Canada.”