Around 140 staff at DMG World Media have been told they could lose their jobs as the company continues to seek new owners for its titles.
The move comes 12 months after it announced 40 redundancies and two magazine closures following a major restructure of its business-to-business division. Staff working on titles at the World Media arm in Redhill, Surrey, were sent letters saying their jobs were at risk and there could be a number of redundancies.
There are 60 magazines and 10 associated directories in total, including Technical Rescue, Coffee and Cocoa, Product Finishing, Precision Toolmaker, Life Science Today and Asia Pacific Rail.
Although 140 "job risk" letters were issued – including 60 to journalists – human resources director Warren Girling told Press Gazette he did not anticipate a high number of editorial redundancies. He claimed the final figure would be no more than 10 and said staff who held facilities and management posts would be more at risk.
"We do not expect anything like 140 to be made redundant," he said.
"It depends on who buys what and how many journalists go with the products and of those who don’t, how many will be able to find existing positions at the company," he said.
Senior management have already been hit by redundancies. Managing director Paul Camp left a month ago along with business sector director Christina Wood. Finance director Ian Cuthbert has also been made redundant and is expected to leave at the end of the year.
DMG tried to sell the business as a whole last November but a deal with venture capitalists 3i fell through after they failed to agree on a price. Girling said it was possible some titles would close if DMG failed to find buyers for individual sectors. DMG is in talks with rival B2B publisher Turret Rai about a possible acquisition of the magazines, exhibitions and around 10 staff in the material handlings sector.
All staff are in a period of consultation and have been given the option of taking voluntary redundancy.
One member of staff said the reaction was one of "sadness" rather than anger as many of the titles were long established and well-respected in their fields.
Girling stressed DMG was still a major player in the arts and antiques sector and would continue to publish in the primary metals, glass and foundry, fire, marine and safety and broadcast and communications fields among others.
But the cuts have sparked fears of further job losses throughout the company.
"Just because some staff are not directly involved, it doesn’t mean people aren’t affected by what is going on around them. We all feel it. We all get on very well and it is a shame things are the way they are," an insider said.
Girling said: "I would not blame them for feeling unsettled. Nonetheless, we are trying to reassure them that there is a solid business for the future and they have a good career in front of them."
By Ruth Addicott