Hybrid KBA Continent Press Starts Up in Persian Gulf

By: E&P Staff United Printing & Publishing, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, among the biggest newspaper and commercial print operations in the Persian Gulf, has started up a multi-unit KBA Continent hybrid press line.

UPP is the third newspaper publishing house in the Middle East to install a KBA press for coldset and heatset production. Next year, the first waterless KBA Cortina outside Europe, in a configuration with multiple heatset dryers, will go into production at the daily Gulf News, owned by Dubai media group Al Nisr Publishing LLC.

The Continent press line was installed in a new, $27 million, 215,000-square-foot plant near the international airport. UPP will relocate all presses at its Abu Dhabi city center facility to the new plant, which is scheduled to start by next spring. At that point the new press hall will house the Continent, a 1998-vintage KBA Compacta 213 with dryer, a Compacta 215 commercial web press installed in 2007, a KBA Rapida 104 five-color litho press with coater, a Performa 74 with a similar configuration and a just-purchased Rapida 105 six-color UV coater press.

UPP's semi-commercial Continent prints two paid dailies, with a circulation of 110,000 copies each, plus the free-distribution 7 Days. "We are planning to make the most of our expanded capacity by securing more lucrative contract work," UPP CEO Ali Saif Al Neaimi said in a statement, adding that his company also has successfully negotiated to print a global newspaper title.

Al Neaimi said the recession has caused UPP to postpone a scheduled extension of the 18-tower Continent. "Since this is perfectly adequate for the time being, in view of the changing market scenario we have abandoned our original idea of linking up the Continent and the Compacta 213."

The Continent can produce up to 64 broadsheet pages, 40 in full color, at 50,000 copies per hour. Web widths vary from 25.4 inches to 40 inches.

Established in 2006, UPP is the print arm of Emirates Media Inc., one of the Gulf's leading media companies, with a product spectrum ranging from newspapers, magazines, brochures and newsletters to catalogues, point-of-sale products, books, directories and customized marketing products. Newspapers account for almost two-thirds of UPP output, the balance being in magazines and commercial work, according to Al Neaimi, who sees a shift toward commercial work and packaging printing.


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