Staff at Sing Tao Daily News said they feared for their jobs last night after the announcement of a joint venture to take over production and printing. The chief operating officer of Sing Tao Holdings Ltd, Stan Tsao, was last night working out detailed arrangements about how many staff would be kept under the new arrangement. More than 150 employees work in the production and printing divisions of the newspaper, which changed hands from debt-ridden tycoon Sally Aw Sian to Lazard Asia last April. Sister paper the Hong Kong Standard is not affected by the development. 'The move is a purely commercial restructuring involving printing and processing,' said Mr Tsao. On the possibility of layoffs, he said existing staff may or may not be fully absorbed by the joint venture, depending on the extent of work it could take up and how much work Sing Tao could allocate to it. But he guaranteed the editorial department would not be affected by the joint venture. More details would be available today. Last night editorial staff were perplexed by the move, fearing it could lead to major cuts in their department. One editorial employee said: 'We expect layoffs in our department any time now.' The newspaper cut its selling price to $2 a copy in November, at the same time as it unveiled a high-profile relaunch. Mr Tsao said circulation had risen from 70,000 copies a day to more than 130,000. A statement by the company said its subsidiary Cross Board Group had signed a joint venture agreement with PPG Investment Ltd last Thursday, in which Cross Board would own 50 per cent of PPG in return for printing machinery worth $80 million.