Nestlé has confirmed proposals to exit from sugar confectionery in New Zealand, selling its business to a local manufacturer, and focus on its chocolate, baking and medicated lozenge brands.
As first reported in confectionerynews.com, completion of the sale is expected to occur at the end of August, with RJ’s in New Zealand purchasing the Mackintosh’s, Heards, Oddfellows, Black Knight and Fabulicious Red Licorice brands from Nestlé.
RJ’s says it intends to continue the manufacture of these brands in New Zealand, with plans to be finalised in the coming weeks. Nestlé will also sell the Life Savers brand to Darrell Lea in Australia.
The sale follows a review of Nestlé’s confectionery business in Australia and New Zealand and will result in up to 55 jobs being made redundant from the Nestlé factory in Wiri.
Employees will be offered voluntary redundancies in the first instance, with all affected staff offered generous redundancy packages and access to outplacement services.
Martin Brown, Nestlé confectionery general manager, thanked staff and union representatives for the productive manner in which the consultation was undertaken.
“While the sale regretfully means job losses at our Wiri factory, we are working with RJ’s to identify opportunities for people leaving our workforce to join RJ’s factory in Levin,” Brown said.
“As well, we have been contacted by a number of other local businesses to discuss job opportunities for our employees – an indicator of the calibre of our people.”
Nestlé will continue to manufacture culinary products at its Wiri factory, including Maggi soups, recipe mixes and a wide range of products for professional food service, sold in New Zealand and exported globally.