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CHH Begins Consultation To Close Tokoroa Sawmill

Carter Holt Harvey begins consultation on closure of Tokoroa Sawmill

Carter Holt Harvey today announced a proposal to close the company’s Tokoroa Sawmill and partially close its Tokoroa Remanufacturing facility.

The future of the sawmill has been under a cloud for some years, and the company has reached the difficult position where it believes it is unable to keep the mill operating.

“We are extremely disappointed to be putting this proposal in front of our employees, particularly at this time of the year,” said Carter Holt Harvey CEO Peter Springford.

“Tokoroa Sawmill has run at a significant loss for a number of years, struggling to be profitable in what are increasingly competitive markets, both in New Zealand and internationally.

“Over this time, through working with our employees at the sawmill, we have done everything possible to turn the situation around, including implementing shift changes, changing the production and log grade mix, and upgrading equipment.

“We believe we have exhausted all our options, however we will be asking our Tokoroa Sawmill and Remanufacturing employees for their views before a final decision is made,” said Mr Springford.

CHH is also proposing to scale down its Tokoroa Remanufacturing plant, closing the kilns, planers, finger-jointing and chopsaw operations. Thirty eight people are currently employed in these areas.

“Over the last 12 months, we have worked hard to improve the performance of our Tokoroa Remanufacturing facility. Unfortunately given the age of the equipment and the market these products need to compete in, this facility is unable to be competitive and continues to lose money,” said Mr Springford.

As a major New Zealand manufacturer and exporter Carter Holt Harvey is facing challenges such as continuing increases in energy prices and the strongest Kiwi dollar in six years.

“We don’t see any indication of the cost of doing business in New Zealand reducing in the foreseeable future,” said Mr Springford.

“We are operating in an increasingly challenging environment and it is a sad reality that there will continue to be casualties as the industry does what it can to improve its competitiveness internationally,” he added.

“We will be working with our employees and aiming to give them clarity over the mill proposals as soon as we can,” said Mr Springford.

Mr Springford emphasised the company’s awareness of the impact these proposals would have on the Tokoroa community. “We appreciate the impact of what we are proposing, not only on our employees but also on the wider community, and will be offering all the support and assistance we can throughout the consultation period,” he said.

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