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CHH Proposal to Close Tokoroa Sawmill Confirmed

Carter Holt Harvey confirms proposal to close Tokoroa Sawmill following consultation

Carter Holt Harvey today confirmed the closure of the company’s Tokoroa Sawmill.

The company has been consulting with employees and union representatives since it announced a proposal to close the facility last month.

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.

“We have worked hard over several years to put the mill in a better position including implementing shift changes, changing the production and log grade mix, and upgrading equipment,” said Carter Holt Harvey CEO Peter Springford.

“The consultation team have worked hard to come up with a number of ideas, but unfortunately none of these are sufficient to put the mill in a viable long term position.”

“Unfortunately given the age of the equipment and the markets we compete in, Tokoroa Sawmill has continued to lose significant amounts of money despite these changes,” he said.

The mill has lost $16 million over the last five years, and $7 million this year.

“We are very disappointed to be making this announcement, particularly at this time of the year. There has been a cloud over the future of Tokoroa Sawmill for a long time now, and although it is a small consolation, today’s announcement will at least allow our employees to move forward early in the new year,” said Mr Springford.

Mr Springford emphasised the company’s awareness of what the closure means for the Tokoroa community. “We understand the impact of this announcement, not only on our employees but also on the wider community, and will be offering all the support and assistance we can over the coming months,” he said.

A resource centre for employees was set up at the Sawmill last month and to date has been assisting with CV preparation and offering counselling support. The centre will now provide information on job opportunities within CHH and the wider industry, CV preparation, outplacement support, family counselling, budgeting and financial planning.

Some staff will continue to work at the site into the first quarter of 2004 as existing stock is run out.

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