Ki­wis’ Cad­bury bid falls over

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - HAMISH MCNEILLY

‘‘We can­not ac­cess the equip­ment and peo­ple we need to es­tab­lish our op­er­a­tion in the time­frame re­quired’’

An am­bi­tious cam­paign to keep the pro­duc­tion of fa­mous Kiwi Cad­bury prod­ucts in Dunedin is over.

But the group, Dunedin Man­u­fac­tur­ing Hold­ings (DMH), is eye­ing another choco­late ven­ture.

The man be­hind DMH, Jim O’Mal­ley, con­firmed crowd-fund­ing ven­ture Own the Fac­tory would with­draw its bid be­fore global food gi­ant Mon­delez.

The bid was to keep pro­duc­tion of some of Cad­bury’s iconic Kiwi brands – in­clud­ing Jaf­fas, Pineap­ple Lumps, Buzz Bars and Pinky Bars – in Dunedin.

The ven­ture, which had at­tracted al­most $6 mil­lion in pledges by Mon­day, would now fo­cus on mak­ing ‘‘high qual­ity choco­late’’, O’Mal­ley said.

‘‘Given Mon­delez’s re­quire­ments to en­sure con­tin­u­ous pro­duc­tion and sup­ply of these prod­ucts, we can­not ac­cess the equip­ment and peo­ple we need to es­tab­lish our op­er­a­tion in the time­frame re­quired to meet the qual­ity and pro­duc­tion goals of Mon­delez,’’ he said.

De­spite with­draw­ing its bid, the ven­ture was buoyed by the ‘‘enor­mous sup­port for sav­ing choco­late pro­duc­tion in Dunedin’’.

Over the next few months, DMH would de­velop a busi­ness plan to pro­duce high qual­ity, short-run batch choco­late in Dunedin.

‘‘The with­drawal is not the end of our at­tempt to save choco­late man­u­fac­tur­ing in Dunedin but rather a recog­ni­tion that our en­er­gies are bet­ter placed fo­cus­ing on other ob­jec­tives.’’

O’Mal­ley, a Dunedin City coun­cil­lor and for­mer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ex­ec­u­tive, said he would main­tain a re­la­tion­ship with Mon­delez.

‘‘I want them to un­der­stand that they have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to this com­mu­nity and that they can live up to that re­spon­si­bil­ity by not de­stroy­ing the choco­late-mak­ing equip­ment that re­mains on the site af­ter they leave.’’

Ear­lier this week, sources al­leged Mon­delez had ad­vised its work­ers not to in­vest in DMH’s cam­paign.

A Mon­delez spokesman said the com­pany would con­tinue to work with the re­main­ing two New Zealand man­u­fac­tur­ers who had put in bids ’’to see if a vi­able op­tion ex­ists’’.

If it couldn’t a New Zealand op­tion it would make its prod­ucts in Aus­tralia.

Mon­delez an­nounced ear­lier this year it would stop man­u­fac­tur­ing Cad­bury prod­ucts in Dunedin in March 2018, with the loss of 350 jobs.

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