New management reviving cheese company
Following a difficult financial year and major restructuring, artisan cheese maker Kaimai Cheese is moving forward.
The Waharoa-based business is under new management and in the process of developing a revised business plan that will bring the company into profitability.
Manager Dion Silich was appointed seven weeks ago to analyse the situation at Kaimai as well as manage the business.
Kaimai, which reported a loss of $2.9 million in the March 2011 year, was set up under a business model based on a market with a high level of discretionary spending, said Mr Silich.
‘‘That market has obviously now changed, so we need to re-model the business to suit the present climate. We are figuring out the optimum point of production where the factory covers its costs plus makes a profit.’’
In a letter to shareholders the company confirmed the bank would continue to support the company for at least six months while the new business plan is drafted.
‘‘ There are no guarantees of course. We are not out of the woods yet but unless we do what we are doing there would be no chance of coming back,’’ Mr Silich said.
Last year, the company’s production facility and cafe at Te Mata was closed and all South Island and export sales stopped.
The Waharoa factory continues to produce high-quality specialty cheese for the North Island under the two registered trademark brands, Kaimai and Te Mata.
The company won three silver medals and eight bronze at the 2012 Cuisine New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.
The cafe and retail unit remain highly successful, and sales manager Bryan Winter said they were looking to expand into catered functions.
‘‘It’s a great location and it’s cer- tainly one of the better, well equipped function centres in the area. We would like to become more community oriented.’’
Employee Debbie Ruck has worked for Kaimai for the past year and said, while the company had seen some rough times, the new management were willing to look forward and move ahead.
‘‘There’s been a significant turnaround, the company is moving in a really positive direction. I can see a really nice light at the end of the tunnel,’’ she said.