Cheese­maker bat­tles on

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By AN­DREA FOX

Ar­ti­san cheese­maker Kaimai Cheese is to out­source most of its pro­duc­tion as it bat­tles to stay in busi­ness against su­per­mar­ket shop­per re­sis­tance to spe­cialty prices.

Chair­man Wy­att Creech said the seven-year-old com­pany would also lease out some of its Wa­haroa fac­tory to an­other dairy prod­uct man­u­fac­turer and make just enough of its own cheese on site to sup­ply its cafe and re­tail shop on the prop­erty, which were per­form­ing well.

Last fi­nan­cial year’s re­sult still has to be au­dited, but Creech ex­pected the com­pany to make a loss of about $1 mil­lion. He es­ti­mated share­hold­ers had sunk $5m into the ven­ture.

Most of the shares were owned by board direc­tors, he said.

The mar­ket for spe­cialty cheese had ‘‘ def­i­nitely shrunk’’ in the eco­nomic down­turn. The cost of mak­ing spe­cialty cheeses was high but shop­pers had not been will­ing to pay spe­cialty cheese prices in su­per­mar­kets, he said.

‘‘I ex­pect the wine in­dus­try is find­ing the same thing.’’

Kaimai Cheese has 470 share­hold­ers. Creech said one share­holder meet­ing had been held to dis­cuss the board’s re­struc­ture plan for the busi­ness. An­other meet­ing was planned for when the ac­counts were au­dited. He said the re­struc­ture was ex­pected to pro­duce a prof­itable re­sult for the fi­nan­cial year end­ing March 2014.

Four staff had left un­der the early stages of the re­struc­ture. All had found jobs, he said. Twenty staff have been re­tained to run the cafe and re­tail shop.

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