Goodman Fielder to sell off NZ meat and pizza businesses

Food manufacturer Goodman Fielder has announced plans to sell off its meat and pizza businesses in New Zealand.

CEO Chris Delaney said the divestments represent the near conclusion of the company’s strategy to focus on its core categories.

“Over the past 18 months we have successfully prioritised our product portfolio with a number of business divestments including Integro, NZ Milling, Copperpot and most recently the Biscuits business. On finalisation of the sales of Meats and Pizza businesses, we will have largely completed our divestment program which will enable the company to focus our resources on our core categories,” he said.

“The proposal to sell also reflects the very difficult trading environment and market conditions which have existed for the Meats business for some time. We explored a number of alternative possibilities; however, none of these were viable which has led to this decision.”

Meat
The company has agreed to a proposal to sell its meats business to Hellers, with the sale subject to an employee consultation process and feedback received through that process.

The meats business processes and markets smallgoods in New Zealand with products including Kiwi bacon and ham, Brooks Deli continental meats and bacon, Hutton’s luncheon, bacon and ham, Sizzlers pre-cooked smallgoods and Milano cooked continental meats.

The consultation process includes the proposal to transfer Goodman Fielder’s processing activities in Frankton, Hamilton, to Hellers’ sites in Christchurch and Auckland, which would see the closure of the Frankton site, which has 125 employees.

Delaney said that wherever possible, affected employees will be provided the opportunity for redeployment at other Goodman Fielder sites across New Zealand or possibly at Hellers. Failing this, redundancy packages will be provided.

Pizza
Goodman Fielder has also agreed to a proposal to sell its pizza business to Mommas Frozen Products, subject to consultation with nine employees that work on the line at its Irvines pie factory in South Auckland.

The pizza business’ primary brand is Leaning Tower which mainly produces fresh chilled pizza including bases and snack sized frozen pizzas.

The transactions for both proposed sales are expected to be completed on 31 March, 2014, with total net proceeds from both divestments expected to be approximately NZ$15 million to NZ$17 million.