Sanitarium sells off NZ factory

Food manufacturer Sanitarium has announced the sale of its Christchurch factory, where popular Weet-Bix and Marmite products have been produced, with distribution now centralised to Auckland.

Food manufacturer Sanitarium has announced the sale of its Christchurch factory, where popular Weet-Bix and Marmite products have been produced, with distribution now centralised to Auckland.

The Papanui factory survived an earthquake in 2011, but suffered enough damage to see the production of Weet-Bix shifted to Auckland in 2012, resulting in the loss of 36 jobs.

According to stuff.co.nz, the factory has since been repaired but is now sold, and the shift in distribution will mean the loss of a further four roles.

Pierre van Heerden, Sanitarium general manager, said the company retained the right to lease back the Marmite-making section of the factory for up to five years, with production of the breakfast spread remaining at the Papanui site for now.

Van Heerden said the factory was sold because shifting the production of Weet-Bix meant that only a “small portion” of the site was occupied for Marmite production.

"There's a large unutilised site, and it made sense to look at the opportunities. We believe a new owner will be able to better utilise the portion that we don't use and they will be able to generate more jobs [and] more investment in the community,” he said.