Huhtamaki to lay off staff at plant in Auckland, New Zealand

28 August 2012 (Last Updated August 28th, 2012 18:30)

Huhtamaki Oyj has incurred an expenditure of $6.3m on downsizing its workforce at its troubled plant in Auckland's New Lynn, which was closed in July 2012.

Huhtamaki Oyj has incurred an expenditure of $6.3m on downsizing its workforce at its troubled plant in Auckland's New Lynn, which was closed in July 2012.

The New Lynn business has pushed the holding company into negative equity of $21.1m as it retained losses of $65.3m as at 31 December 2011.

The holding company for the New Lynn business, Huhtamaki New Zealand, posted a $19.5m loss in calendar year 2011, compared to $13.6m made in 2010, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office, as cited by nbr.co.nz.

To restructure its flexible packaging division, Huhtamaki booked a $12.5m expense, which led to the plant closure and manufacturing being farmed out to the group's Asian operations.

The expenditure was sustained on terminating 135 staff at the plant and $4.4m was a writedown in the value of building and machinery, while the remaining costs came from legal and consultancy fees.

After closing the operations, Huhtamaki's New Zealand businesses will comprise the food service operation in Henderson in Nevada, US and moulded fibre unit in Otahuhu, Auckland which together employ about 320 people.

Huhtamaki (NZ) Holdings made a profit of $332,000 in 2011, a decline from $2.6m in 2010, yet reported an increase in sales to $57.1m, up from $53.8m, during the same period.

In the first six months of 2012, the Finnish packaging group increased its global sales by 16% to €1.17m for pre-tax earnings of €83.2m.