Cottonsoft country manager Kim Calvert. Photo supplied.
Cottonsoft is on a roll.
Puns aside, the company, which manufactures toilet tissue,
paper towels and serviettes, has recently taken on two new
staff members in Dunedin.
It has also committed to a four-year extension to the lease
of its premises, instead of the previous year-by-year
arrangement, which is good news for the city's manufacturing
The company acknowledged it had not always been easy and, in
recent times, the Dunedin plant was not expected to survive.
However, there was now no reason why it could not continue to
grow and operate out of the city, Cottonsoft country manager
Kim Calvert said.
The Cottonsoft plant
was established in Dunedin in the mid-1980s and the privately
owned company was sold to Indonesian conglomerate Asia Pulp
and Paper in a multimillion-dollar deal in 2007.
A sister operation was set up in Auckland to combat the high
cost of transporting product around the country and once that
plant was established, it was the long-term plan to operate
from a single site, Mr Calvert said.
However, the company had a long-established relationship with
Dunedin, with some very long-serving staff. Most of its 14
full-time Dunedin staff have been with the company for more
than 10 years.
Over the past couple of years, it had taken an impartial look
at its Dunedin operation and had been able to ''make it stack
up'' from financial, social and environmental perspectives,
Once its product was converted into finished goods, it was
''quite inefficient'' to shift around the country.
The purchase of new embossing rollers, at a cost of $150,000,
meant the company could now produce the Tuffy and new Pasea
brands, as well as Cottonsofts and Kiwisoft, eliminating the
need to ship product from Auckland to the South Island,
removing a substantial operating cost and reducing its carbon
The company could also supply to the lower North Island
''almost as cheaply'' as it could from Auckland.
Cottonsoft's national operations manager, Chris Batchelor,
who is based in Dunedin, said the company's investment in
Dunedin was against the tide of general industry decline in
the city and wider region.
''There is a lot of bad news in the local economy and for
several years there was doubt about our viability here.
''Like other businesses, we went through several rounds of
redundancy and we were renewing our lease for only a year at
''However, we were able to prove our viability and this
investment represents a huge turnaround.''
Two new staff members had been hired, one in operations and
the other in sales, for the first time in several years.
The building's landlord had also invested in the business,
with improvements to the building and site, he said.
Mr Calvert said there were ''a lot of positives'' about
staying in Dunedin. The company was trying hard to gain
private label business and, if that eventuated, there was
potential to put on a second shift in the plant.
''It's really great to see that we're able to make it work.
It's quite disappointing to see not everybody can,'' he said.
Although the company was overseas-owned, it was New Zealand
run and could make decisions on its New Zealand operations
itself, whereas other companies did not have that luxury, he