Dunedin's only sawmill - Otago Lumber Ltd - faces an
The board of the Bush Rd, Mosgiel company will hold a
conference today to "discuss all available options" to
continue trading, chairman Harold Hill said last night.
The family-owned business employs 27 full-time staff.
"No decisions have been made yet but, at the same time, I'm
not saying things are going well. I've been involved in this
industry for more than 50 years and it's the worst I can
remember," Mr Hill said.
"We've got nothing to hide. The timber market is very poor
world-wide. Low timber-selling prices make it very difficult
to compete with prices that the Chinese market will pay for
logs. Many sawmills in New Zealand have already closed."
The export sales of woodchips have also virtually collapsed.
"The woodchip pile at Port Chalmers has been full for several
months and a new one was installed at Burnside and is now
also full. I understand there's a woodchip ship coming into
port soon," he said.
"This is a major problem for all woodmills in the Deep South,
as this is the only part of the South Island that exports
Mr Hill's son, managing director David Hill, took over the
company in 1997.
"We're very concerned for our staff. We've been talking to
staff and told them the situation last week. But, we
certainly haven't told anyone that we're closing down, or
talked about redundancies," he said.
"We're still hopeful we can carry on and we're looking at
every possible option. No decision has been made yet."
Otago Lumber processes 29,000 tonnes of radiata pine logs a
year, generating 15,000cum of sawn timber. The company
produces radiata pine solid wood products for the domestic,
Australian and Asian markets.