Cadbury to start streamlining

Work will begin within days on stage one of the $51 million redevelopment of the Cadbury Confectionery Ltd factory in Dunedin, the company has announced.

The project, which aimed to convert the factory into a "centre of excellence", would begin on Monday with work to replace the roof of the factory's main manufacturing block, Cadbury corporate communication manager Daniel Ellis said yesterday.

The work included raising a portion of the roof, so a new, larger caramel cooker could be installed, he said.

"This work is a key part of Cadbury's $51 million investment to upgrade the Dunedin factory to become a `centre of excellence' for the production of all chocolate assortments for the New Zealand and Australian markets," he said.

The announcement comes seven months after Cadbury management revealed plans for the $51 million development, as well as a proposal to shed up to 145 jobs while introducing new high-technology, high-production machinery to the factory over two years.

The factory employed 700 workers, rising to 800 at the height of production season.

The factory's redevelopment was part of an overall $153 million investment plan, also encompassing Australian factories at Claremont, Tasmania - $61 million investment, 160 job losses - and Ringwood, Victoria - $22 million, 25 job losses - it was announced at the time.

Yesterday, Mr Ellis said the existing factory roof's steel cladding would be stripped and replaced with a new tin Coloursteel roof.

New ventilation ducts would also be installed.

Construction would be limited to daylight hours and was not expected to generate "excessive" noise, he said.

The work was expected to be completed by late May.

The installation of new state-of-the-art production machinery was also expected to begin shortly, he said.

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