Glimmer of light in Hillside gloom

Amid the bleak outlook for most Hillside staff there is a glimmer of hope in the expansion of Bradken's Dunedin operation.

• Additional coverage of Hillside Engineering

The global manufacturing company has a conditional five-year agreement to lease from KiwiRail the Hillside foundry.

It plans to consolidate its Dunedin operation at Hillside, which will allow the company to increase its range of products for domestic and export markets.

That meant job opportunities for the city, Bradken Industrial general manager Matthew Criss said yesterday.

"We hope the strengthening or reinforcing of our commitment to the Otago region with this further investment will provide opportunities for employment growth in the future," Mr Criss said from Bradken's head office in Newcastle, Australia.

He said Bradken was excited about building on its 48-year history in Dunedin, where its foundry employed 50 people and supplied high-quality iron and steel castings to a range of industrial and mining customers in New Zealand and overseas.

"It's the good people and their dedication and their skills that have put us in a position to be able to take advantage of this opportunity ...

"It offers us the chance to build on the good work of our current team in Dunedin and grow our manufacturing capability and capacity, leading to local and export growth opportunities and, in turn, increased job numbers and security," he said.

Bradken expected to complete its agreement with KiwiRail early next year.

It would work closely with KiwiRail through the transition period and meet KiwiRail's ongoing cast rail component requirements.

He was unable to say when the company would move its whole operation to Hillside.

Bradken was pleased to be able to offer some work to Hillside staff and use their skills.

Internationally, Bradken employs more than 6000 people and has 34 manufacturing facilities. Almost all its New Zealand staff are based at the Dunedin foundry.



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