In response to media inquiries FIRST Union can confirm that members at Bestwood, a division of Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts, have been advised of a proposal by Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) to sell the division to New Zealand Panel Group.
The sale could see the closure of the Wiri and Rangiora production facilities with a loss of approximately 40 jobs. The proposal would see only the Kopu site retain production with around 10 workers remaining.
CHH has entered into a consultation period with its employees and their unions until Friday 8 May 2015. FIRST Union represents most of the employees.
“The job losses are a tragedy for the workers, many of whom are long serving CHH employees. FIRST Union has a good redundancy agreement with CHH which will help reduce the impact of the job losses if they occur” says FIRST Union General Secretary Reid.
“It is also a tragedy that New Zealand is losing even more capacity in value-added wood production”.
“We know that the Rank Group is trying to divest itself of its CHH operations but it seems counterintuitive that, while housing demand remains high, two panel manufacturing sites are being closed”.
“We are also interested in whether the Commerce Commission has approved this take-over” says Reid.
New Zealand Panel Group is owned by Prime Panels and a number of private equity funds. There is media speculation as to how Rank Group may divest itself of the remaining divisions of CHH that they still retain.