Cadbury Schweppes, the UK-based confectioner and soft drinks manufacturerer, had some good news yesterday for employees in the Claremont region of Australia. The group is to invest A$25m (US$12.9m) upgrading two plants which make and wrap its famous chocolate brands.

Snapshot Report:

Cadbury Schweppes plc

The move will see old equipment replaced at two high-speed state-of-the-art chocolate-making production facilities, offering greater job security for some 900 employees and bringing to an end years of speculation the operations would be closed.

The news was less bright for employees at Cadbury’s Ringwood, Victoria, plant, which will lose a factory.

Mark Smith, managing director of Cadbury Schweppes Australia New Zealand, explained the decision in terms of existing production patterns. Claremont is the major production site for moulded chocolate – mostly blocks, and the growth lines which needed better facilities focused on moulded bars.

More moulded chocolate will be produced at the Claremont site following the upgrade, including Caramello Koalas and filled Freddos. The overhaul will lift production at the site by 10% and represents the largest single investment by Cadbury in Australia for seven years.

Cadbury’s 80-year-old Tasmanian operation is worth more than A$76m to the state economy each year, commented the Tasmanian Mercury newspaper. It operates a milk processing plant in Burnie that uses 13% of the state#;s milk production.

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