Goodman Fielder to invest in selected sites and close others across Australia for "more sustainable business"

Goodman Fielder to invest in selected sites and close others across Australia for "more sustainable business"

Australia-based food group Goodman Fielder has announced a shake-up of its baking business across the country, which is expected to lead to more than 200 redundancies.

The company, owned by Singapore agri-food giant Wilmar International, said yesterday (17 January) the planned changes across its operations in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are part of a strategy "to optimise its network to compete effectively across Australia".

Goodman Fielder CEO Scott Weitemeyer said the company plans "to invest in selected sites, relocate and close others to build a more sustainable business".

Weitemeyer said: "Today's announcements continue Goodman Fielder's investment commitment across all of its markets with over AUD650m (US$491m) being planned between 2016-2019, of which approximately AUD200m will be in Australia."

Goodman Fielder Australia MD Julie Coates said planned new investments "will strengthen our baking business, providing a more competitive and sustainable platform for the future". "We understand the impact these announcements have on our people and our immediate priority is to ensure that they are supported through this process."

In Perth, Goodman Fielder has entered into a commercial supply agreement with a third party for the manufacture of its products and brands for Western Australia As a result, the company said it anticipates it will stop manufacturing at its Malaga bakery on 1 May with the loss of around 75 jobs. However, the firm said customers and consumers across Western Australia "will continue to receive daily fresh deliveries of all Goodman Fielder products with the same level of focus and commitment as today".

In Queensland, Goodman Fielder said it has started talks with employees about proposals to relocate production from its Carina bakery to its Burleigh Heads facility and relocate production of garlic bread from its Hemmant site to its Moorebank bakery in New South Wales. "Should these proposals be implemented, it is expected that the Carina and Hemmant bakeries would cease manufacturing through the second half of 2017 with approximately 140 production roles in total being made redundant."

Consolidating garlic bread production would also mean transferring the firm's Erskine Park garlic bread manufacturing to Moorebank. However, Goodman Fielder said it anticipates creating more than 60 jobs at the Burleigh Heads, Moorebank and Canberra facilities as it "further invests to accommodate increased production capacity at these sites".

The announcement follows Goodman Fielder's decision last May to shut a bakery in Tamworth, New South Wales and move production to plants in the cities of Canberra and Sydney.