9 May 2016

Silver Fern Farms may close Islington plant

8:49 pm on 9 May 2016

Silver Fern Farms is proposing closing its Islington venison processing plant in Christchurch and building a new venison processing plant at its Pareora site in South Canterbury.

Silver Fern Farms logo

Photo: Silver Fern Farms

Chief executive Dean Hamilton said the proposal was a result of the pending expiry of its lease and change in surrounding land use.

The company is consulting with the 54 staff at its Islington plant on options for closing the site, he said.

"Islington is the only one of our 19 plants around the country that occupies a leased site. Over the past year and a half the site around us has been re-developed into a commercial business park, which is good for the area, however, it's not going to be suitable for our specific processing operations going forward.

"Given the circumstances, we plan to close the site and are consulting with the 54 Islington staff and their union to discuss the proposal and transfer options within the company."

The company was working with staff and the union, he said.

"Pareora is the obvious site. It is central to many of our deer farmers. We own the land and therefore provides long-term certainty. We can take advantage of existing assets and services already on site such as our cold chain.

"It is an opportunity for us to invest in a modern venison plant and we have the ability to continue to expand our operations on that site in the future."

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