Holcim New Zealand is moving ahead with plans to exit manufacturing in New Zealand and chief executive Jeremy Smith is losing his job with the business to be run from Australia in future.
The company’s Westport cement plant will close by the second half of 2016 when new import facilities at Waitemata in Auckland and Timaru are fully operational.
Plans for a new cement manufacturing plant at Weston in North Otago remain on hold but the company is keeping the assets so it has the option of “eventually building a new cement plant”.
Cement for the rebuilding of Christchurch will be imported through Timaru’s port.
The company is also trying to sell its lime operations in New Zealand, which it no longer regards as core business.
The company announced in August 2013 that imported cement would replace local production at Westport.
“The company now has all the final approvals to go ahead with its investment of more than $NZ100 million ($A93.10 million) to build two 30,000 tonne import terminals, one in Timaru and one in Auckland,” Mr Smith said.
Construction will start at PrimePort Timaru during August and work will start in Auckland in December. Each site will employ 50 people during construction and six operating staff.
“This confirmation of start dates can be taken as a sign of the global company’s confidence in the strength of the New Zealand market and, in particular, opportunities with the rebuild of Christchurch post-earthquake,” Mr Smith said.
The reduced scale of the New Zealand business means it will need fewer managers.
“The decision has been taken that it would be logical to now combine the New Zealand and Australian operations,” Mr Smith said.
His position will go at the end of 2014 but he will remain with the company into 2015 to help with the handover.