Over 50 jobs on the line in Nestlé New Zealand sell-off

epa01906094 FILES --- Logo of Nestle SA, the world's largest food company, at their headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, 24 November 1999. Swiss food giant Nestle said announced on 22 October 2009, it achieved organic growth of 3.6% and real internal of 1.0% in the first nine months of the year. Consensus market expectations were for organic growth of 3.5% and RIG of 0.9%. In the third quarter, Nestle reported sales of 79.5 billion Swiss francs (Euro 52.6 billion, $79.06 billion), or 3.8% organic growth. The company confirmed its full-year outlook, saying that volume-driven organic growth will further accelerate and the EBIT margin in constant currencies will improve for the full year.  EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON
Photo credit: AAP

Up to 55 jobs are on the line as Nestlé New Zealand announces it will sell parts of the company offshore. Phil Knight from New Zealand trade union E tū says people should support New Zealand businesses. 

"We're just saying to the New Zealand public [that] when you have a choice about where you spend your money and what you spend your money on, think about whether or not that service or product is one which is from New Zealand and employs New Zealanders," he told Newshub. 

Nestlé New Zealand workers are said to be angry at being caught off guard over the sale of part of the New Zealand business to a foreign firm. The confectionary giant says up to 55 employees could lose their jobs. 

"There is also the downstream consideration of when a business loses such a massive chunk of their production, what does that mean for the ongoing viability of the place," said Mr Knight. 

He says up to 20 percent of the workforce could lose their jobs. 

Nestlé New Zealand will sell Mackintosh's, Heards, Black Knight and Fabulicious Red liquorice, and is also considering selling Life Savers and Oddfellows to private equity firm Quadrant. 

The brands will still be manufactured in New Zealand but will move to Levin, according to reports. 

Martin Brown, general manager of Nestlé Confectionary, told TVNZ he regrets that Kiwis could lose their jobs. But the head of corporate affairs, Margaret Stuart, says Nestlé New Zealand wants to sell off its smaller brands to focus on bigger brands.