Dunedin man starts campaign to save Cadbury's NZ chocolates

NZ 08/06/2017

A Dunedin man has taken it upon himself to save part of Dunedin's Cadbury factory.

Jim O'Malley plans to run a public multi-million dollar share offer where people or businesses can buy shares in Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings, which will keep producing some of New Zealand's most iconic treats such as Jaffas and Pineapple Lumps.

The plan needs an estimated $20 million behind it to keep the chocolate flowing.

"It became apparent as we were talking to Mondelez [which owns Cadbury] that no one from Dunedin was going to be stepping forward to do the manufacturing in Dunedin," he says.

"If nobody stepped up [then] they could be leaving Dunedin."

That's when Mr O'Malley approached Mondelez and put the proposition on the table.

"Knowing that we have quite a tight timeline we realised that we couldn't really go [and] raise the money unless there was going to be a strong interest [from the public] in doing so," he says.

"[The public can] pledge that if we do go through an equity investment float, how much money would you put up for it?"

Mondelez has given him two weeks to gauge interest.

The $20 million plan is expected to be enough to buy the equipment needed to make the chocolate and buy a part of the factory where production could take place.

"In the first phase we would be bidding to do the manufacturing of the Mondelez-owned products for them [such as Jaffas and Pineapple Lumps]."

Mr O'Malley says that would then open up the possibility of expanding the line with their own products and establishishing a new industrial chocolate manufacturing company in Dunedin.

He estimates only 25 jobs would be created during the first stage but expects the staff level to rise to as many as 65 when production is in full swing.

Anyone can pledge their interest on the website ownthefactory.co.nz.

More than $70,000 has been pledged so far.