WELLINGTON (Reuters) - International food giant Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) said on Thursday it plans to shut its Dunedin Cadbury factory and shift production to neighbouring Australia, which takes most of New Zealand's chocolate output.
Staff were being consulted about plans to cut 250 jobs in the South Island town this year and another 100 in 2018, the company said in a statement.
It was cheaper to use existing capacity in Australian factories to produce chocolate, given about 70 percent of the Dunedin factory's output was shipped to Australia anyway.
"We're focused on becoming globally cost-competitive through increased production and investment in larger sites, while reducing costs," said Amanda Banfield, Mondelez vice-president for Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
About 130 New Zealand office staff in Cadbury's commercial and finance operations would be unaffected.
The eighty-year-old factory site would continue to host chocolate-themed tourist centre "Cadbury World".
Mondelez, a spin-off from Kraft Foods, in January announced it was selling iconic Australian spread Vegemite to Bega Cheese (BGA.AX) to focus on brands like Cadbury Dairy Milk, Oreo Biscuits and Philadelphia cream cheese.
Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Stephen Coates