Nestlé said the closure will be staged progressively over a period of up to 18 months.
General manager Andrew McIver said, “People just don’t buy tinned milk like they used to, and cheaper imports have eroded our business further.
“At the same time, the equipment in this factory is old, and the investment we need to make sure it can operate reliably in the future means that the factory is no longer viable.”
Nestlé said it had invested to improve the viability of the factory by adding new product ranges, including producing Maggi culinary products since 2010, Nestlé Health Science medical nutrition products from 2012 and Milo Ready to Drink since 2017.
“These ranges have supported the factory, but as milk is the bulk of what the factory makes, the newer ranges aren’t enough to maintain manufacturing at the site,” McIver said.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, all production at the factory will progressively move, mostly to Nestlé factories overseas, with final closure anticipated between late 2020 and mid 2021.
“Today, our primary focus is on ensuring we do what we can to help each person prepare for their next step,” he said.
As well as redundancy packages, eligible employees will be offered support to find alternative work.
Following the closure, the site will be vacated and sold. Equipment currently at the site is either owned by Nestlé or leased, and as it will be relocated, will not be part of the sale.