Carter Holt swings axe on senior staff
By Duncan Bridgeman
High-level redundancies are expected at Carter Holt Harvey amid a major restructure of its corporate operations.
A company spokeswoman yesterday reluctantly confirmed a "change process" was under way but would not give further details.
"Our priority has to be on communicating with our employees at the moment."
It is understood all corporate centre functions are under review, including finance, human resources and shared services such as IT and management development. The restructure would have no impact on staff outside the company's head office.
The spokeswoman said the restructure was designed to improve the efficiency of the centre and how it interacted with the overall business.
It is yet another shake-up for Carter Holt Harvey, one of the country's largest employers.
In 2001, then chief executive Chris Liddell raised eyebrows with his plan to split the company into 32 smaller, more focused business units. The company created a special entrepreneurial division, known as CHH Ventures, to create ideas for new businesses.
Since then the company has radically changed its business, selling off its tissue business and large tracts of forests to concentrate on wood-fibre processing and marketing.
Analysts said the latest restructure came as no major surprise after the sale of the tissue business. "They are very cost conscious but whether it's more than just paring back fixed costs, I don't know," one said.
Last year the company was forced to close its loss-making Tokoroa Sawmill with the loss of more than 100 jobs.
In 2002, it made nearly 400 employees redundant from its Kinleith pulp and paper mill.
The latest restructure comes as the company applies for clearance from the Commerce Commission to buy Tenon's sawmills, valued at between $123-144 million by Grant Samuel in May.
Carter Holt had indicated it was interested in the assets but has not said anything about the sale process.
Final bids for the assets are expected early next month, with four private equity firms and three trade buyers rumoured to be in the process.
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