Annie’s is not ok: Kono shuts Blenheim fruit leather producer

by | Dec 15, 2022 | News

Food and beverage business Kono NZ, an associated business of Wakatū Incorporation, has today announced it will be closing its Blenheim-based business Annies at the end of February 2023.

Kono NZ Chief Operating Officer Andy Wotton said the closure of Annies, a well-loved local brand, was a difficult decision for the Board to take, but was part of a wider strategic reset to return to Kono NZ’s core purpose – operating sustainable, high-performing businesses that generate a strong financial return to owners.

He said Annies hadn’t met performance requirements over a number of years, and wasn’t sustainable long term.

“Kono NZ purchased Annies in 2014 after it had gone into voluntary receivership. Despite our very best efforts to rebuild the business over the last seven or eight years, Annies has, with the exception of a couple of outlier results, operated at a loss. As a business we need to be able to adapt and, though hard, the decision to close Annies is right, rather than continuing to operate unsustainably into the future.”

Annies employs 39 people within the Marlborough region. Mr Wotton said Kono NZ hoped to offer staff redeployment options within the Kono business as an alternative to redundancy and was actively exploring opportunities.

“Manaakitanga is central to how we operate and this process will be managed as carefully and thoughtfully as possible. We will work closely with our affected people over the coming weeks to explore every opportunity available.”

Annies last day of production is expected to be 24 February 2023, with its lease ending at the end of April 2023. It is expected that normal business operations will continue until then and all open sales orders will be fulfilled.

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