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Avoiding business closure of largest private employer in Eastern Bay of Plenty

Success story - Whakatāne Mill

Once a thriving producer of paper and packaging products in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, but no longer considered a priority by their main shareholder and struggling to remain competitive, the Whakatāne Mill (the Mill) was slated for closure. With over 150 mill workers facing an unknown future, and no potential buyer to be found after two years of hoping, planning began to unwind 80 years of history.

Wrapping up a valued regional business like the Mill requires a considered approach, balancing commercial needs with people and community impacts. Working together with key stakeholders and the wider community, our team helped to explain the reasons for the closure and provide a strong support network for those most greatly impacted.

Public announcement of the closure saw two potential buyers emerge, bringing a chance to rescue a key part of the New Zealand paper packaging community. The closure plan quickly changed to due diligence, sales negotiations and a transition plan, our team helping to secure the future of the Mill in a mere six weeks.

David Webb, Deloitte’s National Turnaround and Restructuring Lead and the Partner who led this engagement, described this as:

One of the highlights of a 25+ year career. The opportunity to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, including employees, unions and government, to achieve an outcome that benefits provincial New Zealand was very rewarding

Now, set for expansion from 2023, this historic New Zealand business will continue forward as one of the leading regional employers.

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