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$2.5m pledged to save Cadbury factory

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/06/2017

A community-led bid to buy Dunedin's Cadbury factory is gathering steam as almost $2.5 million in pledges have flooded in.

The charge is being led by Dunedin councillor Jim O'Malley, who hopes to raise $20 million to buy part of the plant and its equipment where iconic Kiwi sweets Pineapple Lumps, Jaffas and Pinky Bars are made.

It comes after owner Mondelez International confirmed in March it will shut the factory in early 2018, ending 150 years of operation in the city and the jobs of about 300 staff.

Mr O'Malley began seeking pledges on Wednesday after asking Modelez for two weeks to determine whether there was interest from the public to buy the factory.

His website asks potential investors whether they are willing to contribute $50 or more and, in less than 48 hours, had already attracted pledges from more than 1800 "chocolate lovers".

The pledged money is non-committal, but if there they show there is enough interest, Mr O'Malley and his group of volunteers would move to create a publicly owned company and formally raise capital.

The aim is to keep workers employed at the factory and potentially use it to manufacture Mondelez products and chocolate.

Mr O'Malley told NZME the pledge results had been "pretty exciting" so far.

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