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Mondelez extracted $130m before leaving NZ

NZN 4/05/2017 Paul McBeth

Mondelez New Zealand Investments pulled out $130 million of dividends from its New Zealand business, more than twice the profits its generated is six years of ownership, before going ahead with shutting down the Cadbury factory in Dunedin.

The local unit of the US food group shipped $25 million to its parent in calendar 2016, when it reported a profit of $7.6 million, down from $9.2m a year earlier, financial statements lodged with the Companies Office show.

The New Zealand entity increased revenue 3.8 per cent to $302.5m, although a higher cost of goods squeezed gross margins to 18.4 per cent from 20.3 per cent a year earlier.

The latest dividend adds to $105m in dividends paid in previous years.

Earlier this year, Mondelez announced plans to close the Dunedin factory, laying off 350 staff in the process, and shifting manufacturing to Australia.

Kraft bought the factory in 2010 as part of an 11.9 billion pound takeover of the global Cadbury group, of which the New Zealand assets were worth some $200 million.

Kraft later spun out its global snacks business and renamed it Mondelez.

In the first year of owning it, Mondelez injected about $80m of new capital into the New Zealand entity.

Since then, Mondelez's New Zealand operations have become closer to the global group, with almost 31 per cent of its sales in 2016 going to related parties, up from just 21 per cent in 2011, and generating profits totalling $47.4m, almost a third of what's been paid out in dividends.

That left the holding company with equity of $6.4m as at December 31.

Mondelez expects to close the Dunedin site and sell the property next year.

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