Coca-cola Amatil Thebarthon facility closure to leave 180 employees jobless

By @mik_mapa on
Coca-Cola
Bottles of Coca-Cola are displayed in a shop in Paris, France, April 11, 2016. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

Coca-cola Amatil announced on Wednesday that it would close its Thebarton facility in South Australia. The closure of the facility would leave 180 employees and contractors jobless. Alison Watkins, managing director, said that if feasible, some permanent employees would be redeployed to other positions.

Watkins said that the company would provide each employee an assistance in finding new positions. The company would also provide personal support and financial counselling. Although the manufacturing facility would be closed, the Statewide Recycling teams, warehousing, distribution, equipment servicing and existing sales team in the state were not affected by the changes.

“I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge our committed and hard working manufacturing team in South Australia. I know today’s announcement will be difficult for the team, many of whom have been part of Coca-Cola Amatil for many years. They are our priority as we work through this transition,” Watkins said. She said that the decision was not taken lightly but the company's position in the market for the coming years was considered.

She said that the announcement was the result of a detailed review identifying the improvements needed by the company. The improvement included the closure of the South Australia manufacturing operations in 2019 and the increased production in Western Australia and Queensland.

“As an outcome of the review, we will make a $90 million investment at Richlands in Queensland. The review found that further development of our facility at Thebarton in South Australia was constrained by its CBD location, site layout, dated infrastructure and expensive logistics," Watkins said in a statement.

The modernisation of the company will be implemented in the Richlands facility. The company will add a new glass production line and new dairy and juice production capacity. Watkins said that the $90 million investment will include automated warehouse with greater capacity, truck movements and comparatively lower operating costs and reduced materials handling. The $90 million investment was in addition to the $75 million investment in Richlands.

Thebarton facility closure would help Coca-Cola Amatil to deliver $20 million cost savings from 2020. Barry O'Connell, division managing director in Australia, said that the closure was not based on power prices and payroll tax in the state. "This is much more about our Australian footprint, it is about a strategic decision and investment over the next five to 10 years and sure it has an impact on it but it was by far down the scale when we look at the overall decision," he said.