The prospective purchaser of the Tongala Nestlé factory wants to install a spray dryer to manufacture infant formula powder on the site.
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One of the Manning Valley Fresh products.

Tongala’s citizens were startled to get good news and bad news in the same week for the town, when they were told a large number of jobs had been lost at the Tongala HW Greenham factory and then news that a buyer had been found for the ill-fated Nestlé property.

NSW company Manning Valley Fresh is negotiating for the purchase of the dairy factory.

Company founder and owner Steven Elvidge said he was conducting due diligence checks and hoped to have a deal reached soon.

But the timing, he said, would depend on how negotiations went with the multinational owner.

Nestlé announced in 2019 it was intending to close the factory within 18 months, and the following year decided to extend its life to early 2021.

The site has largely produced tinned milk products, but in recent years Nestlé has added new product ranges.

This has included producing Maggi culinary products since 2010, Nestlé Health Science medical nutrition products from 2012 and Milo Ready to Drink since 2017.

Manning Valley Fresh produces butter, cheese and cream products on contract.

Mr Elvidge said he had been looking to establish his own factory and the Tongala site was promising because of its location in a dairying area and its proximity to the border would allow him to bring down milk from NSW.

He said if successful in the purchase, he would invest in the site and would be looking to secure former employees to run the plant.

With a third of dairy farms seeking to fill vacancies ahead of calving season, Kiwis are being encouraged to give dairy farming a chance.

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