AUSTRALIA'S biggest honey packer, Capilano, has reopened its Maryborough plant, after a recent fire at its Brisbane factory.
Capilano chief executive Ben McKee said damage estimated at $7 million was caused by the fire six weeks ago. It started in a honey storage and utility shed, separate from the main factory.
The ASX-listed Capilano, which achieved a net profit of $2.5 million from $67 million of revenue last financial year, has moved to centralise packing operations in Queensland during the past decade. At its peak, it had 46 staff in Maryborough, but the plant was wound down in three stages and closed in January.
The Queensland factory was upgraded with new European packaging equipment and, during winter, Capilano ran the packing line in 24-hour shifts. The fire damaged a room where Capilano maintained honey stores at a temperature to keep it liquid, ready for packing.
Dr McKee said the fire spread into the polystyrene panels lining the walls of the shed and the roof also would have to be replaced - expected to take 12 months. He said the company was insured and there was little disruption to its honey packing.
Capilano was reactivating the hotroom facilities at Maryborough to liquefy honey before it was trucked to Queensland.