Cigarette manufacturer Imperial Tobacco has announced a proposal to close its Petone Factory, putting 122 jobs at risk.

The factory and its employees will now enter a consultation process.

Kirsten Daggar-Nickson, head of corporate and legal affairs for Imperial Brands, said consumer demand was the reason for the proposal to close the Petone factory.

"Globally consumer demand for our product has declined, so the proposal to close our Petone cigarette factory is necessary for the future of our business.

Advertisement

"In markets like New Zealand, that future is next generation products. So we're transitioning our business, product line and distribution channels to offer these products to smokers that want to transition to a healthier alternative, and we successfully launched an electronic cigarette MyBlu in the New Zealand market last year.

"Every outcome for each employee will be personalised and there will be a range of different options available to them."

Daggar-Nickson said people will be on site from tomorrow to discuss those options with staff, whether that was preparing staff for a job outside Imperial or for another role within the company.

"[Our employees] are hard-working members of our family and we are focused on making sure that we make this transition as easy as possible on them."

Daggar-Nickson said the consultation period would likely last a "number of weeks" into early February, but possibly beyond.