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Royal Wessanen to cut 300 jobs

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 29-Nov-2012

The company says it aims to strengthen its position in Benelux
The company says it aims to strengthen its position in Benelux

Netherlands-based food company Royal Wessanen has said it will cut about 300 jobs in Europe as part of a cost reduction and restructuring programme, as it aims to adapt to the continued weak economy.

The company first announced its intention to restructure its European and Frozen Foods business in July, and expects to complete the overhaul during 2013 with cost savings of €15m a year from 2014. One-off costs are expected to be about €24m, with €15m to have a cash effect over the next year, the company said.

“I am fully aware of the consequences this announcement will have for many of our colleagues and I am grateful for their considerable contributions in building our businesses,” CEO Piet Hein Merckens said in a statement. “The current performance and changed size of business however require us to take action to strengthen our position in the longer term interests of our stakeholders."

The company said it expects about 190 of the full time equivalent positions to be cut from its core Wessanen Europe business, with savings of about €10m a year from 2014, and initial costs of about €10m.

The company said it would also combine its Beckers and Favory Frozen Foods units, in an effort to strengthen its market position in Benelux and to “better cope with the challenging environment.”

Under the plan, the company said it would close its Favory snacks plant in Deurne in March 2013, with 110 job losses, and expected savings of €5m a year from the second half of 2013.

Merckens added: "We are initiating a wide range of actions to increase focus, substantially reduce complexity and simplify and standardise processes. In addition, we are also addressing low-yielding and non-performing activities.”

Royal Wessanen said in 2009 that it would exit all of its North American businesses, to concentrate on its European natural, organic and specialty food products.