Fonterra to cut 300 jobs, slashing costs to invest in growth strategy
May 1 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, which imposed a hiring freeze in February, may eliminate up to 300 jobs as it seeks annual cost savings of $65 million a year, adding to $60 million of cost cutting already targeted for 2013.
The review of support services affects workers at Fonterra’s corporate offices in New Zealand. It didn’t quantify the potential restructuring costs. The May Day announcement marks the biggest layoff at the dairy giant since it cut workers in 2006 with the closure of manufacturing plants.
“While we are investing in growth, we have to make sure our people are working on the right things and that we are spending our precious capital on the right priorities,” chief executive Theo Spierings said in a statement. Jobs would be eliminated by centralising services, reducing duplication and stripping out layers of management, he said.
Spierings said 50 of the targeted jobs were already vacant following the hiring freeze in February. The company’s total workforce is about 17,000.
Units in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund rose 2.6 percent to a record $8.01.
Last week Fonterra announced a shakeup of its Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa (APMEA) unit with the departure of managing director Mark Wilson.
In March, Fonterra posted a 32 percent gain in first-half profit to $449 million and lifted its forecast payout to farmers to $5.80 per kilogram of milk solids from an earlier forecast of $5.50. At the same time, it flagged plans to slash the number of consumer brands in Australia in the face of intense competition for milk supply and retail sales. Earnings at the ANZ unit fell 32 percent.