Dairy Company FrieslandCampina, in line with its route2020 strategy, has invested about 600 million euros over the past three years to expand its production capacity in the Netherlands – particularly in nutrition for children and ingredients. This has led to an increase by more than 350 jobs since 2011. Now, in order to meet its growth objectives and improve efficiency within Europe, where the market is under pressure, FrieslandCampina intends to restructure the Dutch production and distribution of fresh dairy products such as milk, yoghurts and desserts. The company will reduce the number of products and packaging types and will optimise the capacity utilisation rate of its plants by concentrating production capacity. As a result, the locations in Eindhoven and Woerden will be closed, which will lead to the loss of 174 jobs on balance. At the same time, FrieslandCampina will strengthen its brand positions by stepping the pace of innovation.
Cees ‘t Hart, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina: “We’re ahead of schedule in achieving our route2020 strategy, thanks to the favourable developments in Asia and the sales of ingredients for the food industry. We are investing heavily in this area. However, margins on several branded products are under pressure in a number of European countries due to lagging consumer spending. Improving efficiency and stepping up the pace of innovation for branded products are therefore key to our approach in Europe. We already initiated this process in Germany and Hungary earlier this year.”
The production of fresh dairy at the FrieslandCampina plant in Eindhoven, which employs 142 people, will be shifted to the FrieslandCampina plants in Rotterdam and Maasdam in mid-2015. Meanwhile, the fresh dairy distribution activities will be transferred from Woerden (58 people) to Maasdam in mid-2015. Fifteen production jobs and 18 distribution jobs will be lost in Maasdam in the course of 2015. Eight jobs will be lost in Limmen and Drachten, and five jobs in Rotterdam. At the same time, 72 jobs will be created at the distribution centre newly to be built in Maasdam.
Bas van den Berg, Managing Director of FrieslandCampina Branded Netherlands/Belgium: “We want to lower costs and at the same time investing in our brands for our home market in Europe. Unfortunately, this plan has consequences for a number of our employees. We see it as our responsibility to help them find new jobs within or outside FrieslandCampina.”
In response to changing consumer needs, FrieslandCampina will invest more in consumer brands by means of innovation, new production technologies, an automated distribution centre and innovative packagings.
Consequences for employees
The employees at the affected plants were informed about the plans on 31 October. The FrieslandCampina Redundancy Plan will apply to all permanent employees in The Netherlands. The company will do its utmost to find suitable jobs for the employees involved, within or outside FrieslandCampina. The representative bodies have been asked for advice and the trade unions have been informed.