Unilever's restructuring proposals put 800 jobs at risk in the UK

14 June 2012 16:19  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever have put 800 jobs in the UK at risk after announcing on Thursday new restructuring proposals to stay competitive "against a backdrop of very tough economic conditions in Europe".

Unilever, a major end-user of the chemical industry, has proposed to invest over £40m ($63m, €50m) in Port Sunlight, in the northwest of England, to improve its long-term competitive growth and create around 150 new jobs.

However, the move would result in the closure, by the end of 2013, of manufacturing and distribution sites in Swansea and Bridgend in Wales, and a factory in Slough in England. It would also involve the relocation of some 400 roles.

The company said in total, the proposed changes could result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK, adding that there would also be potentially the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles.

“Like many companies today, Unilever faces the challenge of creating growth opportunities against a backdrop of very tough economic conditions in Europe,” said Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland.

“While Unilever is growing well in the UK and globally, it will always be necessary to make changes which raise our game and ensure our continued success. We believe these proposals would substantially strengthen our platform for long-term growth and competitiveness,” Sourry added.

Reviews of the proposals are expected to be concluded in the Autumn of 2012, Unilever said.

In April, Unilever announced that first-quarter sales grew by 12% year on year to €12.1bn ($15.9bn), driven by positive volume growth across all its business units.

($1 = £0.64, €1 = £0.80)

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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