The manufacturer of Huggies nappies, Andrex toilet paper and Kleenex tissues has refused to rule out job losses among its UK workforce as it seeks to cut up to 5,500 roles worldwide.
Texas-based Kimberly Clark, which employs around 1,600 staff in this country, said the job losses – up to 13% of its global workforce – were part of a massive cost-saving programme across all its operations.
The company said it had earmarked 10 manufacturing sites for closure under the shake-up, aimed at making additional annual savings of up to $550m – almost £400m – by 2021.
It did not identify the locations affected in the announcement – released alongside its annual results for 2017, which showed, the company said, pressure on profits from stiff competition and growing costs.
Image: Kimberly-Clark’s personal care brands include Kleenex, Andrex and Huggies
Operating profits were 1% down to $3.3bn despite sales growing by $100m to $18.3bn.
The personal care firm has three UK manufacturing sites in Barrow-in-Furness, Flint and Northfleet, as well as offices in Reigate, West Malling and Brighton.
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Chairman and chief executive Thomas Falk said: “This is the biggest restructuring we have undertaken since theintroduction of our global business plan in 2003, and it will make our company leaner, stronger and faster.
“The changes we are making will improve our underlying profitability, provide more flexibility to invest in growth opportunities and help us compete even more effectively.”