Heinz reviews smaller brands putting 7,000 jobs under threat
LONDON – Heinz is considering a sell off some of its smaller brands, including WeightWatchers frozen foods and the John West brand, to focus on its larger brands as part of a review that could result in up to 7,000 job losses.
The businesses under review include the European frozen business in the UK, France and the Nordics and the European seafood business, including the John West brand.
Heinz is looking to focus on three core product categories: ketchup, condiments and sauces; infant nutrition and quick serve meals, which includes baked beans; and soups and pasta.
The reivew by Heinz follows similar movies by rivals, such as Unilever, which committed itself to focus on a core group of brands and offloading others.
The Heinz businesses that form part of the review have combined sales of $1bn (£549m), accounting for almost one-third of Heinz's total sales of $3.3bn in Europe.
Joe Jimenez, Heinz Europe's president and CEO, said: "The businesses under review are successful, but they do not fit into our long-range vision of becoming a faster-growing, more focused company."
The process is expected to take up to nine months to complete. Heinz is also launching a new organisation structure to run each of its business units in Europe as an individual operating company reporting to Heinz's US headquarters in Pittsburgh.
If the move goes ahead it could affect 7,000 staff at 11 sites in Europe, including 4,500 at the company's seafood operations, 2,000 of which are in the UK.
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