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FrieslandCampina to Restructure Dutch Cheese Production

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FrieslandCampina to Restructure Dutch Cheese Production

FrieslandCampina to Restructure Dutch Cheese Production
November 25
13:06 2010

Dutch dairy multinational Koninklijke FrieslandCampina plans to invest Eur47m to improve efficiency at its cheese plants in Workum, Marum, Balkbrug, Gerkesklooster and Leerdam. However, the cheese plants at Varsseveld and Leerbroek will be closed, and the number of staff at the plants Marum and Gerkesklooster will be reduced.

All sites are located in the Netherlands. These measures will result in the loss of a total of 159 jobs and create a further 52 new positions.

“The purpose of these measures is to further strengthen our international competitive position in cheese. Cost reductions through economies of scale and efficiency improvements are an essential part of our strategy route2020,” says Piet Hilarides, chief operating officer, cheese & butter at Royal FrieslandCampina. “Regrettably, this will have consequences for a number of employees. We will do our utmost to help those affected to find new positions, either within FrieslandCampina or elsewhere.”

The executive board of FrieslandCampina plans to close its cheese production plant at Varsseveld during the fourth quarter of 2012. This will result in the loss of 65 jobs. The Varsseveld plant produces the round Gouda cheese, the Gouda cheese block and Edam loaf cheeses. The total production volume is approximately 34,000 tonnes of cheese. Demand for these types of cheese is falling. At the same time, demand for Gouda cheese in the Euroblock format is growing.

FrieslandCampina will therefore invest Eur31m to expand production capacity at its production plant in Workum. This will boost total production capacity at the plant from 65,000 to 115,000 tonnes of cheese, making it one of the world’s biggest cheese plants. The number of employees at Workum will increase by 21 to a total of 136. The expansion must be completed by the third quarter of 2012.

Within FrieslandCampina, there is overcapacity in the ripening and packaging of small format Gouda cheese. In mid-2011, the executive board plans to close the cheese ripening and packaging plant at Leerbroek. This will involve the loss of all 24 jobs. The cheese ripening activities will be relocated to Gerkesklooster and the cheese packaging activities will move to Leerdam.

In 2011, Eur12m will be invested in the automation of production and ripening of Edam cheese at the production plant in Marum. This will reduce the number of staff from 66 to 23. Also during 2011, Eur3.8m will be invested in expanding production capacity at the cheese production plant in Balkbrug by 9,000 tonnes, giving a total of 57,000 tonnes.

In December 2009, FrieslandCampina announced its intention to close six locations (Elsterwerda and Kalkar in Germany, Tilburg, Dronrijp (Cheese) and Drachten in the Netherlands and Klerken in Belgium) in 2011 and 2012. The closures will result in the loss of 624 jobs.

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