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Unilever Norwich reflects wider company efforts, says analyst

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Unilever Norwich reflects wider company efforts, says analyst

June 30
10:44 2013

Proposed job cuts at Unilever’s factory in Norwich, reflect broader business strategy to focus on profitable areas, and similar future moves cannot be ruled out, according to analyst Clive Black.

Shore Capital analyst Black told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The business is constantly refining its organisation; expanding in growth opportunities, making more challenging units leaner and disposing of businesses where it does not believe that its capital is most effectively applied.

“Unilever UK’s food operations are a modest part of the group. We would imagine that management is keen to maintain & build share, engineer the proposition towards longer-term growth opportunities and sustain cost competitiveness.”

Important growth areas for the company in the future would be savoury and soup in developing and emerging markets, low growth spreads, ice cream and tea, he claimed.

Key things to watch

The effect of promotions and possible economic recovery would be key things to watch in terms of the company’s future progress, Black said. And he stressed that Unilever was a “highly profitable organisation”.

The company confirmed last week that up to 20 jobs could go at the dry mixing facility in Norwich.

Manufacturing union GMB is discussions with management to try to mitigate job losses during a 60-day consultation process.

GMB national officer Alan Black said the announcement of the operational review would be “greeted with dismay by their loyal and for the most part long serving workforce”.

‘Especially disappointing’

“It is especially disappointing in a part of the UK where manufacturing jobs are in short supply,” said GMB’s Black.

A spokeswoman for Unilever stressed that the operational review only concerned the company’s dry foods manufacturing unit and not condiments or Colman’s mustard manufacturing.”

“We will now work closely with our employees to look at the options, including how we can work in partnership with our sister factory in Germany, to improve our competitiveness and ensure a sustainable future for the site,” she said.

“In the face of tough economic times, consumers continue to adapt their shopping habits and lifestyles. In light of this, Unilever needs to ensure our supply chain is as efficient and cost-effective as possible so that we can continue to offer products that consumers love at affordable prices. ”

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