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NZ's Fonterra to cut 500 jobs, warns more redundancies to come

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New Zealand dairy exporter Fonterra is cutting more than 500 jobs, the company said, on Thursday with more redundancies in store as the farmer-owned co-operative struggles with an ongoing fall in global dairy prices.

[WELLINGTON] New Zealand dairy exporter Fonterra is cutting more than 500 jobs, the company said, on Thursday with more redundancies in store as the farmer-owned co-operative struggles with an ongoing fall in global dairy prices.

Job losses at the world's largest dairy processor come amid an ongoing tumble in global dairy prices, which sank to a 12 1/2-year low at the latest dairy auction on Wednesday. Prices have fallen more than 60 per cent since 2014, after soaring to record highs in 2013.

Fonterra said it would cut 523 jobs in operations including finance, information services and human resources, and would result in payroll savings of up to NZ$60 million (S$53.74 million) a year, following a one-off cost of up to NZ$15 million. "The key aims of the review are to ensure that the co-operative is best placed to successfully deliver its strategy, increase focus on generating cash flow, and implement specific, sustainable measures for enhancing efficiency," Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said in a statement.

Fonterra did not specify which regions were affected by the cuts, but the affected operations are mainly based in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.

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The co-op added that more cuts may be in store for roles including ingredients, consumer, marketing, research and development and other operations, adding that it would begin further consultations with staff on Aug. 5.

Having dominated the commodity milk powder sector for years, the co-op is aiming to deliver more food services and specialised ingredients in China, its biggest market, and in other emerging countries where it expects demand for dairy products to grow.

Fonterra's profits have been falling for nearly two years in the face of volatile dairy prices, which have slumped to their lowest level in nearly six years after soaring to record highs in 2014.

REUTERS

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