Cargill plans job cuts worldwide

Citing the global economic climate, agrifood giant Cargill has announced plans to cut about 1.5 per cent of its worldwide workforce, about 2,000 employees, over the next six months.

The job cuts are based on "recommendations from Cargill’s business units and functions as to how to best allocate resources, based on their specific situations," the Minneapolis-based company said Monday.

"They are not the outcome of any companywide percentage mandate or uniform across-the-board cut. Rather, the goal is to ensure the company is focusing its resources on those activities that add the most value for its customers."

The company didn’t say in Monday’s release exactly where the reductions are to be made. Spokesperson Lisa Clemens told the Reuters news agency Monday that "at this time, we do not have any breakdowns. We do know they will not be concentrated in any one city, country or region."

Cargill said in its release that the cuts "are in response to the continued weak global economy and are part of an overall effort to reduce expenses and simplify work processes."

"As economic conditions change, so must we," Mike Fernandez, corporate vice-president of Cargill’s corporate affairs department, said in Monday’s release. "These are difficult decisions but are necessary to better position the company for continued growth."

"Tough quarter"

Privately-held Cargill in October reported a substantial drop in earnings for its first quarter ending Aug. 31 at US$236 million, down from US$693 million in the year-earlier period. CEO Greg Page, in a release at the time, called it "a tough quarter."

Cargill this fall also shed its worldwide flavours business, which included production facilities on three continents and about 700 employees, in a sale to Irish flavour and ingredient processor Kerry Group.

Cargill, however, has not curtailed all spending; it boosted its presence in the animal feed business last month with a US$2.1 billion takeover of Dutch animal nutrition giant Provimi.

Provimi’s Canadian arm is based at St-Valerien-de-Milton, Que., about 80 km west of Sherbrooke, with a feed ingredient plant serving manufacturers and distributors in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

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