Fears for jobs with Danone move
Published 20/02/2013 | 04:00
FEARS have been raised for staff at Danone's Irish business, after the food giant said it would cut nearly 1,000 jobs in Europe.
The French company, which employs several hundred staff at sites in Dublin, Wexford and Macroom, Co Cork, made the announcement after the group said its profitability shrank in 2012 because of a weak consumer market in southern Europe.
Danone predicted that its group operating profit margin would drop by between 30 and 50 basis points this year, having fallen 50 basis points to 14.18pc in 2012.
Last year sales rose 5.4pc to €20.9bn.
The world's largest yoghurt maker is more exposed to the eurozone debt crisis than rivals Nestle and Unilever and is under pressure from US activist shareholder Nelson Peltz to improve performance.
Chief executive Franck Riboud asked shareholders to give him more time to revive Danone's dairy division, its slowest-growing business that accounts for nearly half of group profit. "We are doing our job. We are industrialists and only industrialists," he said.
The company said it would focus on product innovation and renewal to justify the brand premium its dairy products such as Activia and Actimel yoghurt has over private labels.