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Kerry Group denies revamp threat to jobs

KERRY Group has told staff of plans to "streamline" operations across its food division, but the plc last night denied the move meant imminent job losses.

The news comes days after Kerry announced plans to cut 36 jobs at its Rye Valley Foods plant in Co Monaghan, triggering rumours of further cuts.

Kerry's spokesman last night confirmed there had been recent communication with workers across the food division about "restructuring" but stressed that the exercise was focused on "growth" rather than cutbacks.

"We've had a number of acquisitions in recent years, what we're trying to do now is streamline things, make everything more customer-focused," he said.

"There'll be efficiencies but the focus is growth, with the new structure we'll seek to identify opportunities across the different businesses and there will be further opportunities for specialisation."

The new approach will see Kerry Foods divided into four distinct commercial units -- Brands Great Britain, Brands Ireland, Customer Branded Great Britain and Food Services, as well as three operational units -- Meats & Savoury, Dairy, and Chilled & Frozen Meal Solutions.

The spokesman said the restructuring was expected to be completed by 2011.

The move to target growth in Kerry Food comes after the group's results for the first 10 months of 2009 showed a 0.8pc fall in consumer sales, in contrast to a 3pc rise in sales at Kerry's ingredients business.

Overall, the group posted a 1.5pc increase in overall volumes and has been guiding the market to earnings per share at the "upper end" of the 160c to 165c when it posts full-year results on February 23.

Irish Independent