Unilever To Cut 20,000 Jobs Worldwide Over Next 4 Years

Will close or streamline 50-60 manufacturing sites

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch maker of consumer goods and food products, announced Aug. 2 that it would cut 20,000 jobs worldwide, 11% of its total workforce, over the next four years.

"Our current plans allow for the closure or substantial streamlining of between 50 and 60 manufacturing sites across the world," Unilever chairman Patrick Cescau said. "We expect the total program, including disposals, to reduce headcount by around 20,000 over the next four years. The majority of restructuring falls in Europe, where structural costs are highest and where regional supply chain management offers the greatest opportunity."

Earlier on Aug. 2 Unilever reported a healthy rise in second quarter net profits and predicted annual sales growth. The group beat analysts' expectations and posted a 16% net earnings increase in the second quarter to 1.207 billion euros (US $1.649 billion).

Unilever makes Dove soaps, Lipton tea and Magnum ice cream among other consumer goods and food products.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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