Magnum’s Owner to Downsize Workforce and Separate Ice Cream Division – BBC News

Magnum’s Owner to Downsize Workforce and Separate Ice Cream Division – BBC News

Image source, Steve Russell

Image caption,

A rainy summer in Europe meant sales of ice cream dropped

Marmite and Dove soap-owner Unilever is to cut about 7,500 jobs worldwide, as part of an extensive three-year cost-saving plan.

The group also said it would split off its ice cream business which includes the Wall’s, Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum brands.

The food and household goods giant said the spin-off will start immediately and should be completed by the end of 2025.

Unilever said the shake-up would help it to “do fewer things better”.

The job cuts, which Unilever said would mostly affect office staff, represent more than 5% of its 128,000 global workforce and are aimed at saving around €800m (£684m) over the next three years.

Unilever employs 6,000 staff in the UK including producing ice cream in north-east Gloucestershire, Marmite and Bovril in Burton-on-Trent and Pot Noodles in Newport.

The ice cream division, whose other brands include Viennetta, Carte d’Or, Cornetto and Breyers, achieved global sales of €7.9bn (£6.75bn) last year.

However, Unilever said the business had less in common with its other consumer product lines because it needed a frozen goods supply chain and was more seasonal.

“The separation of ice cream and the delivery of the productivity programme will help create a simpler, more focused, and higher performing Unilever,” said the company’s chairman Ian Meakins.

“It will also create a world-leading ice cream business, with strong growth prospects and an exciting future as a standalone business.”

Shares in Unilever rose 5% following the announcement.

Matt Britzman at Hargreaves Lansdown said the move was “not a huge shock” as the ice cream unit had been underperforming.

The unit is most likely to be shed in a demerger, which would mean current shareholders receiving shares in a newly listed entity. However the group said it was not ruling out other options, such as a direct sale of the business.

“It doesn’t sound like there’s a buyer lined up so it looks like a demerger will be the choice,” said Mr Britzman. “Investors can then decide whether they want to keep the new ice cream business or sell into the market.”

Source Reference

Latest stories