Heinz faces uncertain future

HJ Heinz Co Ltd, Kitt Green
HJ Heinz Co Ltd, Kitt Green
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THE future of Wigan’s biggest private sector employer was thrown into doubt after another of the firm’s sites shed 45 jobs.

Heinz, which employs hundreds of staff at its Kitt Green site, has said production and management jobs in Kendal, that makes some of the infant milk intended for China, will be moved to New Zealand.

The firm currently employs 170 people in Cumbria.

It said it regretted the decision and that the site will focus on producing goods for the Europe and UK market

In February this year, Heinz was the source of the biggest takeover deal in food manufacturing history when it was bought by American tycoon businessman Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group for a staggering $28bn (£18bn).

In a statement, Heinz called the deal “historic”, and the largest ever in the food industry.

The takeover has been approved by the company’s board but still needs to be voted on by shareholders.

“The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders, ” said Heinz chairman, president and chief executive William Johnson.

Speaking at a press conference at the Heinz headquarters in Pittsburgh, USA, Mr Johnson said it was too early to say what the future of the company would hold, both in the United States and elsewhere.

He said: “It is too early to say if any cost-cutting measures will be implemented and where they would be in the company. The investment shows that we aim to grow the brand globally.

“We are already in the top brand share positions in more than 50 countries and we have seen growth in the past 30 consecutive quarters, which given the current economic climate shows how strong this company is.”