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Job losses likely at Westland

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By Jim Cornall+

01-Feb-2017

Westland CEO Toni Brendish said that Westland is conducting a further review of staff roles to increase efficiency and reduce cost throughout the group.
Westland CEO Toni Brendish said that Westland is conducting a further review of staff roles to increase efficiency and reduce cost throughout the group.

New Zealand cooperative Westland Milk Products has announced it is conducting a further review of staff roles throughout Westland Group (Westland Milk Products, Westland Shanghai and EasiYo).

The company says the move is likely to mean job losses, but chief executive Toni Brandish wouldn’t speculate on how many, where, and what positions would be affected.

The same day the announcement was made, director Sven Koops resigned from the board, citing personal reasons.

Need increase for shareholders

Westland said that its review, which is scheduled for completion by the end of February, is part of an overall program to increase efficiencies and reduce costs to help restore the company to an industry competitive position and provide shareholders with sustainable returns.

Brendish said while current payout predictions are higher than for the last two seasons, they are still not where shareholders need them to be.

She added that Westland Group has the capital investment, technical expertise, products and resources to recover from last year’s loss, but the current structure, including staff roles, is not set up to deliver the desired results.

Increased payout

In December, Westland raised its total operating surplus (payout) prediction for the 2016-17 season to between NZ$5.50 to NZ$5.90 (US$4.00-4.30) per kilo of milk solids (kgMS), which the company estimated would produce a net return to shareholders (after retained earnings) of NZ$5.30 to NZ$5.70 (US$3.86-4.15) per kgMS.

The previous estimate was a net range (after retained earnings) of NZ$4.55 to NZ$4.95 (US$3.31-3.61) per kgMS.

At the time of the announcement, Brendish said the increase was due to increasing global dairy prices, and savings from improvements to the efficiency of production and quality assurance processes.

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