Finnish dairy Valio cuts 326 jobs to adjust to 'current operating environment'

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Valio has recently been hit by a series of setbacks, including the Russian ban on Western food imports.
Valio has recently been hit by a series of setbacks, including the Russian ban on Western food imports.

Related tags: European union, Milk

Finnish dairy giant Valio has reduced its workforce in the country by 326 to "adjust its costs to correspond to the current operating environment."

Following a period of consultation, Helsinki-based Valio has decided to lay off 182 permanent employees. Another 74 fixed-term workers have not had their contracts renewed, 45 have retired, and 38 were removed "for other reasons."

Valio announced plans to reduce its 3,500-strong Finnish workforce by up to 320 in early April.

On April 22, it launched a consultation concerning around 2,900 Valio employees across 13 production and logistics sites and at its head office. 

"Valio has to adjust its costs to correspond to the current operating environment as well as to change that have taken place in production types and volumes," ​Valio said late last week.

"Valio aims to achieve a more efficient use of its capacity and more productive methods of operation through the reorganisation of production and logistics,"​ it added.

Over the last year, the company - Finland's largest dairy - has been hit by a series of setbacks.

In July 2014, the Finnish Market Court rejected Valio's appeal against a €70m penalty issued by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) for abusing its dominant position in the country's fresh milk market.

Its share of the Finnish fresh milk market has since fallen to less than 30%.

The following month, in August 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev introduced a one year ban on the import of agricultural products, including milk and dairy products, from the European Union (EU), United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

Valio claims it was "hit by far the hardest of all companies in Finland by Russia's import restrictions."

Finnish Valio products, including FIN butter, Eila lactose-free products, and Oltermanni cheese, remain "temporarily unavailable"​ in Russia, according to Valio's Russian website.

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