Britain’s Imperial Tobacco Group is to cut around 2,440 jobs – 6% of its workforce – following its acquisition of Franco-Spanish tobacco group Altadis earlier this year. It will close six tobacco plants; two in France and one each in Spain, Britain, Germany and Slovakia.
The unions are likely to oppose the cuts, which French union representative Christian Grange blamed on Imperial’s borrowings. He said: “Imperial Tobacco took on an extraordinarily high level of debt by buy Altadis – and frankly the banks are not totally confident with the group right now – which explains these big job cuts, so that they can boost their profits as quickly as possible.”
France will suffer the most job losses: around 1,060, with about 830 in Spain, 285 in Britain, 250 in Germany and 100 in Russia. There will be other integration moves in Belgium, Italy and Ukraine.
When Imperial bought Altadis, for 12.6 billion euros, it added around 27,000 workers. It said there will be consultations with unions and works councils and it will try to do as much as possible through internal redeployment, early retirements and voluntary redundancies. The cuts and plant closures are expected to cost 600 million euros and lead to cost savings of 400 million euros by late 2012.