As part of a plan to adapt to the consequences of the health crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the agri-food group Danone said, Monday, November 23, aimed at one billion euros in savings in 2023 and announced around 1,500 to 2,000 job cuts.

"In France, it will be 400 to 500 people", "mainly directors, managers", who will be affected by these job cuts, Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber told AFP.

The staff reductions will concern "all the structures of joint teams which are above the countries", such as "our headquarters in Amsterdam, Singapore, Paris", he detailed, stressing that this plan, called "Local First" aimed to "restore power at the local level" to the countries in which Danone operates.

The group expects "a decrease in its general and administrative expenses of 700 million euros, representing about 20% of the structural costs of the company", it is reported in a press release.

"Accelerate the digitization" of factories

Danone is also relying on "new sources of industrial productivity making it possible to reduce the cost of products sold by 300 million euros", he added.

These include "accelerating digitization", the robotization of factories, said Emmanuel Faber, from "half a dozen highly digitized factories" to 40 in 2023. In total, the group therefore aims a billion euros in savings by 2023.

"The objective of this plan is to put Danone back on the path of profitable growth which was the one it has always known", argued Emmanuel Faber.

It is about "reconnecting to our growth objective as quickly as possible, which is 3 to 5% profitable annual growth - that is to say by improving our margin," he added.

Over the first nine months of the year, the group's turnover fell 5.4% to 18 billion euros.

The health crisis particularly penalizes the sales of bottled water (-20.5%), with its procession of closed restaurants and bars.

With AFP and Reuters

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