Arla announces massive spending cut programme worth more than £350m

Arla Foods has announced a cost-cutting programme to save £351.2m owing to the weak value of the pound.

11 may 2011. Yorkshire Post Environment Awards. Robin Dearden in the bottling plant at Arla Foods, Stourton, Leeds.

The programme will result in job cuts among Arla’s nearly 19,000 employees, although the exact number was still unclear.

The move comes as a result of the company’s exposure to the British currency and unfavourable developments in commodity markets, Arla said.

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The company, headquartered in Denmark and with a sizeable presence in Leeds, increased sales by 8 per cent last year to €10.3bn, with a quarter of that in Britain, but took a currency hit of about €150m, mostly due to a weaker pound.

The company also has large exposure to the Swedish krona which has weakened against the euro in each of the past five years.

Chief Executive Peder Tuborgh said the company’s profitability had been hit by “the currency impact of Brexit on our actual performance and the impact of the reversal in commodity prices on fat and protein on our relative performance against our international peers.”

The firm - owned by 11,200 farmers in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Britain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium - is competing with food giants such as Danone and Nestle.

Arla Foods is the biggest dairy company in Britain.