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Nestle to Cut 500 Jobs in Biggest Swiss Restructuring Plan to Boost Profitability

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(Bloomberg) — Nestle SA plans to cut as many as 500 computer-service jobs in its home market of Switzerland as Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider aims to boost profitability at the world’s largest food company.

Nestle is shifting information-technology jobs to locations including a tech hub in Spain, the company said Tuesday. Its Nespresso coffee unit is also moving jobs to Spain and Portugal and will offer positions to 80 employees affected by that reorganization. The unit will open a site in Italy to work on developing boutiques.

Schneider is starting Nestle’s biggest restructuring program in Switzerland, reducing staff there by 5 percent after having faced pressure from investors such as Dan Loeb to cut costs. The strength of the Swiss franc in recent years has ramped up the company’s expenses. Chief Financial Officer Francois-Xavier Roger has accelerated Nestle’s five-year restructuring plan and has predicted 700 million francs ($706 million) of reorganization costs this year.

“Nestle remains fully committed to its home base,” Peter Vogt, head of human resources, said in a statement. The company said it’s investing 300 million euros ($346 million) in the country this year. “The relationship between Nestle and Switzerland is mutually beneficial.”

The stock traded 0.4 percent lower at 10:53 a.m. in Zurich, having dropped 7.3 percent in the past year.

In recent weeks, Nespresso workers in Lausanne, Switzerland, have protested against a plan to add more weekend shifts and lengthen workweeks to 43 hours from 41 at its capsule factories.

Nestle said it plans to make the cuts over the coming 18 months. The company will offer employees training and help to switch to other positions and accept voluntary departures.

The company had 323,000 employees worldwide in 2017, ranking sixth among European employers. Nestle’s Swiss staff has swelled to more than 10,000 last year from about 6,700 in 2003.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at epfanner1@bloomberg.net, John J. Edwards III, John Lauerman

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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