Finnish dairy manufacturer Valio has said it will be cutting jobs as a result of Russia’s ban on EU food imports.

Valio claimed the embargo has hit it “by far the hardest of all companies in Finland”. The company exports fresh dairy, butter and cheese products across the border into Russia.

It said it would start talks with staff at four sites in Finland. “Co-operation negotiations on the adaptation measures will commence at Valio’s plants in Haapavesi, Seinäjoki and Vantaa, as well as at the Lappeenranta unit. The negotiations concern all staff at those sites, a total of some 800 people,” Valio said.

Valio also has a Russian subsidiary in St Petersburg and a cheese production site near Moscow.

In total, the company employs around 500 staff in Russia. The subsidiary office in St Petersburg will remain open and production at the plant will continue. However, the ban may mean a reorganisation of staff at the subsidiary office, a spokesperson told just-food today (11 August).

According to the Bank of Finland, the value of food exports from Finland to Russia subject to the embargo totalled EUR283.4m (US$379m) in 2013. Valio accounts for over 85.4% of the exports.

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Speaking to just-food last week, Valio said: “It’s a very difficult situation for Valio and puts us in quite a difficult position. We are trying to manage the situation as best we can.”

On Friday, Danish dairy co-op Arla Foods announced it would be making cutbacks as a result of the Russia ban.

Additional reporting by Dean Best.