General Mills announces plans to close two overseas sites

General Mills announces plans to close two overseas sites

General Mills has announced plans to shut more production facilities, with sites in the UK and New Zealand lined up for closure.

The US group, which has closed a number of factories in North America, is proposing to end operations at a site in the English town of Berwick and the New Zealand town of East Tamaki, a suburb of Auckland.

The fate of the Berwick plant, which makes baking mixes and dough products, is the subject of talks with union officials. General Mills said the site would close by next autumn if the proposal is implemented. Around 265 staff would be affected. Production would be "consolidated within the General Mills supply chain network", a spokesperson said.

General Mills said it had made a "preliminary decision" to shut the pasta, sauces and soup plant in East Tamaki. The move is again subject to talks with unions. If the decision becomes final, the site will close by the end of the year. Twenty staff would be affected. The closure would see General Mills stop making fresh pasta, the spokesperson added.

The Jus-Rol baking products maker has been making a series of changes to its manufacturing network in recent quarters, although the planned closures in the UK and New Zealand are the first outside North America.

Last month, General Mills confirmed it would shut a plant in west Chicago, affecting around 500 jobs.

In July, the company also announced the closure of a snacks plant in Joplin in Missouri. Some 120 posts are to be affected.

In February, General Mills said it would close a plant in New Albany, Indiana, hitting around 400 staff. A month earlier, the Cheerios maker set out plans to shut a site in Midland in the Canadian province of Ontario, a move set to affect 100 jobs. Both facilities are expected to shut by the middle of 2016.

Last autumn, the company said it would close two other facilities in the US, with the loss of around 570 jobs. A month later, General Mills outlined plans to cut a further 700 to 800 posts, primarily in the US.

In April, General Mills announced plans to expand production at a site in the US. The company said it would spend $250m on increasing capacity at a facility in Murfreesboro in Tennessee.