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May 14, 2019

High Liner hires consultancy Alix Partners to drive cost-savings plan

Canada-based seafood firm High Liner Foods has hired outside help to help it implement its turnaround plan, it has revealed.

By Leonie Barrie

Canada-based seafood firm High Liner Foods has hired global consultancy Alix Partners to help it implement its turnaround plan.

The Toronto-listed company made the announcement in conjunction with its first-quarter results, which revealed sales had decreased by 13.1% on a year-on-year basis to $277.4m.

In November, following the announcement of a third-quarter sales dip, High Liner revealed it was slashing its workforce as part of a cost-savings programme started by newly-installed chief executive Rod Hepponstall.

Hepponstall, who took over as CEO last May, had warned during the summer his restructuring exercise would incur costs as he seeks to realise annual savings of $10m.

Speaking today (14 May), Hepponstall attempted to strike a positive tone following the release of its latest quarterly results, which, despite the decline in sales, saw High Liner increase its net income by 43.6% to $14.8m.

“As we move towards our goal of returning to profitable organic growth, we are starting to see the impact of our critical initiative plan on our financial performance,” he said.

But he revealed outside help has been sought in the shape of New York-headquartered consultancy Alix Partners.

“We have engaged consultant Alix Partners to accelerate progress on our supply chain excellence initiative and now foresee a significant increase in the total net annualised run-rate cost savings that can be achieved as we leverage the scale and potential of a truly integrated North American organisation,” he said. 

“These expanded cost savings will help to offset ongoing sales volume declines and pivot back the company to profitable organic growth.”

High Liner said Alix Partners has been brought in to “complement existing work and address anticipated headwinds facing the business” as well as “to help further analyse and identify improvements associated with the company’s supply chain and other cost savings opportunities related to selling, general and administrative expenses”. 

Last August, Hepponstall revealed he would reorganise business operations by function rather than geographically as the owner of brands such as Fisher Boy, Sea Cuisine and Catch of the Day sought to “take better advantage of our North American scale”. At the time, he said he would focus on simplifying the business, supply-chain dynamics, boosting organic growth and capitalising on market opportunities.

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