Finnish meat processor HKScan has announced up to 220 jobs are to go as it “aims to improve its competitiveness in all its markets”.

The group, which previously announced 165 lay-offs in October following an announcement it was seeking to reap EUR40m (US$45.5m) in savings by 2020, said in a statement this morning (6 February): “The maximum headcount reduction within the group is estimated to be 220. The goal is to make a final decision on the planned measures as soon as possible upon conclusion of the statutory negotiations and during the first half of 2019 at the latest, if materialised.”

The announcement came as HKScan revealed its results for the fourth quarter and for 2018 which, while showing an improvement, revealed the company made a loss of EUR9.2m from October to the end of the year. Over 2018 as a whole, HKScan booked a loss of EUR51.2m.

As part of its plan to improve cost efficiency, the company said it is assessing ways of working its categories and concepts. 

“The aim is to increase the company’s agility to respond more competitively to its customers’ needs in local markets. With these planned actions, HKScan aims to achieve group-wide annual savings of EUR10m, materialising from Q4/2019 onward. The planned actions will be a part of HKScan’s group-wide EUR40m efficiency improvement programme,” it said.

Tero Hemmilä, the CEO of HKScan, said: “During the recent years, HKScan’s competitiveness has been continuously weakening. Our current approach isn’t reflecting, from neither an agility nor a cost competitiveness point of view, the market needs. 

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“To strengthen our competitive position in the industry, we must definitely improve the cost-efficiency of our operations and seek new ways of working to meet our customers’ expectations and consumer needs in our home markets. Through the planned changes we aim to build a more solid foundation for the future and for the development of the company.”