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October 3, 2022

Jobs may go in “bold” Oetker growth plan

By Dean Best

Dr. Oetker has said job cuts cannot be ruled out at the Germany-based food group, as the baking-to-pizza giant sets out its stall for growth.

The company has outlined plans to spend EUR500m (US$491.8m) on innovation, its digital assets and sustainability programmes over the next three years in a bid to “expand its leading market position in a sustainable and future-oriented manner”.

However, the Ristorante pizza owner is looking to save up to EUR250m a year with a focus on “streamlining structures and processes”.

Dr. Oetker has indicated those moves may have an impact on jobs. “It is not excluded that the personnel area might also be touched,” the company said in a statement.

A spokesperson added: “We cannot exclude the possibility that jobs will be cut, but at the moment since all initiatives are being worked out it is not possible for us to judge to what extent.”

Dr. Oetker employed just over 17,900 staff in 2021.

The company wants to speed up its product development and believes it needs “leaner and more efficient structures”.

The cake maker is also looking to invest in “digital competencies” through its business and supply chain.

In the group statement, Dr. Albert Christmann, chairman of the executive board at Dr. August Oetker Nahrungsmittel, said: “Against the backdrop of the current difficult and massively cost-driving global conditions for the food industry, it is important that we now boldly and courageously lay the foundation for our future successes. We are launching our initiative from a position of strength in order to sustainably consolidate and, above all, further expand our market position.”

The announcement comes just over a year since the family owners of the Oetker holding company agreed to split the organisation into two independent groups. There were differences among family members over the management and strategy of all of its businesses.

Dr. Oetker, the group’s main food business, along with bakery unit Coppenrath & Wiese, drinks company Radeberger Gruppe and beverage delivery unit Flaschenpost, along with assets in transport and hotels, were housed in one group owned by the five heirs from Rudolf-August Oetker’s first and second marriages. He was the founder of Dr. Oetker.

In 2021, Dr. Oetker generated sales of EUR3.7bn, level with 2020 but up 11% on an organic basis. Two-thirds of the company’s sales are made outside Germany.

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