Kimberly-Clark to retrench 5,500

Falling sales have led the maker of diapers and tissue paper to cut costs through lay offs.

The company behind Kleenex, Huggies, and Kotex intends to cut as many as 5,500 jobs – almost 15% of its workforce.

Kimberly-Clark also plans to close down 10 out its 91 manufacturing plants. It did not say which countries these changes would take place, although it has been reported that half of the job cuts will be in North America.

The company hopes that the restructuring plan – expected to cost US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion) – will slash US$2 billion (S$2.6 billion) in costs by 2021. It will be funded through the recent tax cuts put in place by US President Donald Trump’s Republican government.

Kimberly-Clark presently employs 42,000 people across 35 countries, and has struggled amidst increased competition and falling birth rates – the latter of which has affected sales for its highly lucrative diaper-manufacturing arm.

Even though net sales rose slightly to US$18 billion (S$23.5 billion) from 2016, Kimberly-Clark says that its profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 fell slightly to US$812million (S$1.06 billion), from US$839million (S$1.1 billion) in 2016..

“Kimberly-Clark remains committed to American manufacturing, plans significant capital investments into its ongoing US operations, and will remain a significant employer with more than 12,000 employees in the US,” the company said in a statement.

“The decision to undertake this restructuring program was made independently and not as a result of the recently passed tax reform legislation,” it added.


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