Heineken to cut jobs as second wave bites

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Heineken is to cut jobs at its main and regional offices after restaurant and bar closures in the pandemic severely squeezed profits for the first nine months of the year.

The Dutch brewer said it would “streamline its head office and regional offices with a planned reduction of around 20% in related staff costs”, starting in the first quarter of 2021, as part of a more strategic review wide to deal with the consequences of coronavirus.

The planned reductions “should be seen as an encouraging step in the right direction on the new CEO’s path to balance revenue growth and margin delivery,” said Simon Hales, analyst at Citi. Dolf van den Brink took over as CEO in June.

Brewer of Amstel, Tiger and Moretti said reported net profit for the first three quarters of 2020 was € 396 million, down 76% from € 1.7 billion for the year last, the group said on Wednesday.

Beer volumes fell 1.9 percent, calculated on an organic basis, in the third quarter, a stronger figure than analysts had expected.

This follows a decline of 16.4% in the first half and a depreciation of 550 million euros on the value of its assets.

Heineken had pledged to avoid ‘structural’ job cuts in 2020, but said it expected further impact on its business from new waves of coronavirus infection alongside the worsening economic toll of the pandemic.

Many European countries have closed bars and restaurants again to fight the second wave, the world’s second-largest brewer has said.

“Although Heineken observed a rally over the summer, continued volatility is expected for the fourth quarter as many markets experience additional waves and corresponding restrictions, including market closures and economic consequences. linked to the crisis, ”the group said.

Consolidated beer volumes amounted to 62.9 million hectoliters for the quarter, compared to 60.4 million hectoliters expected by analysts, but input costs per hectolitre are expected to be “significantly” higher than that. last year, said Heineken.

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