Beer giant Heineken has warned of a restructuring at its UK business after struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Dutch brewery – which makes Birra Moretti, Sol, and Amstel among other beers – said it plans to cut its personnel costs by around 20% across its head office and regional offices as part of a major restructure to combat the coronavirus crisis.
Heineken’s UK business does not fall under the umbrella of “head office or regional offices” but the company has still warned that jobs could be lost as part of a separate restructure across its “local operations”.
Heineken has eight sites across the UK including the the Tadcaster brewery, in North Yorkshire. It also runs a brewery in Manchester, as well as two sites in Herefordshire, three in Edinburgh, and one in London.
The restructure of the head office and regional offices is set to take place in the first quarter of 2021 but a spokesperson for the firm said that the “impact and timelines” of the local operations would vary.
Last year Heineken employed 85,853 members of staff worldwide. Around 1,700 of these work in Heineken’s head office and regional offices, the spokesperson said. He declined to give a figure for how many jobs are likely to be cut in total.
In a trading update Heineken said: “Our current strategic review efforts are focused on shaping the company to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis. We aim to increase adaptability with a clear focus on customers and consumers to regain and sustain future growth.
“We are exploring how to accelerate and expand our sources of growth while simplifying and right-sizing our cost base.
“To improve agility and speed in an increasingly dynamic environment, we are reviewing the effectiveness and efficiency of our organisations at head office, regional offices and each of our local operations.
“As part of this ambition, while maintaining our commitment to no restructuring related to COVID-19 in 2020, we will streamline our head office and regional offices with an expected reduction of around 20% in related personnel costs. Implementation will begin in the first quarter of 2021.
“The impact and timelines of restructuring in our local operations will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each operating company. The process will be in close collaboration with our Employee Representatives (Heineken’s Group Works Council and Labour Unions).”
Despite launching a restructuring process to combat the coronavirus pandemic Heineken reported a net profit of €396m during the first nine months of the financial year. This was down from €1.7m in 2019.
There was some good news in the UK market as British drinkers consumed more than 10% more Heineken been over the last three months than in the same period last year.