Dutch firm Wessanen is to lay off some of its Tree of Life managers in January as part of a major costcutting drive announced in the summer.
The company said responsibilities of the Tilburg-based Tree of Life Europe team, to be reduced by 13 positions, will be divided over the Tree of Life Europe companies and the Wessanen head office in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.
Operation Phoenix, the restructuring plan announced in August, included getting rid of management layers and reducing personnel costs. Shortening the reporting lines within the European Natural & Specialty Foods division constitute part of this plan, said Wessanen CEO Ad Veenhof.
"The Tree of Life Europe management team has played a crucial role in the formation of this European division. The current structure of Tree of Life Europe is very solid and as such enables a more direct reporting structure for the future," he said.
Operation Phoenix, to be implemented across the whole company, should result in annual savings of more than €100 million, which will partly be reinvested in growth initiatives, according to Wessanen.
The company also announced costcutting measures in its cereals division, resulting in the loss of 67 positions in the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, and the merging of Dailycer's Tilburg production into Wessanen's Tilburg-based chocolate manufacturer Delicia, also leading to job losses.
Tree of Life Europe, which makes brands including Bjorg, the Gayelord Hauser dietetic foods, Equilibrance food supplements and medicinal teas, posted a 13.4 per cent rise in sales for the first half of the year, despite continued difficult circumstances in the German market and the loss of business to GNC in the UK, which was recently sold to NBTY rival retailer.
But US sales dropped by 14 per cent during the period, offering little hope for much-needed improvement in business there.