28 November 1997

Avonmore UK jobs to go

AVONMORE Waterford, Europes fourth largest dairy processor after the merger of the two co-ops earlier this year, is to shed 25% of its UK capacity.

A big rationalisation has been on the cards for some time as the enlarged group seeks to streamline its business and get rid of duplicated facilities and management.

Detailed plans for the Irish side of the group were released this week and will include the closure of a manufacturing facility at Dungarvan, Co Waterford and liquid milk plants at Castlelyons, Co Cork, Clonmel, Co Tipperay, Dundalk, Co Louth and Dublin. About 750 jobs will go.

But details for the UK side, where Avonmore Waterford handles over 1.5bn litres of milk and is a top three player, have so far been scant. Included in the companys portfolio is The Cheese Co (with plants at Lockerbie, Taw Valley, Malpas, plus stilton maker Tuxford and Tebbutt at Melton Mowbray), a cheese packing station at Oswestry, the Golden Foods mozzarella plant at Whitchurch and liquid dairies in Manchester, Birmingham, Durham and Salisbury.

"The geographic spread of locations in the UK does not afford direct physical synergies on the scale identified in Ireland," says the company. Despite this, plans are being developed to take out 25% capacity with the loss of up to 550 jobs out of a UK workforce of 6220.

Where the axe will fall will not be known until the New Year.

Total cost of the restructuring of the whole business is put at Ir£159 (£141m). &#42