Heinz is to set up a European supply chain hub in the Netherlands to consolidate and lead procurement, manufacturing, logistics and inventory control.
The move is part of a $160m (£99m) investment designed to boost productivity on a global scale. The plan also includes closing two factories in Europe as well as two in the US and one in the Pacific – leaving 76 altogether.
The company is also accelerating investment in Project Keystone, its global initiative to improve productivity and make Heinz more competitive by adding capabilities, harmonising global processes and standardising its systems through SAP.
Heinz expects an incremental cost of approximately $40m (£25m) for Keystone expenses during Fiscal 2012, which are included in the Company’s constant currency outlook.
The group has just reported a 5.7 per cent rise in operating profit to $1.65bn (£1bn) for its fiscal year 2011, while sales were up two per cent $10.7bn (£6.6bn).
Chairman, president and CEO William R Johnson said: “Heinz delivered record sales, net income and cash flow in Fiscal 2011, fuelled by accelerating growth in key Emerging Markets like China, India, Indonesia and Russia and value-enhancing innovation in our core portfolio of iconic brands. Through excellent execution of our long-term plan, Heinz enhanced its position as one of the best-performing global food companies while driving shareholder value and continued dividend growth.”