Heineken previously promised its staff that it would not implement mass layoffs this year, but now that the corona measures are tightening again, the global beer giant must nevertheless reorganize.
The brewer reported this on Wednesday during the presentation of the – considerably lower – figures for the third quarter. The staff expenditure at the Dutch head office and the regional offices of the brewery must be reduced by about 20 percent. It is not yet clear how many jobs will be lost.
The reorganization will start in the first quarter of 2021, in close consultation with the unions and works council, the brewer promises. About 1,700 people work at Heineken’s headquarters and regional offices. Most of them work in the Netherlands. In total, Heineken employs about 85,000 people.
In the first nine months of this year, Heineken sold significantly less beer than the same period a year earlier, as bars and restaurants were closed worldwide. The volume sold during that period fell by 8.3 percent year-on-year to 165.4 million hectoliters. Profits plummeted to 396 million euros in the same period, compared to 1.7 billion euros in the first nine months of 2019.
In the summer months, results improved thanks to the relaxation of lockdowns, which resulted in only 2.1 percent less drinks being sold in the third quarter than in the same period a year earlier.
Despite this improvement, CEO Dolf van den Brink is not optimistic. A second wave of the virus outbreak and any new coronavirus upsets will further hurt beer sales. In a number of countries there is another lockdown. In the Netherlands, the closure of the catering industry will in any case last until December, the cabinet announced on Tuesday evening. In addition, according to Heineken, the expected recession as a result of the pandemic is added.
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