Kraft Heinz to Close 7 Plants, Cut 2,600 Jobs

RetailReuters

Kraft Heinz Co, the maker of Jell-O and Heinz Tomato Ketchup, will close seven factories and lay off about 2,600 employees in North America, a company spokesman said.

The announcement comes less than three months after the company, created when Warren Buffett-backed Heinz merged with Kraft, said it would eliminate 2,500 jobs in the United States and Canada.

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Shares of Kraft Heinz, which currently has about 44,100 employees, closed about 1 percent lower on Wednesday.

"In a staged process over the next 12-24 months, production in these locations will shift to other existing factories in North America," Kraft spokesman Michael Mullen told Reuters.

Kraft Heinz will also move its Oscar Mayer processed meats business to Chicago from Madison, Wisconsin, he said.

The company is also planning to move production from its Davenport, Iowa, facility to a new location in the Davenport area. It will move part of its cheese production from its Champaign, Illinois, facility to other factories.

These production shifts will be completed in about two years, Mullen said.

Heinz, backed by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital - known to be an aggressive cost-cutter - combined with Kraft in a $46 billion deal in March.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)