French dairy product, biscuit and bottled water group Danone yesterday said that it planned to close five biscuit production facilities across Europe by the end of the year. The plants, which are part of Danone's LU biscuit subsidiary, are in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Danone has been steadily restructuring its LU business since 2001, and several other production facilities have already been closed. The first plants to cease production this year will be in Ris-Orangis, near Paris, and in Calais, on the Channel coast. The former site has been sold to a company which is planning to develop it into a shopping centre, according to Danone, while the Calais site will become a call centre.
Later in the year, the production facilities at Locate in Italy and in Beveren, Belgium, will also be closed, joining a plant in Doderecht, the Netherlands, which has already ceased production. The site at Ris-Orangis was originally set to close in 2004.
The French company said that more than 2,000 jobs would be created as a result of the change of business on the sites of the five production plants - more than the number of jobs which will be lost as a result of their closure. The company also contends that most of the people who have lost their jobs - 794 in France and 1,231 in the other countries - have already found new employment.