Fonterra axing 300 office jobs

Dairy giant Fonterra has confirmed it is shedding 300 jobs after a review of its support services.

In May, the co-operative announced it was conducting the review and signalled it could lead to the loss of that many positions.

The changes, which applied only to positions in Fonterra's corporate offices in New Zealand, would provide ongoing savings of $65 million a year before restructuring costs, Fonterra said.

Yesterday, Fonterra confirmed it had completed consultations

with staff and the review was expected to be completed by October once people had worked out notice periods.

About 50 roles were already vacant because of a staff freeze imposed in February. Fonterra employs about 17,000 people globally.

In a statement, chief executive Theo Spierings said the review had identified opportunities to reduce duplication and layers of management within the corporate offices.

''These reviews are not easy and that makes it all the more impressive that the people involved have been professional, open and honest in their views and supportive of what we're aiming to achieve.

''We are investing in growth and it is important to ensure our people are working on the right things and that we are spending our capital on the right priorities. We are confident the review has achieved this,'' Mr Spierings said.

Yesterday, Fonterra also announced it had restricted applicants for its guaranteed milk price pilot for the 2013-14 season to 40% of their requested kilograms of milk solids.

In May, the co-operative invited suppliers to participate in the pilot scheme, which would give farmers more certainty in their milk price, it said.

Ideally, it was seeking about 200 farmers, but a total of 328 farms applied to supply 37 million kg ms for the pilot.

Fonterra maintained the size of the programme at the targeted 15 million kg ms - about 1% of the co-operative's total milk supply - resulting in the scaling back.

The pilot gave farmers the opportunity to lock in between 10% and 75% of their milk supply at the season's opening milk price forecast, which was $7.

The uptake from farmers was a ''positive result'' and gave Fonterra a broad cross-section of farmers throughout the country who were at varying stages of their farming operations, director of commodity risk and trading Bruce Turner said.

It would allow the co-operative to give comprehensive feedback to all shareholders on the benefits and risks and farmers could see if it was something that might suit them in the future, he said.

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