General Mills to eliminate more jobs

by Eric Schroeder
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MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. said it plans to eliminate approximately 700 to 800 jobs, primarily in the United States. The move is part of Project Catalyst, a multi-year restructuring initiative unveiled last month to increase organizational effectiveness and reduce overhead expense.

When General Mills unveiled Project Catalyst in mid-September, the company said it was “unable to make a determination of the estimated total costs or range of costs to be incurred in connection with Project Catalyst.” But details of the program were published in a Sept. 30 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The company will record total restructuring charges of approximately $135 million to $160 million pre-tax, primarily reflecting one-time employee termination benefits, of which approximately $110 million to $135 million will result in future cash expenditures,” General Mills noted in the S.E.C. filing. “These restructuring actions are expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2015. The company expects that these actions will generate annual cost savings of approximately $125 million to $150 million, beginning in fiscal 2016. In fiscal 2015, the company expects that these actions and other efforts to reduce overhead costs will generate approximately $40 million of savings. The estimates included herein are separate from the estimates provided in connection with the Project Century North American supply chain restructuring plans that we previously announced.”

The job cuts come on top of several workforce reductions that were announced last month when General Mills said it would close a ready-to-eat cereal plant in Lodi, Calif., and a yogurt plant in Methuen, Mass. The closing of the Lodi plant is expected to result in the loss of 430 jobs, while the Methuen plant closing will eliminate about 250 jobs. The Lodi and Methuen closings are part of another General Mills’ restructuring effort, dubbed Project Century.
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