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Cement business shake-up LafargeHolcim announces major job cuts in Switzerland

LafargeHolcim logo

The company merged in 2015

(Keystone)

The world’s largest cement maker LafargeHolcim has announced the closure of its head offices in Paris and Zurich, triggering 107 job cuts in Switzerland.

The overhaul is part of the cost-cutting drive announced by the Franco-Swiss company, which merged in 2015.

According to the plan, 107 jobs in Switzerland will be affected and 97 in Paris, bringing the total to just over 200, the company said in a statement on Friday.external link

The remaining jobs in Switzerland would be moved to the company’s Holderbank site – where Holcim opened its first cement works in 1912 -  and a new corporate office in Zug. In Paris, posts are to be moved to Clamart to the southwest of the city. The changes should take place by the end of this year.

Jan Jenisch, Chief Executive Officer of LafargeHolcim, said: “This painful but necessary simplification step is key to creating a leaner, faster and more competitive LafargeHolcim.”

The move comes after Jenisch announced in March that the Miami and Singapore corporate offices would be closed, one layer of management would be eliminated and the number of countries reporting directly to the Group Executive Committee would be almost doubled.

The aim of the Strategy 2022 is to save CHF400 million ($403 million) by the first quarter of 2019, the company said. It comes after the firm’s underperformance in recent years.

Earnings have disappointed while the company has also been embroiled in a scandal after it admitted that pre-merger Lafarge had paid armed groups to keep a cement factory running in war-torn Syria. The affair, being investigated by legal authorities in France, triggered the departure of CEO Eric Olsen and his replacement by Jenisch last year. Olsen denies wrongdoing.

+ Read the background to the case here

Reuters/SDA-ATS/ilj

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