Preventive Maintenance

Kimberly-Clark to close 10 plants, cut up to 5,500 jobs

By Rick Barrett and Joe Taschler, for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jan 23, 2018

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Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex tissue and Huggies diapers that was founded in Wisconsin in 1872 and still has a major presence in the state, plans to cut up to 5,500 jobs and close or sell about 10 plants, blaming sluggish sales and a bloated production base.

Kimberly-Clark said it plans to shed $500 million to $550 million in costs before 2022 through a restructuring plan that involves "streamlining and simplifying its manufacturing supply chain and overhead."

Chief Financial Officer Maria Henry said on a conference call that savings from the recent federal tax cut would help fund the cost reductions. It "provides us the flexibility" to do so, she said.

The job cuts represent about 12% to 13% of the company's workforce. The company said it would expand production at "several" other sites.

Kimberly-Clark declined to disclose the locations affected by the maneuvers. The company has about 43,000 employees at operations in 56 countries, according to its website.

Kimberly-Clark reported a slight uptick in 2017 sales to $18.3 billion, while net income rose 22% to $617 million. But tissue sales have been declining and a slower birth rate has hurt.

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