Cargill has said it will cut 2,000 employees from its global workforce over the next six months, citing a continued weak economy.
The reduction of about 1.5% of its 138,000 employees comes after Cargill recorded two consecutive quarters of tighter margins and lower profits, which fell 66% in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 from $693m in Q1 2011 to $236m.
The privately held US agricultural commodities giant said the job cuts were part of an overall effort to reduce expenses and simplify work processes.
Cargill spokesperson Lisa Clemens said that the company does not expect the cuts to be concentrated in any one business area or geographical region.
"Cargill asked all of our businesses and administrative functions to review their priorities for the remainder of the fiscal year and to focus on those activities that add the most value for their customers," she told FoodNavigator-USA in an emailed statement.
"As a result, a variety of programs are being accelerated, scaled back or postponed. And regrettably, some of the decisions coming out of the review process are resulting in the reduction of jobs. They are based on recommendations from our business units and functions as to how best to allocate their resources, based on their specific situations."
The company said it would provide affected employees with severance and outplacement support.
“As economic conditions change, so must we,” corporate vice president of Cargill corporate affairs Mike Fernandez said.
In October, Cargill chairman and CEO Greg Page said that the company’s tighter margins were largely due to global economic uncertainty, which led to turbulence in commodity markets and fewer opportunities for ‘prudent trading’. While profits from continuing operations fell 66% in the first quarter of 2012 to August 31, revenues were up 34% to $34.6bn.
The company’s two consecutive quarterly profit declines follow a year of gains.