8 Sep 2021

Synlait Milk looking to cut 150 jobs - about 15% of staff

10:48 am on 8 September 2021

South Island dairy company Synlait Milk is looking to axe about 150 jobs as it moves to restructure its business.

John Penno, the co-founder and former chief executive of the Synlait dairy company.

Synlait chief executive John Penno. Photo: Supplied

The company said it was overstaffed in some areas and under resourced in others and is looking to reset it operations and resources accordingly.

Chief executive John Penno said the aim was about realigning its workforce to match new objectives and key business units, and clear away unnecessary obstacles within the organisation.

"This is not just a cost cut exercise, it is a complete reset of how operate as a business," Penno said.

Synlait, based in Canterbury, has about 1000 workers and expected to reduce its headcount by about 15 percent, which would deliver potential annual savings of $10 million to $12m.

"We need to review and reset the structure of our business to match our current goals to be successful," Penno said.

Synlait makes a range of dairy products, but has grown on supplying infant formula to A2 Milk, which has been battered over the past year by Covid-19-related disruptions to its key market China.

It has previously reported a build up of stock, shipping delays, and market uncertainty affecting its outlook.

In May it warned it was facing a significant full year loss of $20m to $30m.

It will report its full year result on 27 September.

Penno said the restructuring proposal would be discussed with staff over the next two weeks and union before final decisions were made.