Kimberly-Clark Corp. said it will cut 6,000 jobs and close or sell 20 plants as it moves to strengthen its diaper and health care businesses and expand its presence in emerging markets. The restructuring news came as the maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings. K-C said it will record charges of $625 million to $775 million through 2008 to cut about 10% of its work force and eliminate 17% of its manufacturing facilities under the restructuring.
The majority of the plant closings will be in North America and Europe, chairman and chief executive Thomas Falk said. The company expects savings of $300 million to $350 million annually by 2009, which it plans to use to improve its diaper business, speed growth in India and China, move into higher-margin products in health care and boost new product development. The company will also focus on improving its feminine care business and shift its commercial products operation into more profitable areas such as workplace safety products.