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Kelloggs to close London plant in the new year lay off 500

LONDON, Ont. — The Kellogg’s plant in London, Ont., will close by the end of 2014, resulting in the loss of more than 500 full-time jobs.The employees were told the news Tuesday during a staff meeting.[np_storybar title=”How Ontario’s government is driving away jobs” link=”http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/12/09/terence-corcoran-ontario-driving-jobs-out-with-blue-boxes-green-energy/”%5DTerence Corcoran: Slowly but surely, Ontario’s central planning public policies — from green energy to Blue Boxes — are driving business out of the province. Find out how [/np_storybar]“As with any project of this scope and one that impacts people, these are difficult decisions,” John Bryant, president and chief executive of Kellogg Company said in a statement.“We are very mindful of the impact these changes will have — particularly to our employees. As our employees and others would expect from Kellogg, we will help those who are impacted through their transitions.”Just last month, the company announced that it was laying off 110 workers by January 2014.Kellogg’s has been in London since 1924.The cuts are part of an overall restructuring by Kellogg’s to streamline their operations by 2018.Almost all traditional cereal makers are facing a declines in sales, as more Canadians choose breakfast meals such as shakes and cereal bars over pouring a bowl of cereal. As a result, the London plant has produced less of their 27 different varieties of cereal every year.“Cereal sales have declined and we have significant excess capacity in our cereal manufacturing network,” said Kellogg’s company spokeswoman, Kris Charles. “As a result, we have a compelling business need to align our global manufacturing capacity with customer demand, as well as reduce our costs, in order to be competitive and sustainable in the future.”THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley The company said it will also close its snacks plant in Charmhaven, Australia by late 2014. Efforts will then be diverted to expanding its cereal and snacks plant in Rayong, Thailand by 2015.London-Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen called the closure “simply heartbreaking news and another devastating blow to London.”“We already have thousands of Londoners desperate for work and the situation isn’t a whole lot better in other communities,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “This will only add to the hopelessness many families are feeling about the chance to get back to work and get back on their feet.”The city’s manufacturing industry has already taken big hits over the years, with plant closures including Electro-Motive and Ford Talbotville, she added. Citing government data, Ms. Mathyssen said since November 2006 there have been 11,300 fewer manufacturing jobs in London.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley London Mayor Joe Fontana said he would have liked to have the opportunity to sit down with Kellogg’s, along with other levels of government, to explore other solutions and avoid the closure.But Kellogg’s board of directors made the decision to close the plant three days ago, he said, and his council only learned of the closure today.The timing of the announcement was “very bad,” Mr. Fontana said.“Just before Christmas? Come on. At the end of the day, let’s have a little bit of heart here,” he said. “Obviously, they made a decision three days ago, but I think there would have been a better way, a constructive way.”But with the string of manufacturing plant closures in Ontario, most recently the Heinz plant in Leamington, Ont., it is a clear “wakeup call” for provincial and federal governments to “do things differently.”“There’s no doubt that there needs to be a game change for federal, provincial, municipal governments to work with businesses to see how it is that we can make sure that these kinds of jobs and businesses are not lost,” Mr. Fontana said.Last month, food producer Heinz announced it was closing its tomato plant in Leamington, Ont., eliminating 740 full-time jobs.The shutdown will be phased over the next six to eight months and also affect up to 500 seasonal workers hired each year during the tomato-harvesting season.The Ontario government said the province will provide up to $200,000 to help the southwestern Ontario city identify and pursue new opportunities for growth.With files from Armina Ligaya, Financial Post read more

BlackBerry Q1 results should shed light on shift from handsets to software

BlackBerry Q1 results should shed light on shift from handsets to software by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 22, 2015 11:33 am MDT Last Updated Jun 22, 2015 at 12:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry reports first-quarter financial results on Tuesday, with expectations angled towards disappointment as the one time smartphone leader continues to shift focus from handsets to its software business.“All eyes will be on the software revenue line, which needs to show an upward trend to support management’s ambitious turnaround goals,” Bank of Montreal analyst Tim Long said in a recent note to investors.“Whether the numbers hit or not, we hope management provides enough metrics to get some transparency on the underlying trends in the software-oriented recovery.”Chief executive John Chen has been pushing forward with a plan to make Blackberry a sustainably profitable company again after years of losing ground to more innovative smartphones, particularly from Apple and Samsung.Chen has maintained a target of reaching US$600 million in revenue from BlackBerry’s software sales business, which includes a premium version of its BBM services and other offerings angled towards business customers.BlackBerry’s famous smartphones are a separate challenge for the company as it gradually shifts them to a lower priority even as it keeps the phones as an important piece of its larger business.Last month, Chen laid off an unspecified number of employees in its device operations, which make the hardware, software and applications for its phones.Those cuts came as a surprise to analysts because Chen had said less than a year ago that BlackBerry had come to the end of three years of layoffs.RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue highlighted the company’s ability to deliver new phones on time and make cost reductions, both of which he believes are short-term solutions.But he remained concerned about the company’s long-term trajectory.“It’s hard to cut your way to glory,” he said in a note.Smartphones like the reissue of the BlackBerry Bold, Classic and Passport haven’t been hot sellers, which has added extra pressure to make good on Chen’s turnaround plan.Raymond James tech analyst Steven Li estimates the company shipped 1.4 million units to stores, a decline of 13 per cent over the same time last year. BlackBerry doesn’t recognize revenue on those devices until they’re sold to customers.“The Passport remains a niche product and even a full quarter of contribution from both Passport and Classic may not have seen significant traction in a competitive market,” Li said.The company is expected to report revenues of US$646.82 million for the quarter, according the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.Adjusted earnings are forecast at a loss of US$15.9 million or two cents per share, with the net loss estimated at US$28.9 million or five cents per share.Follow @dj_friend on Twitter read more