Newell to cut jobs, shake up executive suite, raise dividend

Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:02am EDT
 
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By Dhanya Skariachan

(Reuters) - Consumer products maker Newell Rubbermaid Inc (NWL.N: Quote) said it will cut about 2,000 jobs, or slightly more than 10 percent of its staff, over the next 2-1/2 years, joining a slew of U.S. companies trying to counter slowing sales by reducing costs.

Newell on Friday also reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, raised its quarterly dividend by 50 percent to 15 cents a share and announced a number of outside additions to its executive team.

Its shares rose as much as 5.5 percent to their highest level in four years.

The maker of Sharpie pens and Rubbermaid storage containers also plans to consolidate manufacturing and distribution facilities and cut the number of its business units to six from nine in a second round of restructuring under Chief Executive Mike Polk, a former Unilever Plc (ULVR.L: Quote) executive who took the Newell helm in July 2011.

Polk is now reorganizing the company around two broad groups - development and delivery.

Development will include all of Newell's marketing, insight, design, research and development, and corporate development staff, while delivery will consist of its general management, supply chain, and customer and channel development employees.

The moves will save $180 million to $225 million by the end of the second quarter of 2015, the company said. It expects to take related charges of $225 million to $250 million.

"We like the progress that Newell is making under CEO Mike Polk," BMO Capital Markets analyst Connie Maneaty said, applauding his efforts to "funnel investment toward its most promising businesses and geographies."   Continued...