Business

Kimberly-Clark expected to keep growing in S'pore

It is too early to say how Singapore will be affected by Kimberly-Clark's worldwide business shake-up, said the consumer giant's regional head.

But its role in Singapore is still expected to keep growing, Mr Achal Agarwal, president of the Asia-Pacific consumer business, told The Business Times last Friday.

New York-listed Kimberly-Clark shocked the market when, alongside the announcement of its full-year results last Tuesday, it unveiled a scheme to slash costs and simplify the manufacturing supply chain.

About 10 factories are expected to be sold or closed, while production capacity will be beefed up at others. Between 5,000 and 5,500 people will be laid off - 12 per cent to 13 per cent of total headcount.

When asked about the impact on Singapore, Mr Agarwal said Kimberly-Clark will not provide specifics "until final decisions are made and announced".

Kimberly-Clark had reported an operating profit for the fourth quarter of last year of US$812 million (S$1 billion) - a fall from the US$839 million in 2016.

For the full year, it reported an operating profit of close to US$3.3 billion.

Singapore houses Kimberly-Clark's Asia-Pacific headquarters and more than half of its 250 employees here work at a plant in Tuas.

The global restructuring is expected to yield annual cost savings of US$500 million to US$550 million by the end of 2021. - ANNABETH LEOW