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Buffett-Backed Heinz to Cut 1,350 Jobs, Close 3 Plants

Heinz History Center
A sign advertises HJ Heinz Co. ketchup at the top of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photographer: Kevin Lorenzi/Bloomberg

HJ Heinz Co., the ketchup-maker owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital, said it will fire 1,350 workers as it closes manufacturing plants in North America.

The company is shuttering facilities in Florence, South Carolina; Pocatello, Idaho; and Leamington, Ontario, according to an e-mailed statement today from Michael Mullen, a spokesman for Pittsburgh-based Heinz.

Heinz has been cutting jobs since Berkshire and 3G took over in June and installed new managers including Chief Executive Officer Bernardo Hees. The condiment maker has grounded corporate planes, unplugged mini-fridges and limited employee printing in an effort to create savings that can help pay for the $12.6 billion in borrowing that supported the $23.3 billion takeover.

The plant closures are “a critical step in our plan to ensure we are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Mullen said. He said the company is adding 470 employees at other facilities.

Heinz said in August that it was eliminating about 600 office jobs in the U.S. and Canada. It has shut a factory in China and reduced production at a U.K. facility. Today’s cuts were reported earlier by the Associated Press.

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