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    Nestle to close Ireland facilities with 542 job losses

    REUTERS/Pierre Albouy/File Photo

    Swiss giant Nestle said Wednesday it plans to close a baby food factory, and an adjacent research and development (R&D) facility in southwest Ireland with the expected loss of around 542 jobs.

    The Swiss group plans to shutter the plant in Askeaton by early 2026, and the co-located R&D centre by early 2025, said a Nestle spokesperson in a statement sent to AFP.

    “Regrettably, today’s announcement means approximately 542 colleagues will be placed at risk of redundancy,” said the statement.

    The Askeaton facilities, which are 222 kilometres southwest of Dublin, were part of Nestle’s acquisition of Pfizer Nutrition in 2012, and operate as Wyeth Nutritionals Ireland Ltd (WNIL).

    The factory, whose products are exclusively exported to China and wider Asia, currently employs 491, with 51 employed at R&D centre.

    “External trends have significantly impacted demand for infant nutrition products in the Greater China region,” according to the statement.

    “The number of new-born babies in China has declined sharply from some 18 million per year in 2016 to fewer than 9 million projected in 2023,” it said.

    “The market, which had previously been reliant on imported infant formula products, is also seeing rapid growth in locally-produced products,” it added.

    Production at Askeaton will be shifted to existing plants in Switzerland and China, said the firm.

    (AFP)

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