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Energizer to slash workforce by 10 percent, close three factories

Energizer to slash workforce by 10 percent, close three factories

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Energizer Holdings Inc. will reduce its global workforce by more than 10 percent — or about 1,500 employees — as the company closes three manufacturing plants and streamlines other operations.

The moves are part of a companywide restructuring plan for the maker of batteries and personal care items such as Schick razors and Playtex tampons. Energizer said Thursday it plans to save about $200 million in annual pre-tax savings through the changes.

In August, Energizer first announced that was launching a review of its operations amid sluggish battery sales and heightened competition in the razor category.

Energizer employs more than 16,000 people in 50 countries, including at its Town and Country headquarters. The number of local workers who will be affected by the downsizing is not yet known, according to a company spokesman.

“After the workforce reductions are complete, Energizer will continue to have a very strong presence in the St. Louis region and will continue to be an active part of the St. Louis business community,” Jackie Burwitz, vice president of investor relations, said in a separate statement.

She noted that employees at the headquarters work in areas such as finance and accounting, information technology, customer service and human resources.

Energizer said that about three-quarters of the savings from the restructuring plan will be used to improve profitability, with the remainder being used to invest in long-term growth.

One of the battery factories slated for closure is in Maryville, Mo. The other two are in St. Albans, Vt., and in Tampoi, Malaysia.

Other changes include streamlining other plants and streamlining its products portfolio and marketing in household products division.

“We believe that these changes enhance Energizer’s ability to continue to compete effectively in the personal care and household products categories,” Ward Klein, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

As part of this effort, Energizer has created a new position — vice president of global business transformation. It named Brian Hamm, vice president of finance for household products, to this role.

Most of the changes should be completed by the end of the fiscal year that will end on Sept. 30, 2014.

The company also reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results Thursday for the period ended Sept. 30.

Energizer posted a net income of $117 million, or $1.84 a share, compared with $45.8 million, or 67 cents a share, a year ago. Net sales dropped 4.6 percent to $1.14 billion.

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