Tim Tam maker Arnott's loses 50 jobs in first cuts since KKR buyout

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HONG KONG/SYDNEY (June 30): Arnott's, maker of Tim Tam biscuits and other snacks, is shedding about 50 staff, a representative told Reuters, the first such cuts since US private equity firm KKR & Co Inc bought one of Australia's best-known brands last year.

Arnott's, which also makes Monte Carlo, Mint Slice, and SAO biscuits, had made management changes which meant "a small number of employees will be departing our business", a spokeswoman said, without disclosing which positions were being cut.

The cuts would give Arnott's the "right organisational structure to ensure its success as a stand-alone company", the spokeswoman said in an email.

The cuts would involve about 2% of the workforce, she added, equating to roughly 48 of the company's 2,400 employees.

The move comes a year after KKR bought Arnott's from Campbell Soup Co as part of a US$2.2 billion deal that also included the US snack giant's international and "fresh" units.

Buyout specialists such as KKR routinely cut costs of portfolio companies to improve profitability and prepare for resale in periods of typically four years.

KKR declined to comment on Arnott's job cuts.

Arnott's has factories in Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane and has been foreign-owned since the 1990s.

The spokeswoman said the 155-year-old company "must readjust and build its capabilities in order to remain competitive against overseas exports and continue to grow".