30 WA jobs lost in Nufarm restructure

About 30 WA-based Nufarm workers will lose their jobs over the next two-years as part of a broad-based restructure of the agricultural chemicals supplier.

A spokesman for the company has confirmed that 15 positions would be lost as part of a staged shutdown of the company's Welshpool manufacturing plant and a further 15 jobs would go as part of a plan to reduce synthesis activity at the Nufarm's Kwinana facility.

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The losses are part of an Australia-wide restructure and cost-cutting plan involving the loss of 105 jobs nationally.

Nufarm expects the restructure will save it up to $13 million a year.

The re-organisation includes the phased closure of its Welshpool specialised herbicides plant and its Lytton plant in Queensland which makes specialised insecticides and fungicides.

Six out of 13 regional service centres will also be shut, and management across most of the group significantly streamlined.

Re-organised support and administration roles will also result in job cuts.

However, Nufarm's Victorian plant at Laverton will be expanded to produce the products currently made at the sites that will close.

Nufarm managing director Doug Rathbone said 105 jobs would be cut from all areas of the Nufarm's business except product development.

He said Nufarm was not closing plants so that it could move those operations overseas.

Nufarm would maintain its total manufacturing capacity in Australia.

Mr Rathbone said Nufarm had to improve its Australian business and lower the cost base.

"These improvements will clearly ensure our future competitiveness and protect our market leadership position in Australia," he said in a market briefing.

Mr Rathbone said the Australian agricultural chemicals market had become much more competitive in recent years, with a lot of new entrants and a material increase in the number of new product registrations.

Pricing power and margins had suffered as a result.

Drought has also added to the challenges facing the Australian business.

"It has exposed the cost base which we have in the business that was high and relatively inflexible," Mr Rathbone said.

Mr Rathbone also said that Nufarm had to improve its response time to customers and launch more new products.

The changes are to be implemented over two years.

Nufarm will book one-off restructuring costs of up to $39 million in the current financial year.

The company also said it was reviewing its New Zealand manufacturing operations.

The preliminary conclusions will be discussed with New Zealand employees over coming weeks.

Shares in Nufarm were nine cents, or 2.31 per cent, higher at $3.99 at 8.55am.

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