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COMPANIES

Altadis to lay off 10 percent of workforce due to falling sales

Black market makes big inroads due to economic crisis

Imperial Tobacco Group’s Spanish unit Altadis said Tuesday that it plans to lay off about a tenth of its workforce of about 1,400 due to falling sales, with the reorganization including the closure of its manufacturing plant in Cádiz.

The 114 job cuts form part of the company’s plan to “increase efficiency and competitiveness” in the face of “the complex situation the tobacco market in Spain is going through.” Altadis said sales in volume terms had fallen by 40 percent over the past four years because of anti-smoking campaigns and “the notable increase in illegal sales brought about to a large extent by the economic crisis.” The company estimated that the black market has now reached the equivalent of 12 percent of legal sales.

The layoffs will be carried out under the same conditions of a labor force adjustment plan (ERE) applied in 2009 under similar economic circumstances, the company said. Of the 114 jobs to go, 78 will be in the form of early retirement. Altadis said other workers will be offered 45 days’ wages for every year of service, well above the minimum permitted in EREs of 20 days.

The Cádiz plant is to close in December and will entail the loss of 76 jobs. Altadis said demand for the type of tobacco produced by Cádiz had fallen considerably. Workers at the plant not entitled to early retirement will be offered work in other Altadis factories in Spain.

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