Kier has revealed it is to cut 1,200 jobs to help save costs of up to £55m a year from 2021, as the construction and services firm continues to struggle
Kier has said it will sell its homebuilding arm, Kier Living, and will look at shutting or selling other interests, including its recycling and rubbish processing units.
In a statement, Kier said: “In recent years, the group has grown substantially, including through acquisitions. This strategy added a number of highly attractive businesses to the group, including Highways, Utilities and Rail.
“However, the strategic review concluded that, during this period, there was insufficient focus on cash generation and that the group today has debt levels that are too high. It also concluded that the group’s portfolio is too diverse and contains a number of businesses that are incompatible with the group’s new strategy and working capital objectives.”
Kier added that it would focus on regional building, infrastructure, utilities and highways, in order to simplify its portfolio. The firm also revealed it would “embed a culture of performance excellence with a particular focus on cash generation to deliver reduced average net debt.”
The sale of Kier Living is expected to provide financial benefits beyond a reduction in net debt due to the release of associated working capital and a reduction in the group’s use of supply chain financing and off-balance sheet debt.
Kier Property is also in the firing line, as the company said it would “accelerate a reduction in the level of capital invested in the business, which may extend to its sale.”
The board has also concluded that Kier’s Facilities Management and Environmental Services businesses have limited operational synergies with Kier’s core businesses. It will, therefore, seek to exit these businesses in due course.
As announced on 3 June 2019, since the arrival of Andrew Davies as chief executive, the firm has accelerated the Future Proofing Kier programme and as part of the strategic review considered the scope of the programme.
As a result of the programme, 1,200 full-time employees have left or will leave the group. Under the accelerated programme, 650 full-time employees will have left the group by 30 June 2019 and an additional 550 full-time employees are expected to leave during FY 2020.
Andrew Davies, chief executive of Kier, commented: “Since becoming chief executive on 15 April, I have visited many of our key locations and spent time with all of our businesses, meeting the leadership teams and many of our dedicated people in the process. I have also met with many of our clients.
“Kier has a number of high-quality, market-leading businesses, in particular, Regional Building, Infrastructure, Utilities and Highways. I believe that these businesses will deliver long-term, sustainable revenues and margins and are inherently cash generative.
“As previously announced, I have been leading a strategic review which has resulted in the actions being announced today. These actions are focused on resetting the operational structure of Kier, simplifying the portfolio, and emphasising cash generation in order to structurally reduce debt.
“By making these changes, we will reinforce the foundations from which our core activities can flourish in the future, to the benefit of all of our stakeholders.”