Savings plan at Danone: “A priori, we do not prune in the production tool, which should logically be reassuring”, according to an economics professor

Savings plan at Danone: “A priori, we do not prune in the production tool, which should logically be reassuring”, according to an economics professor

Gabriel Colletis, professor of economics, judge on franceinfo that “Danone maintains its production facilities, does not reduce the wing”.

A general meeting of the Danone company, on April 29, 2015 (VINCENT ISORE / MAXPPP)

Danone announced Monday, November 23 a plan to save one billion euros by 2023 and will cut up to 2,000 administrative positions worldwide, including 400 to 500 in France. “A priori, we do not cut into Danone’s production tool, which should logically reassure, at least in part, the unions”, estimated on franceinfo Gabriel Colletis, professor of economics at the University of Toulouse 1 and president of the Manifesto association for industry. For him, “This means that, logically, Danone maintains its production facilities, does not reduce the wing.”

franceinfo: Is this savings plan the first in a long series in French industry?

Gabriel Colletis : Indeed, we can fear that these layoffs are the first in a long series. As regards Danone, it is not a question of layoffs in the production workforce since, as has been announced, it is administrative jobs, managerial jobs, managerial jobs that will be cut and not jobs of production. So, a priori, we do not cut into Danone’s production tool, which should logically reassure, at least in part, the unions. This means that, logically, Danone maintains its production facilities, does not reduce the wing, tries to maintain its turnover which has indeed fallen in recent weeks or months due to difficulties related to the world of restaurants, cafes. and bars.

Does this mean that they have good hopes of leaving once the pandemic is behind us?

Absolutely. It is true that Danone seeks to reduce its costs. It is quite true that Danone is seeking to improve its profitability. What we can say today, more generally, is that French industry is in a way at the crossroads between the world of yesterday – a world where finance continues to impose a certain number of standards where costs are reduced to improve profitability and dividends – and another possible option that could be that of Danone. I remind you that Danone has declared itself a company with a mission, which means that as a French agrifood giant, it sets itself other objectives than just profitability and dividends, in particular ecological transition objectives or objectives consisting in improving the quality of the products offered to combine food products, food and health. So we can hope that Danone will choose the world of tomorrow and not the world of yesterday.

Can we say that French multinationals, large companies, are all suffering from the Covid-19 crisis today?

Very unevenly. It is absolutely certain that some companies are doing better than others, but it is true that in sectors which are very affected by the crisis, such as for example aeronautics obviously with Airbus or the automobile, these sectors there are extremely affected. But anyway, the only solution for French groups, whatever their current situation, is today to move towards ecological competitiveness. So either these groups will choose this path and will be able to develop new products, I am thinking in particular of Airbus with the aircraft of the future, or they will choose the path of downsizing, of reducing production facilities. . Fortunately, this path is not the one that seems to be chosen by Danone.