Tine, the state-sanctioned conglomerate that controls the dairy market in Norway, announced plans to cut costs by as much as NOK 750 million by the end of 2015 and won’t rule out layoffs.
After losing public confidence when it failed to produce enough butter for the Norwegian market two years ago, Tine has also started coming to grips with more demanding consumers and some international competition. It can still regulate prices and selection of products in Norway, and gets state help in restricting imports, but claims it wants “to meet increased competition in a positive manner.”
It has already slashed its number of dairies from 120 in the 1990s to just 37 today. Now chief executive Hanne Refsholt (who was on paid study leave abroad when the butter crisis broke out in 2011) says she and her colleagues are “going through the entire organization” to look for areas that can be improved.
Refsholt noted that Norwegian consumers have greater expectations for a wider product line. Her announcement of looming cuts came on the same day that a new non-socialist government was being elected in Norway, in which both the Conservatives and the Progress Party want to ease protectionism in Norway and have specifically said that organizations like Tine and meat producer Nortura may be forced into operating more efficiently and being more market-oriented.