Hershey is cutting 15% of its workforce (HSY)

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The chocolate maker said in a statement Tuesday that the move is part of a multiyear program to improve profitability.

A Hershey's chocolate bar is shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake play

A Hershey's chocolate bar is shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Thomson Reuters)
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Hershey is cutting about 15% of its global workforce, mostly outside of the US.

The chocolate maker said in a statement Tuesday that the move is part of a multiyear program to improve profitability.

Hershey said it expects the program to incur pre-tax charges of $375 million to $425 million, and provide between $80 million and $100 million in benefits from the layoffs.

"Our objective is to ensure that we always have the right level of innovation, marketing plans and consumer and customer expertise to drive net sales growth, especially in our North America confectionery and snacks business," said Michele Buck, the incoming CEO.

Hershey's shares fell by as much as 7% in after-hours trading following the announcement. Hershey plans to explain more to investors at a conference on March 1.