The future of hundreds of jobs in Northfleet has been cast into doubt after the owner of Andrex unveiled a cost-cutting drive.

Kimberly-Clark plans to slash between 5,000 and 5,500 roles from its 43,000-strong global workforce, the equivalent of 12 to 13 per cent of total staff.

The Texas-based personal care giant has three UK manufacturing sites in Northfleet, Barrow-in-Furness and Flint as well as offices in Reigate, West Malling and Brighton.

The Northfleet Mill produces three quarters of Andrex and employs about 280 people.

The Mill has been making Andrex since 1957.

This move will hit “all of the company’s business segments and organisations in each major geography”, with 10 manufacturing plants earmarked for sale or closure.

Chairman and chief executive Thomas Falk said the restructuring plan will put the group on track to reach growth targets.

He said: “This is the biggest restructuring we have undertaken since the introduction of our Global Business Plan in 2003, and it will make our company leaner, stronger and faster.

“The changes we are making will improve our underlying profitability, provide more flexibility to invest in growth opportunities and help us compete even more effectively.”

Kimberly-Clark, which also owns household names such as Huggies nappies, Pull-Ups and Kleenex, is attempting to revive flagging sales in the face of slowing demand and higher input costs.

Mr Falk added: “Although we expect market conditions will remain challenging in the near-term, we plan to deliver better results in 2018 while we begin to implement our new restructuring.

“We expect organic sales to return to growth while improving our margins and delivering double-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share.”

The group has a cost savings target of more than £1.1 billion between 2018 and 2021.

The locations affected of the announcement have bot been released yet.