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All news / Germany’s top players in meat business

  • 11 Mar 2019, 12:08

 In 2017 the businesses in the meat and meat product industry brought another year of growth to a close.

However, not all of them coped well with the high pig prices, as is shown by the current sector ranking of afz – allgemeine fleischer zeitung and Fleischwirtschaft, which was published in English in issue 2/2019 of Fleischwirtschaft international.

The pressure of consolidation in the meat industry remains. In 2017 sausage producers in particular struggled with the higher pig prices. They hardly succeeded in passing on the higher producer prices to the trade. This led some producers into economic difficulties. The situation was different in the meat sector – consumer prices rose here as well.

On the other hand, a few companies bowed to the conditions. They were evidently no longer able to find an economic balance between high pig prices with rising demands and labour costs on the one hand and the often relentless retail trade on the other. Vogler and MV-Fleisch were among the losers in the past year, as were FVZ in Mannheim as a regional slaughterhouse, and the sausage producers Lutz and Astro.

When things go well then they go well, is a saying. And so it was above all the giants in the industry who captured the largest slice of the increased turnover. Tönnies, Vion and Westfleisch remain the undisputed leaders in the industry ranking. And the top three slaughtering businesses show sound turnover increases for 2017.

Growth through acquisition also applies for Danish Crown in Germany. In April 2017 the Danes took over the abattoir Schlachthof Teterow (55) in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with an annual slaughtering output of around 125,000 cattle. Together with the Husum site, DC now puts around 225,000 cattle on the hook in Germany. This takes them up to fifth place in the ranking of the top beef slaughterers, ahead of Bahlmann (51) and Färber (28).

The Swiss have now positioned themselves successfully on the German sausage market. The investment by Bell (23) in Abraham and Zimbo is bearing fruit. Sales have grown perceptibly.

However the entry of Tönnies (1) into the homeland of Danish top dog DC was not quite as successful. They had expected more from the acquisition of Tican A/S. Slaughtering operations in Germany’s northern neighbour ultimately collapsed. In 2017 around 5% fewer pigs were slaughtered than in the year before. This left its mark on Tican too – with 3.47 mill. pigs, around 4.4% fewer were processed. The Tican plant in Thisted is the second production location for Tönnies in Denmark, alongside SB Pork in Brörup.

And the slaughtering giant has further plans for expansion. They want to increase capacities at their base in Rheda-Wiedenbrück to a good 30,000 pigs per day. However, acquisitions and expansions secured growth for Tönnies in their home market. The former Thomsen plant in Kellinghusen, Schleswig-Holstein, was brought up to the state of the art at a cost of more than € 20 mill. This increased the slaughtering capacity to around 1.7 mill. pigs a year, including organic pigs. The company in Eastern Westphalia secured the Artland site in Badbergen from the Lutz insolvency estate.

In the past year the meat processing plants of the retail trade displayed growth rates above the average for the industry. This applied in particular for the Rewe subsidiary Wilhelm Brandenburg (14) and for the Edeka subsidiaries Bauerngut (17, Minden-Hanover region) and Südbayerische Fleischwaren (26, Bavaria). Altogether the ten largest retail trade subsidiaries account for € 4.6 bn. The lion’s share here is taken by the Edeka processing plants.