GERMANY, Germaringen. The Dutch-German meat giant Vion is closing its Bavarian subsidiary Nocker at the end of the year. The management saw "only limited possibilities for a turnaround".
About 80 employees are affected, who are likely to have generated less than 30 mill. € in annual sales of fresh meat, sausage, ham, salad and cheese. In an internal memo to the "Lebensmittel Zeitung", Philippe Thomas, COO Vion Retail, explains that the enormous pressure on prices over the past two years has caused extreme problems for Nocker. At Nocker, according to Vion, "significant volume losses, the withdrawal of historic partners in the food retail sector and payment defaults due to the insolvency of customers from the foodservice sector led to the unavoidable decision.” In addition, the investment backlog caused by multiple changes of ownership in the past few years had to be added. Furthermore, former owners had outsourced core activities such as the production of cooked ham to other companies.
Vion itself had sold Nocker in 2014 and bought it back in 2017. According to Thomas, the Vion management saw "only limited possibilities for a turnaround, which, moreover, offered no guarantee of economic success". Vion has been pursuing a restructuring course in the Netherlands and Germany for years. With 1.9 bn. €, a lion's share of the annual turnover of 5.1 bn. € is generated in this country. According to industry observers, however, returns in Germany are under pressure, so further restructuring steps are expected.