THE NETHERLANDS, Boxtel. Vion Food Group, headquartered in Boxtel, the Netherlands, is feeling the effects of low procurement prices for pigs and cattle in its annual balance sheet; according to a press release from the company.
In 2020, turnover fell by 3.1 per cent to €4.9 billion. A year earlier, the group had still cracked the €5 billion mark. Vion attributes this to the significantly lower sales prices for pork and beef. In contrast to the revenue development, the Dutch company improved its earnings before interest and taxes: EBITDA increased by €9.1 million to €122.3 million, compared to €113.2 million in 2019. Vion sees this in the context of the clearly positive developments of the two business units beef and retail, which were able to compensate for the impact of the lockdown on food service and the lower results at pork compared to the excellent year 2019.
Vion secured its strong pork export business to the Far East despite the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Germany. The group shifted deliveries to third countries from the German to the Dutch sites. Vion put net profit at €52.6 million, up from €26.6 million in 2019.
The group's own plant-based start-up "ME-AT" has made a good start in its first financial year, reports CEO Ronald Lotgerink. "We spent more than €90 million in production locations like Boxtel, plant-based meat and new blockchain technologies, in order to create transparent supply chains”, says the CEO. When asked by fleischwirtschaft.de, Vion clarified its figures. According to this, the company has invested around €15 million in production lines for plant-based items in 2020. Together with the conversion of the plant in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, a total of €40 to €45 million has been invested in the production of meat-free alternatives. The capacity there is 20,000 tonnes. About €73.5 million have been invested in the further optimisation of the company's presence and in increasing the efficiency of various production sites, Vion reports. The acquisition of the Adriaens slaughterhouse in Zottegem, Belgium, was successfully completed in February.
The fight against the spread of the corona virus brought the meat group additional costs in the 2020 financial year. Corona outbreaks at several locations led at least to a reduction in production, and in some cases even to the stopping of slaughter lines. Vion puts the total at over €15 million to fleischwirtschaft.de. Depending on the workplace and activity, employees are tested for Sars-CoV-2 two to four times a week. Administrative and production processes have been optimised to the best of their ability.
The integration of the former contract workers into the permanent workforce has been successful, according to Boxtel. The former temporary workers were taken on as permanent employees at 16 German locations. "We are convinced that this is the right way and a good development for our industry in Germany, and we are looking forward to intensifying the cooperation with our new permanent colleagues," explains Ronald Lotgerink.
Consolidated key figures, in millions of euros, 2020 (2019)