GERMANY – Dutch meat producer Vion has announced plans to shut down its pig processing plant in Emstek, Germany, by the end of March, affecting around 750 employees, as part of its strategy to adapt to changes in its key markets.

Additionally, Vion has signed agreements to sell three meat facilities in Germany to streamline its operations and adjust its strategy amid increasing competition and challenges such as the recent outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).

German meat giant Tönnies Group will acquire Vion’s cattle slaughterhouse and pre-packed facility in Altenburg, Thuringia, as well as Ahlener Fleischhandel, a ham processing plant in the Westphalia region.

Another facility, a pig processing plant in Perleberg, is set to be sold to meat processor Uhlen GmbH. The transactions include the transfer of approximately 700 employees to the respective buyers.

The transactions are expected to be finalised in the first quarter of this year and are subject to relevant regulatory approvals and certain closing conditions.

Vion stated that it has made substantial efforts to find a buyer for the Emstek facility but has not received acceptable offers.

The company emphasized its commitment to supporting affected employees during the transition period and exploring potential employment alternatives.

Vion CEO Ronald Lotgerink explained that the strategic adjustments aim to make operations more efficient and flexible in the face of industry challenges, including overcapacity, competition, and changes in market dynamics.

“The intended steps in Germany hold significant implications for our employees, customers, suppliers, and business relationships,” he said.

“We therefore carefully considered the changes to make our operations more efficient and flexible on our journey towards a future-proof organisation.”

Additionally, in its statement, Vion cited overcapacity in the industry, increasing competition and an annual decline in production in the beef sector.

 The company highlighted that European meat companies, especially in Germany, are facing severe competition from the USA, South America, and China on the global market.

It revealed that these developments are reflective of broader shifts in the European meat industry, with companies facing competition from global players and navigating challenges such as ASF and changing consumer behavior.

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