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Vion shuts loss-making factory with 122 jobs at risk

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Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+

13-Mar-2017

Vion Food Group said it 'regrets' the decision to close the plant and axe staff
Vion Food Group said it 'regrets' the decision to close the plant and axe staff

Netherlands-based Vion Food Group has confirmed it will close its loss-making pork slaughterhouse in Zeven, Germany, leading to more than 100 job losses.

Vion Zeven AG is the German subsidiary of the billion-euro, Dutch-based meat company Vion, and has ordered its pork abattoir in Zeven to close.

The factory is “loss-making and [had] no possibility to operate profitably in the future”, Vion said.

Negotiations with 113 full-time employees, eight trainees and one retrained staff member will take place immediately. “Several” staff will be offered jobs at other factories, although Vion did not disclose how many.

Job cuts ‘unavoidable’

Domestically, the market for pork has changed noticeably, with national consumption falling, forcing companies to change tack by targeting areas were pork demand is growing – namely Asia. Vion said it “regrets” the “unavoidable” decision, but said it hoped to maintain and strengthen its presence in the strategic pork production hub of Lower Saxony, with plans to invest in its Emstek plant as it targets export growth.

Emstek has authorisation to slaughter around 70,000 animals per week. Vion wants to invest in the facility, so it can process 80,000 animals per week. The site also has export licences to the most important markets in Europe and around the world, rendering it strategically important to Vion.

Customers of the soon-to-be-closed Vion Zeven AG will be supplied by Vion’s German-based meat plans in Emstek and Perleberg.

Livestock traders and farmers who supplied live animals to the Vion Zeven slaughterhouse may be able to supply their animals to Emstek and Perleberg, Vion said.

In total, the German arm of Vion currently operates nine pork slaughterhouse, as well as two separate boning and processing factories.

Vion Food Group is an international meat producer with factories across the Netherlands and Germany, as well as 16 sales offices globally. The business is run as three divisions: Vion Food Germany, Vion Food Netherlands and Vion Food International. Its turnover in 2015 amounted to €4.6bn.

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