Tibor Simonka, chief executive of Perutnina Ptuj, said that Topiko, the group’s Serbian subsidiary, had managed to significantly improve its financial performance, and reduce its debts. The last two years had marked a period of continued sales growth for the meat processor, he added.
Investments in Serbia
Senior company representatives said the group’s investment plans in Backa Topola were related to the improved financial performance of the Serbian offshoot.
“When Perutnina Ptuj bought Topiko, the company had debts of €26 million and, today, these are now only €4m,” Simonka said. “The plant is in a good financial shape, and we expect that, in the next 10 years, we will at least double its revenues and output,” Simonka told local daily Dnevnik.
According to the chief executive, in the first nine months of 2016, Topiko reported sales of some €22.9m.
“We have big ambitions regarding our investments in Backa Topola in the upcoming decade, not only in increasing our processing and slaughtering capacities, but also in breeding,” Simonka said.
Black market expands
This said, Simonka noted that the growth of the Serbian subsidiary had been hampered by the country’s expanding black market and the lack of sufficient regulation to combat the activities of illegal meat processors. According to him, there are about 130 meat processors active in the Serbian market, of which only 40 are registered entities. The remaining 90 plants represent unfair competition, as they do not comply with the sanitary norms and pay taxes, he claimed.
Backa Topola is located about 143km from the country’s capital Belgrade.
Topiko has been part of the Slovenian group since 2008. The plant in Backa Topola is currently operated by a workforce of about 630 employees, according to data from the meat processor.
Based in Ptuj, in Slovenia’s north-eastern part, Perutnina Ptuj said its history dates back to 1905. Today, the Slovenian group claims to be the leading meat processing company in south-eastern Europe.
In addition to its facilities in Slovenia and Serbia, Perutnina Ptuj operates meat processing and sales subsidiaries in Austria, Croatia, Romania, Macedonia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The group sells its output under a number of brands, including Poli, Jata, Topiko, Pullus, Agronatur and Perutnina Ptuj, and its products are present in 20 markets worldwide.
The group’s portfolio includes a wide range of processed poultry meat products, including hams, sausages, frankfurters, wings, pâtés and cold cuts. The meat processor said its output is ISO 9001, 14001, AEO, BRC, IFS and McD certified. Perutnina Ptuj also makes halal meat.
Slovenian Steel Group (SIJ) is the meat processor’s dominant shareholder, with a stake of 77.43% in Perutnina Ptuj, according to figures released by Perutnina Ptuj.