Saturn Nordic was formed by Finnish meat giant HK Ruokatalo and Danish Crown of Denmark, the largest meat company in Europe, as part of a plan to launch what it terms a 'strategic cooperation' with Sokolów.This cooperation was made possible by Danish Crown agreeing to acquire a 22.54 per cent shareholding in Sokolów from the Federation of Swedish Farmers. Before this transaction HK Ruokatalo was already Sokolów's largest shareholder, having increased its ownership in the Polish company to 30.10 per cent back in July.
The venture will take the form of a joint ownership through the holding company Saturn Nordic Holding. The plan calls for HK Ruokatalo and Danish Crown to divide the holding company's shareholding on a 50/50 basis.
Sokolów is considered to be a prime investment in the Polish meat sector as it is the only player with complete national market coverage. It has a strong focus on pork production, but is also strong in both the poultry and beef sectors. Currently annual turnover amounts to €233 million and it employs 3,400 people.
Because of the scope of the cooperation and Poland's stock market legislation, the undertaking had to be submitted for approval to both the Polish authorities and EU competition authorities.
A spokesman from HK Ruokatalo told CEE-FoodIndustry.com that the transaction had been approved by the European Commission and that now the Polish Securities and Exchange Commission had given its approval, the deal would proceed immediately.
HK Ruokatalo CEO Simo Palokangas and Danish Crown CEO Kjeld Johannesen say they are both convinced joint ownership will promote the favourable development of Sokolów. In recent years, this leading Polish meat company has invested heavily in the future with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. As the largest Sokolów shareholder, HK Ruokatalo says that the involvement of Danish Crown will further strengthen Sokolów's operating conditions.
Simo Palokangas said that HK Ruokatalo has been seeking a strategic partner on the international market for some time, adding his belief that cooperation with Danish Crown will bolster the standing of HK Ruokatalo on the European meat market.