Leading Belgian producers in major pork merger

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Workers at Westvlees in Westrozebeke
Workers at Westvlees in Westrozebeke

Related tags Pork

Two leading Belgian pork producers, Westvlees and Covalis, are set to join forces in deal which sees them rise up the ranks in term of their global scale.

A framework agreement was signed on Tuesday (31 March), between Westvlees Group, Covavee and Agri Investment Fund (AIF), the respective shareholders of the two companies, stating their intention to "unify their activities in the pork meat industry".

Headquartered in Westrozebeke, family-owned business Westvlees has been in operation for more than 50 years, and has plants in Aubel, Moorslede and Staden, where they slaughter and process approximately two million pigs a year.

Covalis, which slaughters a similar number of pigs per year (approximately 2.2m) at its Comeco and Covameat slaughterhouses, is based in Leuven and forms part of Covavee – a cooperative enterprise of around 700 pig farmers, while AIF is the investment fund of the Boerenbond Group.

The proposal is that the two operations will come together under the new moniker the Belgian Pork Group. In a joint statement, the group said the company will continue to be managed with the mindset of using mostly family-owned companies as suppliers, with the cooperative to be made accessible to new participants.

"The control over the whole chain of processing pork meat and the specialisation and automation of the different processing units will lead to important synergies,"​ said the statement.

The Belgian Pork Group has also said it will invest in better genetics, so as to guarantee the maximum benefits for the farmers, slaughterhouses and processors.

According to a spokesperson for the Belgian Meat Office, around 11.8m pigs are slaughtered annually in Belgium, with the Belgian Pork Group’s combined total of just over 4m animals slaughtered putting them in the top 10 of European pork players by scale.

The "coalition"​ is yet to be approved by the Belgian competition authorities.

Related topics Meat

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