The line was installed at the company’s facility in Novi Sad, in Serbia’s northern part.
Owned by local businessman Petar Matijević, the firm has also invested in launching a pig farm in Banatski Karlovac, north-eastern Serbia. The facility is expected to expand the company’s capacity by about 30,000 pigs a year totalling of 300,000 pigs a year.
The project in Novi Sad "will make our pig slaughtering facility the most modern facility of this kind in Serbia", Matijević told local daily Poslovni Dnevnik.
The line was supplied by German manufacturer Banss, a Biedenkopf-based supplier of slaughtering and meat processing systems, as well as storage and cooling room conveyance systems for pigs, cattle and sheep.
IM Matijevic operates a 35,000 m2 meat processing and slaughtering site and specialises in processing pork, poultry and beef meat.
Livestock breeding acquisition
The latest investments follow a recent acquisition made by the Serbian meat processor. Earlier this year, it purchased local livestock feed company Poljoprivreda in a deal worth about €11m at a public auction.
The Novi Sad-based meat processor was the only bidder in the tender. The livestock feed company owns 5.41m2 of arable land and is based in Senta, in Serbia’s north-eastern part. Poljoprivreda was formerly owned by Serbian businessman Mile Jerkovic before it was put on auction.
Local observers say IM Matijevic has intensified its investments to raise its pig farming and slaughtering capacities in anticipation of German meat processor Tönnies’ expansion in the Serbian market.
Last year, Tönnies announced plans to launch a €200m investment to set up a pig farming project in Serbia in cooperation with local breeders. The initiative was unveiled by Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic following a meeting he had with Clemens Tönnies, the owner and chief executive of the German pork and beef meat processor.
Under the plan, the forthcoming investment by Tönnies would provide employment for some 8,000 persons in Serbia and allow the company to expand its presence in Eastern European markets.
IM Matijevic has been active in the Serbian meat industry since 1994, and the firm is currently operated by a workforce of about 1,670, according to data released by the meat processor.
The company processes about 180 tonnes of meat per day, of which 90% is distributed through a network of Serbian retail outlets. A total of 5% is sold to wholesale clients, and a further 5% is exported to neighbouring countries Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro, the firm says.