Germany’s Tönnies to invest €300m in Serbia’s pig industry

By Jaroslaw Adamowski

- Last updated on GMT

Investment in the Serbia's pork industry is seen as a potential boost for the country's economy
Investment in the Serbia's pork industry is seen as a potential boost for the country's economy

Related tags Prime minister Pork Livestock

German meat processor Tönnies is to sign a new agreement with the Serbian government this June, sealing a €300m investment in the country’s pig breeding and meat processing sectors.

This is according to Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, who confirmed the projects are to be implemented in the next five years.

The plan was unveiled following a meeting between Vučić and the company’s owner, Clemens Tönnies, the Serbian government said in a statement. Vučić stated that, in the first year of its operations in the Serbian market, the company is to purchase pigs from local farms and set up a meat processing facility. In addition to this, Tönnies is working on setting up 10 pig farms in Serbia, according to the statement.

Vučić said that, currently, about 2.8m head are processed per year by Serbia-based pork meat processors. The Prime Minister stated that the German company processes more than 17m pigs and about 400,000 cattle per year, and has an annual turnover of more than €5bn.

Last year, Tönnies signed a memorandum of understanding with the country’s government under which the German meat processor was to set up five new pig farms in Serbia. The agreement was inked in April 2015 by Serbian Minister of Economy Željko Sertić and Daniel Nottbrock, a company representative, in the presence of both Vučić and Clemens Tönnies.

Good for meat producers

Under the plan, the farms in Serbia are to have as many as three million pigs, the statement said.

According to the Serbian government, with its planned investments, Tönnies is aiming to “strengthen its presence in the markets of south-east Europe​”.

This said, the Serbian Prime Minister stated that the company’s expansion in his country “will generate work for Serbian meat producers, rather than stifle production​”.

Major economic stimulus

Based in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state, and established in 1971, Tönnies said it was a leading global multi-tier food industry business, with activities in the meat, convenience, ingredients and logistics sectors. The company’s core activities are centred on the slaughtering, butchering and processing of pigs, sows and beef cattle.

Founded as a family-owned business, Tönnies is currently operated by a total workforce of some 10,000 workers, employed at eight German and one Danish production facilities.

The German firm’s export sales represent about 50% of its total output. Tönnies has a wide range of pre-packed fresh meat, boiled ham, cured pork products, and sausages in its product portfolio, according to data from the company. The firm said its nine production facilities were IFS-, BRC- and HACCP-certified.

The planned deal is seen as a potential major stimulus for the Serbian economy, unveiled as the country is readying for the forthcoming parliamentary election which is to be held in spring 2016. The vote will see the country’s prime minister and his pro-EU Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) seek re-election two years after the previous election enabled it to form a government.

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