Carnibona to axe 230 jobs and close Czech plant

By Jaroslaw Adamowski

- Last updated on GMT

Carnibona said the job cuts would make the business 'more efficient'
Carnibona said the job cuts would make the business 'more efficient'

Related tags Meat processor Pork European union Beef

Meat processor Carnibona Group plans to close its plant in Plzen, Czech Republic, lay off 230 employees and shift the facility’s production to another factory owned by the firm. 

The Czech plant is fitted with a capacity of some 42,000 tonnes (t) per year, and makes hams, sausages, hot dogs, smoked meat products and other processed meat products, according to data from Carnibona. Despite the decision to halt meat processing activities at the facility in Plzen, operated by local offshoot Masokombinát Plzeň s.r.o., the company will maintain a sales office in the Czech Republic.

Focus on profitable markets

The meat processor expanded to the Czech market through the acquisition of local industry player Schneider Group in 2012. Closing down the plant is designed to allow Carnibona to cut its losses and focus on more profitable markets, according to senior company representatives.

For our holding, the acquisition of Schneider represented a ticket to enter the Czech market,​” Ladislav Čechovič, CEO of Carnibona, told local business daily Hospodářské noviny. “Shutting down the meat processing plant will allow us to make the production process more efficient.​”

In 2012, Carnibona’s Czech offshoot posted revenues of close to CZK3 billion (€113.9 million), and a net profit of some CZK36m (€1.37m). In 2015, for which the latest financial data is available, the meat processor reported sales of only about CZK1.4bn (€53.2m), and posted a loss of some CZK40m (€1.51m).

Negative market trend

It is noteworthy that the Czech subsidiary’s financial woes are part of a larger market trend that has affected the country’s meat industry. Over the past few years, the Czech meat sector has stagnated, with annual sales by local players remaining at the level of about CZK10bn (€379.8m), as indicated by data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Based in Bratislava, the meat processor also owns facilities in Hungary and Slovakia. The latter country hosts Carnibona’s two main plants, located in Humenec and Lucenec, enabled to process about 3,500 tonnes (t) and 4,000t per month, respectively. The company’s two plants in the Hungarian market, located in Szolnok and Bekescsaba, are fitted with output capacities of 80t and 300t per month, respectively. Carnibona says its facilities are IFS- and BRC-certified.

The meat processor sells its output, which includes a wide range of processed poultry and pork meat products, under the brands of Mecom, Kaiser, Schneider and Csabahus. In addition to its sales in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, Carnibona exports its output to a number of EU member states, including the UK, Germany, Poland, Croatia and Romania, as well as to Serbia and former Soviet Union countries.

Carnibona is part of Central European investment group Penta, with assets in a various industries and more than 32,000 employees. Co-founded by a group of Czech and Slovak businessmen in 1994, the group reported assets of some €8.5bn for 2016.

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