Vion, the Netherlands’ largest pork processor and producer of other foodstuffs for humans and animals, intends to make its two principal activities Food and Ingredients independent.
The company wishes to achieve full operational, organisational and legal independence for Food (active in the Netherlands, Germany and a number of export markets) and Ingredients (active globally). Both serve their own markets and clients, face their own challenges and adhere to their own company strategies.
The independent, strong Food activity’s plans for the future will focus on achieving the considerable restoration of results through reorganisations in the Netherlands and Germany.
A new (co)shareholder will be sought to help achieve further development and growth for Ingredients that – as you are probably aware – already has a strong, healthy, independent financial and organisational basis.
Vion Food, with its slogan ‘Passion for Better Food’, focuses on the pork and beef markets in the Netherlands and Germany, making it close to consumers. The Netherlands, Germany and a number of select international markets are geographically aligned in such a way that they offer Vion Food significant opportunities to achieve far-reaching operational integration, synergy and a considerably lower cost base. Food employs approximately 14,000 staff.
Vion Ingredients, with its slogan ‘Improvement by Nature’ – and incorporating plasma producer Sonac, is active with a large number of companies which manufacture added-value products such as gelatine, proteins and fats from slaughterhouse by-products. These are successfully marketed to B2B markets such as the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food, feed, energy and technology sectors. Ingredients employs approximately 6,000 staff.
The strategic decision to make Food and Ingredients independent entities means the Vion Holding will become strongly financial in character. A number of supporting services provided by the Holding will become part of Food and Ingredients’ operational activities.
The board of Vion and the shareholder have concluded that making Food and Ingredients independent is the best option. This strategy is partly based on the fact that the acquisitions and the increase in scale at Food over the past decade have not delivered the expected results. In addition, the on-going poor market conditions, particularly in the European pork sector, have forced the company to make choices.
For the shareholder it is important that it continues to be involved in Food: a company of major social and agricultural importance, with good client relations and with a community of professionals who have, thanks to a new, no-nonsense approach and a lot of hard work started down the road to result recovery. Constructive talks are underway with banks concerning independent financial structures for both Food and Ingredients.
The independence of Food and Ingredients follows on from the divestment over the past six months of the food activities in the UK and the sale of a number of non-core business activities including Banner Pharmacaps and Oerlemans Foods.
Changes to the management and the executive board
Ingredients will continue to be led by its CEO Dirk Kloosterboer. At the moment Food is led by interim CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste. A new CEO for Food is expected to be appointed in the foreseeable future.
Kloosterboer will step down as the holding’s chairman so he can concentrate fully on Ingredients. The chairman of the holding’s tasks and responsibilities will be taken over by Rob Ruijter.
Ton Vernaus, CFO and member of the executive board will leave the company as of 1 May 2013.
In 2011, the total company’s turnover amounted to €9.5 billion. At the start of 2013, the company employed 21.000 staff.