The PHW Group continues its growth course and sets it sights on expanding the “Privathof” concept
6.3% increase in turnover to € 2.23 billion / Wiesenhof grows by 4.9% and, after a lead time of almost one and a half years, establishes a new husbandry concept, “Privathof” / Record investment and increase in personnel / “Objectivity is imperative in the animal husbandry debate”
Rechterfeld, 15 February 2012. The PHW Group, along with its core business sector Wiesenhof, was able to successfully continue its growth course in the last financial year (effective date 30 June). The total turnover of this family company rose by 6.3% in 2010/2011 to € 2.23 billion (previous year: € 2.1 billion). Of this sum, € 1.29 billion were allocated to Wiesenhof, which represents an increase of 4.9%. This rise is essentially due to the stable demand for poultry – in 2011, according to initial estimates, consumption per head, as in the previous year, was 18.9 kg – and the significantly higher level of exports to European countries (from 14.3% to 17.9%).
The other business sectors were also clearly in the black. Turnover in the "Animal nutrition and health" sector with the Cuxhaven-based international company Lohmann Animal Health and the feed manufacturer MEGA (Rechterfeld) climbed by 7% to € 626 million (previous year € 585 million). Double-digit turnover growth was allocated to the upstream "Breeding and Rearing" as well as the Polish companies which produce poultry specialities and poultry sausage for the Eastern European market.
However, this extremely positive development was not borne out in the results, given the sharp rise in feed, raw materials, packaging and energy prices during the year under report.
Wiesenhof is committed to its pioneering role and calls for greater objectivity in the animal husbandry debate
Given the continuous attacks from dubious animal rights organisations and campaigns lead by social stakeholders against the meat industry, a highly emotive animal husbandry debate and the latest reports on the use of antibiotics, Peter Wesjohann, Chairman of the PHW Group, calls for a more rational approach to this issue. “Our 800 contracted farmers are well aware of their responsibility in terms of the well-being of the animals and have an existential interest in raising healthy animals. After all, only such animals can be marketed”. Wiesenhof intends to extend the clear pioneering role it held in the past in terms of feed (including the voluntary policy of not using GM soya and the renouncement of animal proteins and antibiotic performance enhancers long before this was banned by law) and food safety (permanent antibiotic monitoring and additional control mechanisms at all production stages) to issues relating to animal well-being.
In October 2011, Wiesenhof proved its commitment to animal protection and wellbeing with the launch of its “Privathof” poultry. This poultry concept, which was developed together with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) as the scientific partner, as well as with experts from the German Animal Protection Association, specifies particularly humane methods of husbandry and can already be found on the shelves of many German retailers. Given the positive sales trend shown by “Privathof”, Wiesenhof is planning to further develop this husbandry concept in Northern Germany. This new concept is defined by slower growing breeds, longer rearing periods, more space in the barns and access to a roofed winter garden (compulsory as of 2012). Bales of straw, pick stones and bars to sit on serve to encourage the animals’ natural behaviour.
In order to be able to continue offering high-quality poultry products in compliance with the most stringent safety and quality standards, the PHW Group has invested more than € 125 million in the development and modernisation of the processing companies. At a total of € 156.7 million, investment rose to an all-time high (previous year € 114 million). The number of employees increased over the same period from 5,180 to 5,318.
In the current financial year, the PHW Group expects slight growth at best given no more than satisfactory development. The reason for this is the continuing extremely volatile feed markets and the ongoing pricing and competitive pressure.
Wiesenhof records a 5.4% increase in sales
The PHW Group sold a total of 494,000 tonnes of poultry last year. This represents an increase of 5.4%. This growth is essentially due to the rise in sales of fresh chicken, turkey, convenience products as well as the successful poultry sausage business. The international business enjoyed above average growth: In 2010/2011 Wiesenhof recorded an increase in exports from 22.6 to 25.2%. With sales totalling 39,000 tonnes, the business focusing on the production and marketing of Wiesenhof duck meat remained at the previous year’s level.
Boosting confidence in meat production
According to Wesjohann, the biggest challenge for the meat and agribusiness in the coming years is to win back the lost confidence in the high quality and safety of meat products and to create even more transparent structures. It must not be forgotten that meat consumption and the keeping of livestock have become central social issues. Furthermore, consumers today are placing increasing importance on origin, naturalness and sustainable production methods. Peter Wesjohann adds, "We continue to see ourselves as pioneers in many areas, including resourcefriendly, responsible and transparent production, not to mention the labelling of poultry. And, in order to forge ahead as regards animal well-being, we are not only working on the establishment of "Privathof" but also on additional control systems."
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