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17.03.2010

Wiesenhof records continued growth and sets its sights on the football World Cup

Turnover achieved by the PHW Group tops the 2 billion euros mark / The Wiesenhof business sector grows by 7.5 percent / Major investments in the financial year ended / Number of employees increases to over 5,000 / Positive trend for the Animal Nutrition and Health and the Human Nutrition and Health sectors despite drop in prices 

 

Rechterfeld/Hamburg, 17 March 2010. The PHW Group concluded the 2008/2009 financial year with investments totalling € 95.3 million, an increase in the number of employees to over 5,000 and a significant rise in turnover for the Group and the Wiesenhof brand. The overall turnover achieved by the Group was up € 100 million (5 percent) from € 1.93 billion to € 2.03 billion. The major factor driving this growth was, once again, the core business sector, Wiesenhof, which recorded an increase in turnover of 7.5 percent. According to the chairman of the PHW Group, Peter Wesjohann: “The trend for poultry remains strong. Wiesenhof, as a brand product, has been able to benefit from this in particular. The growing popularity of convenience products and poultry sausage products has also contributed to this growth.” 

 

The global economic and financial crisis had a major impact on the Group’s 2008/2009 financial year (accounting reference date 30 June). The resulting fluctuations in the price of raw materials caused either severe or very severe turbulence depending on the sector. Up to the autumn of 2008, the feed prices, which are central to the Wiesenhof business sector, were at an all time high. It was not until the end of 2008 that a global decline in the demand for cereals was seen and, with it, more favourable market conditions. The robust increase in the per capita consumption of poultry meat in Germany in 2008 of 1 kg to 18.8 kg helped boost Wiesenhof’s sales. Sales totalled 445,000 t of poultry meat in the financial year ended; this represents an increase of 7.7 percent. International sales of poultry meat products accounted for 25 percent of this figure. Given the increase in demand for poultry meat, fresh and frozen products as well as convenience specialities and poultry sausage specialities, Wiesenhof extended its product range and thus consolidated its market position as a full-range supplier. Accordingly, in the financial year ended, the Wiesenhof business sector grew by 7.5 percent from € 1.11 billion to € 1.19 billion.

 

The PHW Group’s foreign shareholdings in the poultry meat division are focused on activities in Poland. Here, the company Drobimex underwent a process of consolidation in the last financial year. As a result, the turnover achieved in this division fell from € 112 million to € 74.1 million. Drobimex records considerably higher sales figures in this financial year and, thanks to further investments in the brand and in marketing, a positive trend will once again be seen. The turkey pro-cessing plant, Bomadek, contributed € 36.5 million to the overall turnover. 

 

The poultry breeding division which supplies the Wiesenhof business sector and which comprises parent livestock farms, rearing operations and hatcheries located in Germany, increased its turnover from € 108.9 million to € 156.3 million. This growth of 43.4 percent can be attributed to the significant increase in capacity at the hatcheries and to the expansion of the division with a shareholding in a turkey hatchery.  

 

PHW invests heavily in its German sites 

The PHW Group made investments totalling € 95.3 million in the financial year ended. In the previous year, this figure was € 77.4 million. Wiesenhof alone was allotted € 61.1 million; this money was spent, amongst other things, on the modernisation of the processing plants in Lohne (Lower Saxony) and Bogen (Bavaria) as well as on the first construction stage of the new turkey slaughterhouse in Wildeshausen (Lower Saxony). These investments will not only further improve quality but also increase animal welfare and hygiene levels. Investments also focused on the company Allfein which specialises in the production and Europewide marketing of convenience poultry products. In September 2008, the company took over the production plant of a bankrupt operation in Dannenberg, reconstructed it, and added an additional production line as well as new staff rooms and offices. Around one tenth of the investment was spent on the modernisation of farms, € 7.5 million on the construction of a logistics hall with cold store at Lohmann Animal Health as well as on the first construction stage of the second vaccine plant in Cuxhaven.  

 The largest investment project of the past financial year was the construction of a new turkey slaughterhouse in Wildeshausen which was completed in November. This facility is one of the most modern of its kind in the world. Furthermore, the PHW Group plans to increase capacity at the Wiesenhof plants in Bogen and Lohne. The Wiesenhof poultry sausage production facilities in Rietberg (North Rhine-Westphalia) are also to be expanded. In Niederlehme (Brandenburg) construction of a picking hall has already been concluded. The mixed feed manufacturer MEGA Tierernährung, which is also part of the PHW Group, is set to build a large mixed feed plant in Eberswalde. This new plant, due to be completed in 2011, is located directly at the Mittellandkanal (midland canal) in the harbour area and will be Europe’s most modern mixed feed facility, designed in line with the very latest technical expertise. MEGA has already been manufacturing poultry feed in the direct vicinity since the end of 2006 on a lease basis. 

 

Animal Nutrition and Health. Slight increase in turnover

The Animal Nutrition and Health sector also recorded slight growth in the financial year ended. Turnover grew by 2.9 percent to € 556.1 million. MEGA Tierernährung was accountable for € 330 million of this sum. The latter’s turnover was 7.5 percent below the level of the previous year due to the sharp fall in the price of raw materials. In Germany, MEGA is the leading producer of poultry mixed feed and produces over 1.1 million t of GM-free mixed feed at five locations.  

 

Lohmann Animal Health increased its turnover compared to the previous year by 11.6 percent to € 194.5 million. The positive trend for feed additives and veterinary pharmaceuticals played a key part in this development. The turnover achieved by the vaccine business at Lohmann Animal Health remained unchanged from the previous year. A particular innovation in 2008 was the rapid development of a vaccine against avian influenza which is currently awaiting authorisation.  

 

The PHW shareholding, GePro in Diepholz, and its subsidiary, PetCom in Minden, recorded turnover of € 113 million (previous year: € 84 million) and benefited from the high level of international demand for animal proteins. GePro extracts these proteins from the by-products of the poultry processing plants. Using the poultry fats, GePro also manufactures a biological fuel (SP-Power) which is used to fuel (amongst other things) the PHW Group truck fleet.  

 

Human Nutrition and Health: Nutrilo to enter into new markets

The financial year ended was characterised by major fluctuations in the raw material markets for Nutrilo. In particular, the main raw materials, vitamin C and vitamin E, became more expensive. Nevertheless, the company recorded a 3.3 percent growth in sales from € 34.4 million to € 35.3 million and invested approx. € 2 million in a new technology centre in the last financial year. A newly created production division boasts the so-called GMP status which means that, in future, Nutrilo will be able to produce pharmaceutical products. The company views this as an opportunity to enter into new markets.  

 

Number of employees rises to over 5,000 

As the Group grows, so does the number of staff it employs. In the previous year, the Group had 4,761 employees on its books, in the 2008/2009 financial year this figure had risen to 5,072. This increase is essentially due to the fact that the Group took on staff from the Dannenberg based plant and to the employment of additional staff in the processing plants in Lohne and Holte.  

 

Outlook: Wiesenhof sets its sights on the football World Cup

Given the sustained high level of demand for poultry meat, the PHW Group expects to achieve further growth in the current financial year on the basis of a satisfactory business development. Wiesenhof also anticipates a further boost from the football World Cup which falls right in the middle of the BBQ season. Furthermore, current political developments also look set to brighten the Group’s outlook. In October 2009, the EU Agriculture Council resolved to change the marketing standards for poultry meat. According to the new standards, as of May 2010, poultry meat products may only be sold as fresh, i.e., within the temperature range of -2°C to +4°C, if the meat has not been previously frozen. Thanks to this change, consumers can be sure that only fresh meat is used for marinated and seasoned poultry products. 

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