Royal Agrifirm Group has announced its 2017 results. ‘A net income of 38.4 million euros, 25 million euros of which will be distributed to our members. It is an excellent result that we realised in markets undergoing drastic changes. The new strategy, “Better Together”, is certainly bearing its initial fruits,’ says Dick Hordijk, CEO Agrifirm. ‘With our innovative solutions we contribute to a positive return at farm level, for a future-proof food chain.’
Excellent Performance in 2017
In addition to an increase of 25% in the net income, we also gained new customers in the Netherlands in the plant sector (crop protection), the pig farming and the poultry farming sectors. The excellent financial result was achieved despite highly fluctuating market conditions. In this way the cooperative managed to achieve a very high return for its members in 2017.
Agrifirm's vision is 'a sustainable food chain for future generations'. The Members' Council has stated that a sustainable food chain revolves around sustainable production in a way that is consistent with the expectations of society. With due consideration for animals, humans and the environment. As well as for the sustainability of the farm, so that in the future a financially strong operation can be transferred to future generations. This demands a balanced approach in the food chain, where Agrifirm aims to connect with others in the chain to jointly come up with solutions that work for consumers and farmers. An example is the Top Crop Project. In this project, Agrifirm and partners in the supermarket chain are looking for opportunities to further reduce the use of crop protection products in the cultivation of vegetables.
‘Better Together’ strategy ensures improved knowledge sharing
The initial results of the 'Better Together' strategy, with its focus on better cooperation with members, customers, chain parties and among Agrifirm companies, are becoming visible. Innovative solutions are being produced that are resulting in better returns at farm level. The introduction of the new piglet feed concept UniQ is an example which combines Agrifirm's knowledge of livestock feed and specialities. A new crop protection strategy was introduced in the plant sector using low-impact products and precision agriculture, among others. This is how Agrifirm contributes to a future-proof food chain.
Positive performance internationally; top year in Poland
In 2017 Agrifirm acquired the company Bacutil in Poland, herewith achieving virtually complete national coverage in terms of compound feed on the Polish market, with a top four position. In addition, the company experienced strong organic growth in the sales volume of poultry and pig feed.
The result in Hungary recovered from the disappointing result in 2016. The activities in Germany were completely restructured in 2017, resulting in a healthy business model focused on the border region. Feed production in Belgium steadily grew, particularly in the poultry sector.
Agrifirm’s specialities activities showed a mixed picture. Brazil profited from cost savings on operations and an improved market approach. A halt in the import of specialities in Algeria affected the production site in Drongen, Belgium. This was partially offset by a growth in volume in Europe. To continue to be a frontrunner as a supplier of premixes, Agrifirm intends to transfer its premix production activities in Utrecht to Drongen in Belgium. The transfer enables Agrifirm to create a single extremely efficient plant from which to supply Northwest Europe as well as North Africa. The other productgroups will be transferred within other existing factories of Agrifirm. This will affect employment in Utrecht since local production will disappear. A strong social plan and active guidance to assist employees in moving from work to work will be implemented to negate any impact on employees as much as possible.
In other markets, such as Spain, Italy, China and Eastern Europe, sales volumes experienced positive growth.
Good results for other businesses
In the feed sector, Oldambt and Bonda managed to achieve good results. Livestock farmers are increasingly appreciative of the compound wet feeds sold by Bonda from its location in Den Bosch. In addition, the company managed to expand its activities in France.
In 2017 Welkoop continued to build on its positive development and was voted the Best Retail Chain in the Netherlands for 2017-2018 in the categories Garden Shops as well as Animal Speciality Shops.
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