Belgian Pork Group | The union of Covalis and Westvlees brings together the best of two worlds

Belgian Pork Group | The union of Covalis and Westvlees brings together the best of two worlds

Westvlees Group, Covavee and Agri Investment Fund (AIF), the shareholders of respectively Westvlees and Covalis, signed a framework agreement today, stating their intention to unify their activities in the pork meat industry.  These two progressive Belgian enterprises will work together to confirm their position in the domestic market and to build a sustainable future in the European and global markets.

Current activities

Westvlees NV is a family owned company with almost 50 years experience.  The headquarters are in Westrozebeke and they possess plants in Aubel (Lovenfosse), Moorslede (D'Hulster) and Staden (Lavameat) where they slaughter and process all together 2 million pigs a year.  Westvlees deems it very important to supply pigs from family-owned companies.  From processing the pork meat up to consumer lever, Westvlees pays a main role on both Belgian and European top level.  Also on the export-markets, Westvlees is gaining influence with highly qualitative products for further processing.  Nowadays, export represents 45% of its turnover.

Covalis NV incorporates the slaughterhouses Comeco (Meer), Covameat (Wijtschate) and the activities of Covalis itself.  The total group slaughters and processes 2.2 million pigs annually.  Comeco and Covameat possess state-of-the-art slaughter and processing facilities where the quality of the carcasses is determined in a unique way.  Family-owned pork suppliers, unified in Covavee corporation, hold 85% of the Covalis pork supply.  On the one hand carcasses are being commercialized in both domestic and foreign cutting plants.  On the other hand they supply fresh cut and processed pork meat to the most important Belgian supermarkets and meat processors, both in domestic and foreign markets.  The export represents 60% of their turnover.

Assets

Both Westvlees and Covalis have a unique knowledge of the market and use this to create an added value.  Both companies play on the assets of pork, not only tasty and qualitative pork meat, but also technical characteristics play a big role.  Their clients, meat processing plants, demand that the processing of carcasses can happen in a swift, orderly fashion.  Their clients, retailers, demand delicious meat.

Recently Covalis developed a unique and transparent system to define the quality by Autofom.  This generates a transparent price setting for the farmers.  The Autofom very precisely identifies the link between the quality of carcasses and their final processing result.  Furthermore Covalis possesses very performant slaughter and processing lines and the highest level of quality systems.

Since many years Westvlees produces pork meat in a creative and consumer-oriented manner.  That is why they have gained their unique position in processing and portioning meat in the Belgian retail sector.  Westvlees has customers in more than 40 countries worldwide.  Their unique combination of slaughtering, cutting, deboning and freezing, has led Westvlees to be the first Belgian company to export pork meat directly to China.

Both Covalis and Westvlees have a strong connection to familiar pig farmers, which guarantees a continuous supply of suitable ready-to-slaughter animals.

Together

With Belgian Pork Group, the best of two worlds comes together.  The suppliers will be in overall, family-owned companies.  It is also, with this homely, familiar mindset that the company will continue to be managed.  To fortify the cohesion within the Belgian Pork Group, the cooperative will be made accessible for new participants.

The control over the whole chain of processing pork meat and the specialization and automation of the different processing units will lead to important synergies.

Belgian Pork Group will invest in better genetics, as to guarantee benefits for both the farmers, the slaughterhouses and meat processors.  Good genetic lines are the goal.  The Group will slaughter more than 4 million pigs a year, about a third of the Belgian market.

Belgian Pork Group

With the foundation of Belgian Pork Group, the partners of Westvlees, Covavee and AIF are fortifying the Belgian Pork business as to help solve the continuous crisis in the sector.  Belgian Pork Group, with a joint vision, will invest in the sustainable production of pork meat, from farmer to consumer.

This coalition is still to be confirmed by the Belgian authorities concerning competitor law.

For more information:

Jos Claeys, managing director of Westvlees, Ommegang West 9, 8840 Westrozebeke, jos_claeys@westvlees.com - tel. +32 (0)51 78 84 00

Luc Verspreet, managing director of Covalis, Minderbroedersstraat 8, 3000 Leuven, l.verspreet@covalis.be - tel. +32 (0)16 24 21 94

Marc Rosiers, managing director of AIF, Diestsevest 32/5b, 3000 Leuven, marc.rosiers@aifund.be - tel. +32 (0)475 41 26 10

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Westvlees Group and Covalis Group are the two most important players in the Belgian meat sector.  Westvlees Group, a Belgian, family owned company based in Westrozebeke, is a leader in slaughtering, cutting and prepacking of fresh pork meat.  Westvlees Group has a turnover of 450 million EUR and has circa 1500 employees, divided over 4 production-units: Westvlees in Westrozebeke, Lovenfosse in Aubel, D'Hulster in Moorslede and Lavameat in Staden.  Westvlees Group is one of the two most important players in the Belgian meat business.

Covalis Group, based in Leuven, is part of Covavee, a cooperative enterprise with circa 700 pig farmers and Agri Investment Fund, the investment fund of Boerenbond Group.  With circa 200 employees and a turnover of 320 million EUR, this is one of the most important players in the Belgian meat sector with slaughterhouses in Meer (Comeco) and Wijtschate (Covameat).