Finland-based meat processor Atria is investing EUR3.4m (US$4m) in two local plants as it seeks to increase production of poultry products and open up further opportunities for exports.

Funds will be used to increase cutting capacity at the factories in the Finnish towns of Nurmo and Sahalahti, with new technical solutions to improve exports of locally-produced chicken. The projects will start at the end of the year and run into the spring, with the new processing lines set to come on stream in stages.

Matti Perälä, the director of Atria poultry business in Finland, said the investments are being made as demand for poultry and associated products grows “strongly”.

“Consumption has increased steadily over the last few years at an annual rate of about 3%,” Perälä added. “We believe that domestic antibiotic-free chicken meat will continue to grow.”

With the additional production capabilities, the Helsinki-listed company said it will be possible to extend traceability to all of its products. 

Atria announced in August it was switching production of pork products to the Nurmo plant and away from another site further east located at Jyvaskyla, suggesting the centralisation of operations would save it EUR1.2m annually. That followed a cut in the company’s outlook for sales and EBIT for 2018 made in July.