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January 28, 2021

French cheese group Savencia ‘to shut Hungary plant’

France's Savencia Fromage & Dairy has reportedly decided to close one of its factories based abroad, a move said to affect more than 80 jobs.

By Dean Best

France’s Savencia Fromage & Dairy has reportedly decided to close one of its factories in Hungary, a move said to affect more than 80 jobs.

Multiple reports in Hungary said Paris-listed Savencia is to shut its plant in the western city of Zalaegerszeg. just-food has contacted Savencia on a number of occasions to confirm the news and comment on the reasons for the closure.

Savencia insisted the factory has been unprofitable in recent years amid falling demand for Emmental cheese, Hungarian weekly business publication reported. Some 83 staff are to lose their jobs in two stages, first in April and then July, added.

Media outlets, including and Hungarian news agency MTI, said Savencia plans to invest in another factory in the country, around 60 miles further east in Veszprém. Savencia has a third manufacurting facility in Hungary, located in the town of Répcelak, 45 miles north of Zalaegerszeg. Savencia’s Hungarian plants serve markets outside the country, predominantly the Balkan states but also North America.

Savencia markets cheese in Hungary under brands including Medve, Milkana and Karavan.

In September, Savencia reportedly announced plans to close a factory in central France in 2022, sparking criticism from union officials.

The most recently-published sales figures from Savencia cover the first nine months of 2020, during which the company generated sales of EUR3.7bn (US$4.47bn), up 0.1% on the corresponding period in 2019. Savencia said its sales inched up 0.9% on a like-for-like basis and, without providing details, added its international operations “did not experience the same growth” due to that side of the business seeing a higher chunk of sales coming from foodservice.

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