Zwanenberg - to concentrate on products with a long shelf life.

Zwanenberg - to concentrate on products with a long shelf life.

Dutch company Zwanenberg Food Group has announced its intention to sell its fresh foods business unit, which produces sliced meats and artisan meat products, to Belgium's Ter Beke.

Zwanenberg said back in April that it was considering the future of this unit and whether it fitted in with its strategic plans.

In an annoucement today (1 September), it said it has decided to sell it off so it can focus on the further growth of its other activities in ambient foods, including products under its Kips and Huls brands.

The business unit comprises the production sites of Zwanenberg in Aalsmeer, Borculo and Zoetermeer. 

The Works Council will be consulted as required by Dutch law, and trade unions and employees have been informed of the decision.

No financial details pertaining to the transaction have been disclosed.

Ronald Lotgerink, chief executive officer of Zwanenberg Food Group, said Ter Beke is an "excellent, highly reliable partner" for the unit.

"During the orientation phase, Ter Beke showed that it is ideally suited to guide the business unit to a new stage. In recent years, Ter Beke has proved that they are able to combine efficiency with further growth like no other," he said.

"The planned sale of our Fresh activities to Ter Beke also fits in our strategy to specialise in products with a long shelf life, such as preserves. In addition, we aim to achieve growth in snacks, and with our own strong brands such as Kips and Huls."

Zwanenberg's fresh foods business unit achieves annual sales of around EUR130.6m (US$155.2m) and includes three branches. The Aalsmeer plant slices meat logs and packages meat products for the retail and out-of-home markets. At Borculo and Zoetermeer, artisan meat products are produced.

The main customers of the product groups are retailers, supermarket chains and the out-of-home market: healthcare and educational institutions, petrol stations and business caterers. 

Ter Beke produces and distributes an extensive range of fresh food products and associated services in many European countries. The company mainly specialises in the production and sale of meat products and freshly prepared dishes from nine sites in France, Belgium, Netherlands and Poland. 

Ter Beke employs about 2,000 people and realised sales of EUR418.6m in 2016.

In July, Zwanenberg announced a strategic partnership with Unilever over the use of a Dutch plant.