Toennies, one of the largest meat processors in Europe, is not on the block, its family shareholders have announced.

In March, Bloomberg said Toennies’ owners were exploring a sale of the business amid reports of a family dispute over strategy.

CEO Clemens Toennies holds a 45% share in the company, while his nephew Robert Toennies owns 50% of the group. At the time, Bloomberg cited unnamed sources that said both men were willing to sell their stakes “in any deal”.

In a statement issued yesterday (4 August), the shareholders, plus Clemens’ son Maximilian, who owns 5% of Toennies, said they had “jointly examined various options for the future ownership structure” during the first half of the year.

However, they said they had “concluded that the present structure is ideal to continue the decades of successful work. All partners have the aim of shaping the future of Tönnies together with the operative management”.

The statement added: “In the coming years, the focus will be on the issues of sustainability, climate protection and animal welfare. In this, expansion of new fields of business such as animal feed or vegetarian alternatives to meat will play an increasingly important role.”

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By GlobalData

Toennies has vegetarian and vegan brands including Es Schmeckt, Vevia and Gutfried Veggie, run by its Vevia 4 You business unit from a production plant in Böklund in northern Germany.

The company, the statement said, will expand its existing business in organic produce.

“With this clear statement on the joint future as a family business, the partners intend to end the rumours and speculation about a sale or partial sale of the company.”

In 2020, Toennies generated sales of EUR7.05bn (US$8.35bn), down 3% on the year on the back of lower pig prices and the four-week shutdown of the company’s Rheda site in Germany amid a Covid-19 outbreak among staff.