Meat group Danish Crown has announced the closure of a 200-employee facility in Germany, citing declining numbers of slaughtered animals and decreasing consumption of pork.

The co-operative said it is “adjusting its approach” to the German market in order to improve earnings, including the closure of a deboning facility in Boizenburg, near Hamburg.

The Danish group plans to transfer “a large part of the [Boizenburg facility’s] activities” to its abattoir in Essen within the next six months. It added that, where possible, employees will be offered work at other facilities in the Danish Crown group. The company is currently negotiating offers for staff.

It means all pig slaughtering and deboning will be done at Danish Crown’s Essen abattoir.

“We simply have to make more money in Germany,” said group CEO Jais Valeur. “Therefore, we believe it is time to shift the focus from pure large-scale production to a more agile setup.

“The abattoir in Essen has an important task in supplying our own processing facilities with raw materials, and at the same time production will be adapted so that we can produce exactly the goods that our customers in both Germany and the rest of Europe demand from week to week.”

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By GlobalData

Danish Crown employs around 3,400 staff in Germany across one pig abattoir, two cattle abattoirs and three processing facilities.

“It is a sad situation because there are many skilled and loyal employees at the facility in Boizenburg,” said Per Laursen, Danish Crown production director. “To the extent that it is possible, they will be offered a job at one of our other facilities.”

Danish Crown said it will begin “winding down” production in Boizenburg once negotiations with staff are complete, following which it expects to sell the buildings.

It comes as last year the company announced potential job cuts in Denmark, though structural reshuffling reduced total cuts from 350 staff to 140.

In November, Danish Crown announced plans to build a UK pork facility for the supply of bacon and gammon.

Just Food interview, November 2022: “You need to make big, bold moves once in a while” – Danish Crown CEO Jais Valeur on investing in capex and navigating the downturn