Each year when Feed International publishes its latest list of top feed companies around the world, we know that the phone will soon start ringing or the e-mails will start arriving, to point out that an important name has been omitted. This year has been no exception.

Although we are sorry to have omitted anyone, there is some delight in knowing that readers are taking an interest in the magazine and want to set the record straight. As always, it is great to hear from you.

Particular thanks this time goes to Paul Deleu, who contacted us from Leuven in Belgium. Leuven is the head office location for the Belgian feed and agriculture group Aveve, where Mr Deleu serves as its secretary-general.

"As the leading Belgian producer and supplier of agricultural and horticultural supplies, and animal feed, the Aveve Group realises an annual turnover of about 1 billion and produces more than 1.3 million metric tons of animal feed per year," he told Feed International. "In December 2007, we took a majority participation in the Dumoulin group, number four among Belgium's top feed manufacturers."

The Aveve Group's turnover puts it among the top 100 Belgian companies nationwide. Aveve itself operates 45 companies in Belgium and abroad. Crop farmers can deliver their grain and maize harvest at one of the 80 elevators owned by the group. Part of the grain stored by Aveve is used in the manufacturing of its feeds, while the other part is processed into flour or used to produce bioethanol. Aveve participates in Alco Bio Fuel, the first Belgian bioethanol production plant. Ethanol is manufactured from grain, maize and sugar beets.


Recent acquisitions

The group's feed interests extend from Aveve Animal Nutrition, operating in the Flanders region of Belgium and adjoining areas from mills at Merksem and Aalter, to Wal.Agri and Sabé that cover the southern part of Belgium (Wallonia) and northern France. Besides its recent acquisition of shares in Dumoulin, Aveve also is a major shareholder in Belgian horse-feed specialist Voeders Lannoo-Martens.

Having therefore set the record straight on Aveve, we have turned our attention to some other "missing millionaires," the label we have started to affix to the people who should have been on our October list of those manufacturing at least 1 million metric tons of mixed feeds per year.

Another candidate for inclusion would be San Miguel Foods of the Philippines. The company has a total of nine mills in the Philippines and Vietnam and their combined production has been estimated by a non-company source as exceeding 2.1 million metric tons annually.

Watch out for some new mill constructions by the company across Asia. It has long been reported to have looked at Indonesia as a possible mill site. The brewery group that is its parent corporation also describes animal nutrition interests in Thailand and China.

One location mentioned in a recent company announcement was closer home in the Philippines, however. It said San Miguel was taking 60% share of a joint venture with Japanese equity investor Toyota Tsusho to buy a grain terminal in the Luzon area of the country, near one of its feed mills that has an annual production capacity of over half a million metric tons.