Atria offers antibiotic-free poultry as overall sales rise

Net sales in 2017 by the Finland-based company, Atria were just over EUR1.436 billion (US$1.771 billion at current exchange rates)—an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous year—while Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) were 28.6 percent higher at EUR40.9 million (US$50.4 million).

Den Boma, Bigstock
Den Boma, Bigstock

Net sales in 2017 by the Finland-based company, Atria were just over EUR1.436 billion (US$1.771 billion) — an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous year — while Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) were 28.6 percent higher at EUR40.9 million (US$50.4 million).

This growth was achieved by Atria through previous corporate acquisitions, and the organic growth of the firm’s own brands, particularly in Finland and Estonia, according to CEO Juha Gröhn. The firm was granted a license to allow it to break into the Chinese market with pork exports in 2017, and new product lines and sales channels in Russia have helped to transform Atria’s business there. Operations in Estonia have also improved.

Antibiotic-free ventures

Gröhn also highlighted Atria’s successful new product, introduced onto the Finnish market in the fall of 2017— chickens raised without antibiotics.

“The Finnish meat production method, and the health of Finnish animals are among the best in the world, but the consumers have not really been informed about it,” he said. “Now they will be.”

According to the company, Atria’s chicken production was already entirely free of antibiotics. Animals were only medicated when necessary, and only then under controlled conditions and in line with regulated withdrawal periods. The firm explains that it is responding to the growing demand in Finland for pure and safe food, and consumers’ particular concerns over antibiotics in animal production.

The scheme is also being applied to the firm’s pork products, followed by goat and beef.

Other business highlights

Volume and value of Atria’s poultry sales in Finland in 2017 were almost unchanged from the previous year, while Swedish sales were down 5.9 percent in volume and 3.7 percent in value.

In 2017, Atria has continued to invest heavily in the modernization of the Swedish poultry plant, a program that is scheduled for completion soon.

An extensive plan of investment to boost productivity and facilitate product traceability at Atria’s pig cutting plant in Nurmo was completed in 2017, and the firm’s production was transferred there from Jyväskylä. This year, a solar park is set to be completed for the facility. Atria Sun will provide around 5 percent of its power requirements during the summer, when demand for cooling is highest.

Last year’s annual report by Atria highlighted its acquisition of the Swedish poultry company Lagerberg I Norjeby AB (Lagerbergs), and a majority stake in Well Beef Kaunismaa Ltd., in helping to push up both sales and profit from 2015.

A Finland-based meat and food company, Atria has an international presence in the Nordic countries, Russia, and the Baltic region, with customers in the retail, food-service and food manufacturing sectors. It has around 4,450 employees.

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