ForFarmers further expands its presence in the UK

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Europe, Netherlands

ForFarmers further expands its presence in the UK
Dutch livestock feed group, ForFarmers, which operates in the UK through subsidiary BOCM Pauls, is continuing its European consolidation strategy by acquiring feed co-product company Wheyfeed for £5 million ($6.8m)

Wheyfeed produces more than 200,000 tons of liquid feed a year using co-products from the food, drink and bioethanol industries.

The company, which operates a fleet of 35 liquid tankers, had revenues of around €12.52m in 2013.

Iain Gardner, chief operating officer for ForFarmers UK, said the new feed asset will enable the Dutch company to offer nutrition products in all forms to the ruminant and monogastric markets.

Liquid co-products sourced from the food, drink and biofuel industries form an important part of many livestock farmers’ nutritional inputs.

The animal feed sector provides the food industry with a highly sustainable market for these materials,” ​he added.

UK feed co-product sector shrinking

Ed Brouwer, head of the feed co-product division at Agrifirm, which recently sold its James & Son UK co-product business to a subsidiary of Dutch group Royal Cosun, told us:

The co-product feed market in the UK is changing rapidly with increasing consolidation there aping a similar trend in Europe a few years back.

The larger operators are aiming to swallow-up some of the smaller-scale businesses in the sector.”

ForFarmers has been bent on consolidation in Europe for some time.

February saw it acquire another UK firm, the ruminant and poultry compound feed maker, HST Feeds, which is based in Cheshire and sells approximately 140,000 tons of feed annually.

“As we have seen in other parts of the country, the livestock sector in the North West has consolidated over recent years and is now characterized by committed, professional producers.

ForFarmers will continue to play its leading role in the consolidation of the animal feed sector, both in the UK and in continental Europe,”​ said Gardner at the time.

In 2012, ForFarmers acquired the Hendrix nutrition business in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany from Nutreco and the BOCM Pauls business in the UK. 

These two acquisitions put the Dutch firm into the leading position of European compound feed producers with a total feed sales volume of 8.6m MT, 2,200 employees and a turnover of €2.6bn. 

Consolidation to ensure low costs ​ 

SNS Securities, in a November 2012 report on ForFarmers, outlined how the Dutch group is present in markets with low underlying growth rates – the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK – one of the main factors triggering the drive to consolidate. 

Mergers and acquisitions, said SNS Securities, offer the company the potential for synergies in production and logistics, leverage of R&D know-how and to a lesser extent in purchasing. 

And the report noted how the compound feed market in Europe was fragmented: “Based on the EU-27, ForFarmers as the leading compound feed producer ‘only’ has a market share of 4.3%. The top 10 producers together have a market share of 24%." 

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