De Heus continues on asset trail in Spain

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock/rakim
© istock/rakim
It appears there is no letup in the interest of Dutch group, De Heus, in the Spanish feed market. This week saw it sign off on an agreement for the acquisition of the Spanish feed company, Piensos Unzué.

That manufacturer, based in Navarra, has a production capacity of around 200,000 tons per year, and a strong position in the ruminant feed market in the northeast of the country, said the Dutch feed group.

De Heus said the deal would reinforce its leadership in the compound feed sector in that region as well as strengthen its dealer network there. The acquisition also sees it acquire a pet food brand, Canun.

The Dutch feed manufacturer now has an extensive network of feed production facilities in Spain, and has previously outlined its ambition to become a dominant feed player on the Iberian Peninsula.

"Our total capacity in Spain now is more than one million tons,"​ a spokesperson for De Heus told us. 

De Heus first entered the Spanish market in November 2015, when it acquired leading Iberian feed producer, Nuter, from a private equity group. That deal included the 12 plants operated by Nuter across Spain and Portugal with the production sites strategically located near the biggest livestock farming areas.

In March last year, it bought Spanish compound feed manufacturer, Acorex, which expanded its footprint in the region of Extremadura, where cattle farming is strong.

De Heus also has facilities in Aranda de Duero (Burgos), Benavente (Zamora), Colloto (Asturias), Porriño (Pontevedra), Llerena (Badajoz), Lugo, San Pedro de Nós (A Coruña), Silla (Valencia), Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) and Ubeda (Jaén).

Spanish market

De Heus said it expects that the Spanish feed market with grow sightly in the coming years. 

Spain is the seventh largest feed market globally after China, the US, Brazil, Russia, Mexico and India, according to the 2018 Alltech global feed survey.

The Spanish market, thought, is somewhat of the odd man out in Europe as the majority of feed is produced by vertically integrated animal protein producers, noted Rabobank in a June 2017 review of the European feed market​. Independent feed production in Spain accounts for only 40% of the market.

“Operational efficiency improvement of the country’s 820 feed mills is the key challenge here,”​ said the analysts.

That report showed Spain tops the European league table of pig feed producing countries, coming in at 9.9m tons in terms of volume output in 2016, against Germany at 9.6m tons, the Netherlands at 5.3m tons and France 5m tons.

Spain also leads in terms of the principal EU cattle feed producing countries – Rabobank’s data for 2016 shows Spanish cattle feed output was 7.4m tons compared to the 6.5m tons produced in Germany, the 5.4m tons in France, and the 5.4m tons in the UK.

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