Rakvere meatpacker could see overhaul, paper reports

  • 2006-01-18
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - The Finnish owner of Rakvere Lihakombinaat, a leading Estonian meatpacker, may concentrate all of its Baltic meat processing operations in the Baltic state, according to reports last week, as well as lay off several hundred workers in Finland.

The Finnish daily Turun Sanomat wrote last week that Ruokatalo, which has streamlined its operations in Finland and concentrated them at its Vantaa facility, was likely to begin reorganizing the Baltic side of its business next.

According to the paper, this will take place if shareholders give the new CEO, Kai Seikku, the green light for revamping the group's foreign operations. The paper wrote that the key to any future restructuring lies in Rakvere Lihakombinaat, a Soviet-era facility intended to supply the Baltic countries and the Leningrad Region.

After reconstruction Rakvere Lihakombinaat meets requirements of the European Union, and one opportunity would be to concentrate all Baltic meat processing to Rakvere like in Vantaa, the paper reported.

Atria, Ruokatalo's rival, has followed a similar path of centralization, having focused production in Nurmes.

The paper opined that Ruokatalo's owners must tackle the question about how to unify the group's Estonian and Finnish production. This, in turn, will depend on whether the group agrees to import Estonian meat and meat products to Finland.

Meanwhile, Olli Antniemi, company vice president, said the laying off of 500 people in Finland would not bring any growth in production volumes in Estonia. "What is being done in Finland will have no effect on our operations in the Baltic countries," Antniemi told the Baltic News Service. "We will keep the present structure and the number of employees we have," he added.

Antniemi refuted the report by Turun Sanomat that the company was reorganizing its Baltic operations.