Matines, the egg business of French agri-food group Avril, which supplies 16% of the eggs sold in French supermarkets, is winding down its loss-making activities after failing to find a buyer, potentially resulting in 114 job cuts, the company said.
A surge in grain prices - the main cost for feeding laying hens - strong competition and difficulty in passing on rising costs to clients were among the main reasons for the company's recurrent losses over the past years, a Matines spokesperson said.
Groupe Avril, a group created by oilseed farmers to develop their market, said last year it wanted to sell its animal processing units to focus on its plant-based businesses, which also include biodiesel, edible oil brand Lesieur and animal nutrition.
It sold its majority stakes in two pork firms to meat group Bigard in January but could not find a buyer for Matines able to ensure sustainable activities and jobs, it said.
Matines employees and unions were told about the decision on Thursday. The full stoppage of the company could happen in September, either by a sale or the closure of its units.
Major Egg Producer
The company used to sell about 900 million eggs per year out of the 5.5 billion sold in French supermarkets, the spokesperson said.
Matines has already received a commitment to take over its packaging centre through its animal nutrition branch Sanders, it said.
According to French media reports, the Matines business has made losses of around €114 million in recent years.