22 October 1999

BOCMbuys out UPB Porcofram

FARMER-OWNED pig marketing group UPB Porcofram has been bought by feed compounder BOCM Pauls, a move claimed to give producers greater access to markets.

But UPB Porcofram was a founder member of another group with the same aim – United Pig Marketing. Its decision to leave comes just six months after the giant producer co-op was founded.

The two merging businesses will form a division of BOCM Pauls and will trade as Porcofram Marketing. This will sell about 2m pigs a year, almost 15% of the market, says BOCMs marketing and development director, Jonathan Farnhill. "The whole supply chain requires better management," he says. "The industry must supply the right pigs to the right processor on the right contract."

No UPB Porcofram spokesman was available for comment, but Mr Farnhill says the companys 260 farmer shareholders support the move. "Their reaction has been entirely positive."

Larger marketing groups carry more weight with buyers, he says. While that does not necessarily mean better returns, it will provide security of contract, he adds.

UPB Porcofram had been a main supplier to United Pig Marketing, providing a claimed 800,000 of the groups annual throughput of 3.25m pigs.

Nevertheless, UPM chairman, Robin Pooley, plays down the move, saying it will not unduly affect the business. "It is a short-term minus. UPB has been in a semi-detached area almost since the beginning. All other groups were farmer-controlled co-ops, it was a plc, so there was a slight conflict of principles."

UPM gained two other groups recently, AP and Linklean, and is in "deep discussions" with several others, says Mr Pooley. "We are in the business of gaining more pigs." &#42