By FWi staff

THE biggest bacon merger ever in Denmark has put almost 80% of the countrys slaughtering capacity under the control of one company.

The union between Danish Crown and Vestjyske (West Jutland) has created one of worlds largest slaughtering and meat processing companies.

The alliance has been made to gain strategic opportunities, said a joint statement.

The future of Danish animal production is vital if the Danish meat industry is to continue its offensive on the world market, said the statement.

“This will require an ever greater effort, because our customers and competitors become bigger, and we are being faced with ever-stricter demands from our customers.”

The merger comes amid price pressure in the pork market which makes it advantageous for producers to join forces to safeguard their positions.

“The struggle for markets should be fought abroad, not between Danish farmers,” said the joint statement.

But Chris Lukehurst, pig marketing manager of the Meat and Livestock Commission, said he was unconcerned by the move.

Mr Lukehurst pledged to continue to improve the share of the market held by British pig producers.

Although the UK bacon market has been on the decline over the past few years, British bacon has increased its share from 49% to 52%, he noted.

“Theres no reason why this shouldnt continue,” added Mr Lukehurst.

Mr Lukehurst said that the MLC would do everything it could to try and stop the Danes gaining any market share.

Independent adviser Tim Warren said it was unclear why the Danes had made this move, because it was unlikely to improve the supply of Danish pigmeat into the UK.

“It will be more a rationalisation,” he said.

Following the Danish move to upgrade to UK standards, Mr Warren believes that the new company will close some of its older plants.

“Its a move to rationalise and control the market but not for more pigs to come into the UK,” he added.