As part of its international expansion plans, Czech pet food producer Vafo Praha has acquired Finnish company Kennelpakaste Oy, which specializes in making raw frozen pet food. 

The acquired company says it has been active in the country’s pet food industry since 1979, which makes it the Finnish sector’s oldest active company. Kennelpakaste posts revenues of about €1 million (U.S.$1.1 million) per year. The firm owns a production facility in Kilvakkala, in Finland’s south-western part, where it makes biologically appropriate raw food (BARF). 

“The Finnish plant produces dry animal parts and BARF. Investments into a substantial extension of its drying capacities are already on the way. This will multiply its current capacities,” said Petr Kříž, a member of the board of directors and head of mergers and acquisitions at Vafo. “We mainly plan to serve Scandinavia from this factory, but our idea is that certain wild local Finnish specialties, such as reindeer meat, will be exported throughout the European Union. BARF, on the other hand, will stay regional.”

Developments in small pet food markets

The latest takeover will provide Vafo, which says it is a producer of premium pet food, pet snacks and supplements, with easier access to the Finnish pet food market. The latter is estimated to be worth approximately U.S.$420 million per year, compared with the Czech pet food market’s annual value of about U.S.$333 million, according to data obtained by local business daily E15.

Established in 1994 and headquartered in Rudna, in the Czech Republic’s west, Vafo says it exports its products to some 70 countries worldwide and holds a significant market share in the Central and Eastern Europe region, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic States comprising Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The company’s flagship brand, Brit, was introduced in 1999. In 2017, Vafo reported revenues of more than €140 million (U.S.$156.6 million), according to the latest available data from the Czech business.

Vafo’s representatives say the company is the fifth fastest-growing pet food business globally and the 29th most valuable firm in the global pet food market, according to an analysis by market research firm Plimsoll.

(Editor’s note: According to Petfood Industry’s Top Pet Food Companies database, the Vafo Group, parent company of Vafo Praha, had revenues of U.S.$85.5 million in 2018 and ranked 48th globally, based on the best available data found during the latest database update.)