Vafo Group opens Czech pet food plant, invests in Finland

A leading European pet food producer, Vafo Group is investing in a new Czech Republic factory and expanding into other countries through acquisitions.

Vafo Group recently opened a new pet food production facility in Číčenice, in the Czech Republic’s southern part. l Courtesy of Vafo Group
Vafo Group recently opened a new pet food production facility in Číčenice, in the Czech Republic’s southern part. l Courtesy of Vafo Group

Czech pet food producer Vafo Group is continuing its efforts to increase the company’s output capacities in both its domestic market and other European countries, with new products slated to be launched this year, according to senior company representatives.

Petr Kříž, a member of the board of directors and head of mergers and acquisitions at Vafo Group, told Petfoodindustry.com that the pandemic did not slow down the company’s growth, as the pet food industry has proven resistant to the negative impacts of COVID-19.

In the Czech Republic, Vafo Group recently launched a new fresh meat factory in Číčenice, an investment worth about €35 million (US$42.5 million). The production line has an output capacity of about 50,000 tons per year, with an option to boost the capacity threefold. “We will be introducing new products from this line very soon,” Kříž said.

Fitted with a total surface of 15,000 square meters, the Czech plant is operated by a workforce of 60 employees, the pet food maker said in a statement.

“The new factory will be used for fresh meat recipes, high-meat, grain-free, veterinary diets, monoprotein and organic for Vafo’s Brit, Carnilove, Prima Cat, Hau Hau and Christopherus brands, as well as for private label services,” the statement said. “The first planned launch featuring the new properties is the pure fresh-meat dog food called Carnilove True Fresh, which will appear in markets in early 2021.”

Pet food acquisition aids expansion to Nordic region

Vafo Group is also developing its presence in the Nordic countries with its recent acquisition of Finnish pet food producer Prima Pet Premium Oy. The company plans to invest between €7 and €8 million (US$8.5 to US$9.7 million) to build a new dry pet food factory in Ikaalinen in southern Finland. Under the plan, the project will create at least 25 to 30 new jobs. The group aims to begin construction work on the new facility shortly, according to Kříž. The first production lines will be launched in 2022.

“The factory investment in Ikaalinen will significantly increase the supply of domestically produced dry food in grocery stores,” Prima Pet Premium Oy said in a statement. 

Once the project is completed, the new plant will be the largest dry pet food factory in the Finnish market, according to the statement.

Further European market expansion

Other foreign expansion projects by Vafo Group include its acquisition of a stake in U.K. dog food producer Pooch & Mutt last December. “Within next two years, we will gradually become its 100% owner,” Kříž said.

With consolidated sales of more than €260 million (US$315.8 million), Vafo Group operates offices and production facilities in six European countries, according to data from the pet food business.

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