‘Historic’ day as Atria closes China pork deal

Atria hopes to export around 3,000 tonnes of pork to China this year

Finnish food company Atria has penned a contract to start trading large volumes of pork with China, a milestone the meat processor’s CEO described as “historic”.

Atria Finland Ltd signed a contract with Chinese counterparts this week to begin the process of exporting its first shipment of pork to China. The business, which claims to be one of the largest food companies in Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic region, expects to export around 3,000 tonnes (t) of frozen pork to China this year.

Atria Group CEO Juha Gröhn called the deal a “historic moment” for the company as it looks to expand. Atria’s Nurmo pork processing plant in Finland is the only company site to receive an export licence from Chinese officials.

The impact of the China deal on Atria’s net sales is not yet clear.

"We have reached an agreement with our Chinese customers of the first deliveries of meat to China – this is a historic moment for Atria,” said Gröhn in a press statement.

Decade-long deal

Negotiations with customers are progressing well and the first large-scale delivery is a promising start to long-term cooperation. We will report the economic impact of China’s export trade in our interim reviews during the year.

In October 2016, Atria confirmed it had reached an agreement with Chinese authorities to have its flagship pork production site in Nurmo licensed to ship frozen pigmeat to China. Agreeing a food trade deal with the Communist country is a notoriously protracted process and Atria had been in talks with China for over a decade.

The frozen pork products shipped to China include pig trotters, tongues, belly, loin and breast. The first delivery will reach mainland China in early May.

Atria has a turnover of around €1.4bn which the business claims makes it the protein market leader in Finland. The business also employs over 5,000 staff across Finland, Sweden, Russia and a number of Baltic states.

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