German meat processor Toennies benefits from China, Asian demand

HAMBURG, March 6 (Reuters) - Leading German meat processor Toennies on Friday reported increased sales, with the company benefiting from rising demand from Asia, especially China.

Sales in 2019 by the privately owned company increased by 9.8% on the year to 7.3 billion euros ($8.24 billion), it said.

“Since autumn 2019 we have experienced a very strong rise in pig prices largely because of the high demand from Asia,” said chief executive Andres Ruff in a statement.

The disease African swine fever (ASF) has slashed China’s hog herd since August 2018, pushing Chinese pork prices to record highs, while reshaping global meat and feed markets as China and other Asian consumers increased imports.

Toennies said meat markets remain stable and it expected positive development in 2020.

“The demand for high quality meat coming from Asia, especially China, is having a positive impact on (sales) volumes and prices,” said the company.

But Asian countries, including China, regularly impose import bans on pork from regions where ASF has been discovered and German pig farmers fear China could impose a ban on German pigmeat even if the disease is only found in a wild boar, not a farm animal.

A case of the viral disease was discovered in a wild boar in Poland just 12 km from the German border in January.

“Naturally, this is an important theme for us but the situation has been quiet since the case was found so we are hoping things will remain sable,” a Toennies spokesman added. ($1 = 0.8855 euros) (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Robert Birsel)