Eight months after the cessation of production of frozen pizzas at the Buitoni factory in Caudry (North), implicated in contamination by bacteria Escherichia coliin March 2022, which caused the death of two children and the poisoning of around fifty others, a glimmer of hope has just been rekindled for this territory, which has 22% unemployed.
The Swiss group Nestlé announced, Monday, November 13, that it was “exclusive negotiations” with Italpizza “ for a factory acquisition project »which could be finalized in 2024. The transalpine group, which posted a turnover of 167 million euros in 2021, presents itself as “ the leading international producer of frozen pizzas » marketed in fifty-five countries under its own brand or under distributor brands.
In 2020, the company based in Modena (Italy) and owned by the Dreamfoods holding company acquired the Spanish industrialist Pizza artesana Malgrat, near Barcelona, and an Italian company in difficulty, Antico Forno. Italpizza currently has five production sites in Italy and, therefore, one in Spain, and employs 1,600 people.
Negotiations with Nestlé began in the wake of the sudden announcement of the closure of the Caudry factory. Shut down, it nevertheless partially reopened in mid-December 2022, after upgrades financed by the Swiss giant to the tune of 2 million euros. The line producing frozen raw pizzas under the Fraîch’Up brand, implicated in the poisoningE.coliwas not allowed to film again.
For the employees of the Caudry Food Products Company (SPAC) – better known by the name “Buitoni factory” – it was therefore a total surprise when Nestlé announced that it would cease all activity in March 2023. The Ministry of the economy quickly mobilized on this issue, which seemed rather poorly underway. “ We have been very firm with Nestlé”ures Roland Lescure, the delegate minister responsible for industry, whose services worked with the cabinet commissioned by the Swiss group to find a credible industrialist.
When the closure was announced, Nestlé ured that it had taken this decision due to the impossibility of selling its Buitoni pizzas, tainted by the health scandal. He also mentioned more general difficulties in the frozen pizza market in Europe. But, for Italpizza, the takeover of Caudry is an opportunity not to be missed, at a time when the Italian group plans to expand its production capacities to develop in northern Europe..
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