The meat transformation company, Carmonti, based in Montijo, has invested about 20 million Euro to rebuilt the plant that was destroyed by a fire in August of last year.
In less than six months, the company rebuilt the plant, which is already fully operational, and is inaugurating a new industrial complex by the end of the year. “The reconstructed area has about six thousand square metres. With the new complex, the industrial infrastructure will have eight thousand square meters”, revealed Sónia Ferreira, Carmonti’s administrator, to HIPERSUPER. She further added that this expansion will create 100 jobs by the end of 2014. Currently, the plant directly employs about 200 workers.
The plant, which has more than 30 years, is now equipped with “state-of-the-art machinery”. The goal is to “increase production capacity”, enter “new product categories”, and make the business more “competitive”.
The meat transformation company currently distributes fresh meat in bulk and smoked meat to large and traditional stores. When the new complex is ready, Carmonti will launch new products and enter in new categories, specifically the sliced and canned meat.
“In the case of canned meat, we will focus mainly on exporting using the Carmonti brand. We want to start by exporting to international markets and analyse the acceptance. Then, we will naturally begin to work with the national market. For sliced meat, we will do the opposite. We will start with the Portuguese market, specifically with traditional stores such as charcuterie and butcher shops”.
The company based in Montijo exports frozen pork in bulk to almost all European countries and to China. Transformed products are exported to Angola. “We have a long-time partners in Angola and we will be exporting our new canned products to Angola and to the US, which are countries where there are large Portuguese communities. We have also requested an audit so we can begin to export to Brazil and Chile, because Portugal and Chile are strengthening their trade relations.”
Carmonti was born 29 years ago, but the Ferreiras are only managing the company since 2009, when it was bought by a group of 17 partners. “We have been operating in this market since my grandfather’s age, we have always owned companies
in this business area.” When they bought Carmonti, the Ferreiras found a company “with multiple structural and financial problems and rudimentary and obsolete facilities.” So, when the fire happened, in August 2013, the infrastructure was practically new. We invested in new machinery and improved the slaughter area, but the fire destroyed everything.” Despite the incident, the company kept its workers and they volunteered to help with the reconstruction works. In four years (2009 to 2012), Carmonti increased its turnover to 52 million Euro. Last year, the company had made 40 million Euro by August, when the fire destroyed the facility. “When the new industrial complex becomes fully operational, and considering the evolution of the company up to 2013, we expect to make 100 million Euro next year.”
Sónia Ferreira estimates that export, which currently represents about 30% of the turnover, should grow 20% by the end of this year. Carmonti slaughters about six thousand pigs per week, which should increase “significantly” when the new industrial complex is operational. Raw materials are bought from pig farmers from many regions of Portugal, but mostly from the area of Leiria. The future of this company is now in the hands of Sónia Ferreira, 38 years, and her brother José Ferreira, 43 years.