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Poco Loco production facility in Roeselare Belgium

Paulig Group has carried out a pre-study of the overall tex-mex chips production capacity within the group. Based on this Santa Maria AB, a division within Paulig Group, will investigate the preconditions for a possible relocation of the tex-mex chips production from Mölndal, Sweden, to Roeselare, Belgium. Union negotiations will begin in Sweden March 11.

Santa Maria’s taco factory in Mölndal produces more than 5,000 tonnes of tacos, chips and taco shells annually. Continued tex-mex chips production in Mölndal would require significant investments in the machinery and the facility in the coming years. The Mölndal plant currently employs a staff of 81 in three shifts.

“The employees are doing a great job, and the efficiency of the factory has improved steadily in recent years. However, we have been considering alternative solutions for a few years now as we will have to invest in both machinery as well as the factory property in the future. So far we haven’t found any economically viable solutions. As there is free capacity in this segment within Paulig Group, we need to investigate this possibility,” says Johan Sundelin, Managing Director of Santa Maria AB and Head of World Foods & Flavouring division of Paulig Group.

The negotiations will concern the preconditions for a possible transfer of the tex-mex chips production to Paulig Group’s Snack Food division’s factory in Roeselare, Belgium. The Roeselare plant produces approximately 40,000 tonnes of chips and tacos per year, and there is currently capacity for the production of also the Santa Maria tex-mex chips products without the need for significant new investments. The Snack Food division currently employs a staff of 400 in Belgium, of which 320 work in production. The plant manufactures chips, tacos, wrap and tortilla products.

Based on this, Santa Maria AB is launching negotiations with union representatives in Sweden on the preconditions for a possible relocation of the tex-mex chips production to Belgium, which would also mean that the staff would be invited to work in Belgium as the production in Mölndal would be discontinued. These negotiations are expected to continue all spring in parallel with the Group’s evaluation process.

“The process is at a very early stage, but it is clear that a possible transfer of the production would affect the employees. This is something that obviously would be subject to union negotiations. I fully understand the uncertainty that employees feel, but we must have respect for the ongoing investigation and negotiation process,” says Johan Sundelin.