High prices force New Hope Group's move away from pigs


By Mark Godfrey, GlobalMeatNews



Chinese agricultural conglomerate New Hope appears to be rethinking plans for domination of the pig sector as it reduces the number of pigs it aims to breed in the next year.


Based in the country’s south west region, New Hope wants to cut the projected number from five million to 3.5 million next year due to the high cost of buying in piglets. New Hope believes it can reduce breeding costs by an average of RMB11-RMB12 per kg per pig by breeding its own piglets.


That was according to a briefing company chairperson Liu Chang gave on a recent conference call with stock analysts covering the firm’s listed arm, the Qingdao New Hope Liuhe Co. The price of piglets has not dropped at the same rate as pig prices since 2016, senior New Hope management told the analysts, who represented China’s leading stockbroking firms.


However, the company is aiming for a kill of 18 million pigs in 2021 – almost double current numbers – as it ramps up outsourcing to contracted farmers. New Hope claims to be 25% self-sufficient in pig raising, with the rest sourced from contracted farmers. It has made much of agreements with local governments to build breeding programmes and contract farming deals to help reduce rural poverty.


New Hope kills nine million pigs per year​


As China’s top producer of animal feed by volume, New Hope has attempted to improve its earnings and margins by expanding into pork and poultry processing. In doing so, it aims to compete with Guangdong Wen’s, the country’s leading producer of pigs (and a feed provider). Margins on feed are tight, at RMB0.30-RMB0.50 per kilo. The net profit per pig averages RMB100 at an RMB14/kg kill-out, according to New Hope.


Listed among the world’s top five animal feed companies by sales, New Hope is China’s leading privately owned agribusiness firm, with more than 80,000 employees, an annual kill of nine million pigs, and hundreds of subsidiaries across the value chain.


The New Hope boss also pointed to the potential in further consolidation of China’s pork sector...