Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD and Wexford Senator Michael D'Arcy met with a senior delegation of Carrefour Belgium who were visiting the Wexford based Irish Country Meats and Slaney Foods on Friday 26th July.
Senator Michael D'Arcy and Minister Michael Noonan pictured with the Carrefour delegation and Irish Country Meats in Wexford.
During the visit, which was instigated by Senator D'Arcy, Minister Noonan expressed Ireland’s gratitude to the Carrefour executives for their support of the Irish agri-food industry and outlined the importance of the agricultural sector to the Irish economy. Carrefour Belgium are already a significant customer of the Irish Country Meats’ owned Lonhienne business in Liège Belgium from where the Carrefour business is served with Irish lamb. Slaney Foods is North Wexford's largest employer with 700 people employed in total. They have invested €25 million in their three plants over the last 12 months demonstrating tremendous business confidence in their business and the markets they supply.
A world leader in the retail sector, the Carrefour Group is ranked as the second largest retailer in the world and the largest in Europe. Carrefour now operate in three continents: Europe, Latin America and Asia with a presence in more than 30 countries. The group generated €76.7 billion net sales in 2012 and employ over 360,000 people worldwide. Carrefour entered the Belgium market in 1969 through a strategic alliance with GB Group. Operating over 700 stores across 3 formats, Carrefour BE are the third largest retailer in Belgium with an 18.4% share of the grocery market.
Joe Hyland, Managing Director of Irish Country Meats commented that it was profoundly encouraging to Irish business and specifically to our business in Wexford that a very busy Minister found time to meet the Carrefour delegation adding his voice of support to developing business relations with Europe's largest retail group. Mr Nicolas Bonnetot, Fresh Food Director Carrefour expressed his appreciation for the meeting which he viewed as being very positive in the context of building sustainable supply relationships with Ireland. Speaking after the visit Senator D'Arcy said, "In tough economic conditions it is hugely encouraging to see such an important local employer doing so well. Irish Country Meats and Slaney Foods have developed sustainable and profitable trading partners abroad, such as Carrefour, requiring them to expand their operations and employ more people at home - they are an excellent example of Ireland's thriving agri-food sector. It is our job in Government to provide successful enterprises like them with a pro-trade business environment and I look forward to their continued international success".