The reservation is in crisis. The agri-food group Cofigeo (William Saurin, Garbit, Raynal and Roquelaure, Zapetti, etc.) will temporarily halt production at four of its eight sites in France from January 2, 2023 due to rising energy prices, said chairman Mathieu. Thomaseau on Tuesday. And it is not the only group announcing shock measures.
What happens in the Cofigeo factories?
On January 2, 2023, four of the eight branches in France will close. This represents 80% of production and will impact 800 of the group’s more than 1,200 employees who will be subject to a long-term partial activity agreement (APLD). For how long ? That’s the big question. “The goal is for it to be as short as possible,” said Mathieu Thomazeau.
The affected sites are Pouilly-sur-Serre (02), Lagny-sur-Marne (77), Capdenac (12) and Camaret-sur-Aigues (84).
Why this closure?
“We can no longer bear the waves of inflation that eventually overwhelm us,” explains Mathieu Thomazeau.
These measures were taken to “cope with the spectacular increase in energy costs (gas and electricity necessary for cooking and sterilizing ready meals), which will multiply by 10 from the beginning of the year” , specifies in a press release the group, whose energy label at 1is January would “go from 4 million to 40 million euros overnight”.
Added to this is the inflation of “food and industrial raw materials” used by Cofigeo, in particular beef, pork, tomatoes, but also packaging and transport, the group further explains.
Is this the only group suffering from the crisis?
No. For example, the renowned Duralex glass factory announced in September that it would have to put its furnace on standby for at least four months from November at its historic factory in Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin in the Loiret and put all of its employees on partial unemployment in order to save energy and to maintain his finances. Faced with the excitement, he was granted a loan of 15 million euros by the state “to help him through the winter”.
“There were already tensions this summer around the price of steel for cans,” Olivier Dauvers explained to us at the end of September.agricultural engineer and specialist in distribution and consumption. The price of cardboard is under pressure, with manufacturers no longer able to deliver the packaging ordered. Factories stop producing because it is too expensive in terms of electricity, gas… it is no longer profitable. »
“Energy was our second cost item. It is now the first,” Pascal Hamon, industrial director of sugar producer Cristal Union, assures LSA. Sugar, produced from beets or sugar cane, is a very energy-intensive industry. Such as coffee, spirits, milk powder, frozen products, greenhouse horticulture, preserves, delicacies, etc.
Some canneries have already announced that they only operate three days a week.
Prices for canneries, dairies, sugar factories and other food production companies have increased by 350% for electricity and 380% for natural gas respectively in one year. According to Le Figarothe energy bill of the Breton group Sill (Petit Basque, Malo, etc.) has increased by 800% since 2021. The sector federation warns that some now prefer butter or powder production to the detriment of drying or drying operations. , very energy intensive.
Will it last?
Olivier Dauvers is clear: “Yes, as long as the energy costs are so high, you will have problems with the packaging and therefore with the delivery. In this situation, many companies prefer not to produce, to shut down the factory. And the alternative is much more expensive products. »
Because, in addition to the war in Ukraine, this summer’s drought has led to a drop of up to 50% in the harvest of open-field vegetables (green beans, peas, flageolet beans, etc.).
According to the Ania barometer, energy prices have increased by 57%. However, 71.43% of the agricultural and food industry (IAA) is heavily dependent on electricity. And 55.65% is highly dependent on gas.
Especially since this can lead to a domino effect: if companies close even temporarily, they need fewer raw materials, so fewer purchases from farmers and breeders.
What can companies do?
“The problems are there and they will not disappear overnight, Frédéric Abitbol, president of the National Council of Judicial Officers, analyzed in mid-November in mid-November. The goal, to overcome them, is to save time first. Because time is the ability to react, to reorganize and thus to rebalance balance sheets and income statements. »
Rescheduling debts, negotiating contributions of new money, reorganizing work, “for example by negotiating with the unions to work more at night, when energy costs less”… “That’s what the prevention procedures are: get all stakeholders around the table, so that to solve crises and support the industrial fabric of the country,” continues Frédéric Abitbol.
Industries in the sector are calling for gas and electricity prices to be capped, as they are for private individuals, so that there is no risk of outages (dairies, for example, would then have to throw away all their milk stock, for safety and health reasons), and to simplify administrative facilitating procedures for energy independence projects. Because the sector is now completely greening towards “green” energy independence: methanizers to recover biogas, solar panels, furnace with reclaimed wood, etc.