In Carhaix, the Chinese group Synutra has been content since March 2019 to package infant milk powder produced by Sodiaal for China. As a result of significant milk payment delays (coupled with heavy penalties), uno transaction had made the French dairy cooperative the new owner of this working tool built three years earlier by the Chinese.
Since then, new tensions have arisen between Synutra and its supplier Nutri’Babig, a subsidiary of Sodiaal. “Their outstanding amount is 12.4 million euros. If they exceed it, we temporarily suspend deliveries for the time they pay. It could have happened for a day, ten days and even a month, ”explains Jean-Paul Prigent, president of Sodiaal producers for the West.
Specific analyzes for Covid
For all that, is the future of the factory which employs 130 people in question? “There is no question of closing the site or of touching the employees,” says the director of the Synutra group France, Christian Mazuray. At the most, production should slow down. “We have just learned that China is demanding new analyzes on packaging to avoid contamination by Covid. It will not make production more fluid. But there was no question for a single second of closing the plant. We are currently producing at the same rate as last year at the same time, or even a little better, ”comments Christian Mazuray, who denies having had a visit from the Chinese manager of Synutra in recent days. “Mr. Liang Zhang is also still the CEO of the group”, comments the boss of Synura France.
No worries about the production of infant powder
Could Synutra’s recurring difficulties linked to a complex Chinese market endanger the Nutri’Babig infant production plant and its 229 employees? “We have other clients,” remarked calmly Jean-Paul Prigent. “Synutra was supposed to take 28,000 tonnes a year from us. It only made 22,000 t last year. But we sell our infant milk powder to Egypt, Morocco, the Middle East… ”, says the breeder.
Neither Laurent Bridon, CGT delegate from Synutra, nor Stéphane Folloroux from Nuri’Baby seem worried about the fate of jobs either. Knowing that if Synutra ever withdraws from Carhaix, Sodiaal could recover this efficient packaging site for its products.