Global meat giant Vion has blamed high purchasing costs and an oversupply of meat for a 57% fall in profits last year.

The Dutch producer yesterday announced turnover had risen 21% to €8.6bn in 2008 on the back of acquisitions and autonomous turnover growth. However, net profits fell 57% to €54m.

Vion blamed the “extremely disappointing” results on higher purchasing prices for raw materials and its inability to pass these costs through the supply chain as a result of the large global supply of meat. The low value of sterling and the US dollar also affected competitiveness, it added.

Vion said it was “moderately positive” about the year ahead but warned that both its customers and consumers would become increasingly price-conscious.

“We have clearly felt the impact of a worldwide economy which turned from being overheated to being supercooled in a short space of time,” said chairman Daan van Doorn.

In the UK Vion last year kicked off its Project Fusion strategy, which aims to integrate different divisions including Grampian, J&J Tranfield and Key Country Foods under the Vion Food UK umbrella. Vion has also made a number of job cuts in recent months as a result of the oversupply of meat in the market and a drive for efficiency.