More than for any other company, time is at the heart of the news and activity of Galina Perrot (€70 million turnover in 2022, 110 employees), which includes two day-old chick hatcheries intended for meat market, one in La Roche-Jaudy (Côtes-d’Armor), where the company’s headquarters are also located, and the other in Sourn, near Pontivy (Morbihan). The first is the largest in France, producing 1.9 million chicks per week. The second produces 850,000 chicks per week.
The time is first that of the transfer of power at the head of the family SME created in 1954 by Ernest Perrot, grandfather of the current manager Dominique Perrot. It was then developed by Michel Perrot, his father. Dominique Perrot, the third generation, handed over at the end of September, after 41 years within the company and 26 years at its head. A retirement which marks a new stage for the SME, after its sale in July 2017 to the Sarthe-based LDC group (€5 billion in turnover, 23,500 employees).
Dominique Perrot’s successor is the agronomist Bastien Godfrain, former head of the Sourn hatchery. The Costarmorican, who has been preparing his takeover for two years, inherits the management of Galina Perrot but also responsibilities in the strategic management of the two other LDC chick hatcheries: Galina Vendée and Galina Maine. “We ensure management, scheduling of breeders, adjustment of volumes…”, explains the new director.
The latest addition to the Galina fold, which has brought together the group’s chick hatchery activities under this name since 2020, Galina Maine (700,000 chicks per week) was purchased in May 2023. A question of opportunity but also of timing. “Our industrial tools were reaching saturation and we had defined, at the end of 2022, a program to expand the Sourn and Vendée hatcheries (with a production of 900,000 chicks per week, with a capacity of 1 million, it was bought at the bar of the court in January 2020, Editor’s note)”, says Dominique Perrot. “But we learned that Orvia wanted to divest itself of its chick business and seized the opportunity. We replaced this investment program with the acquisition of the Orvia Sèvre et Maine hatchery, which we renamed Galina Maine.” A tool which has a capacity of 1.2 million chicks per week, i.e. 3 times more than its production at the time of the takeover.
But investments have not disappeared from Galina Perrot’s schedule, which claims a national market share of 30%. Between 2020 and 2022, the SME renewed its incubators, hatchers and ventilation system for an investment of 4 million euros on the La Roche-Jaudy site. “We have gained in productivity, by improving hatching rates,” says Bastien Godfrain. “We also reduced the energy consumption of machines by 25% but this gain was erased by the increase in the price of electricity, which weighed less than 3% in 2020 and which is now approaching 5% of the figure. business”, remarks Dominique Perrot.
Autonomy and profits
Investments continue on the 10,000 m² covered site. Work to develop the car park accommodating the 17 vehicles belonging to the company, including twelve semi-trailers, was completed at the beginning of October, while the installation of a disinfection gantry is planned for the end of the year. “Ultimately, we also plan to expand our offices and create a washing station,” confides Bastien Godfrain.
As for the Morbihan site, 3 million euros over the next four years will be invested in the 6,000 m² building, in particular with the change in the roofing and insulation. “On average, we invest one million euros each year in the maintenance and renewal of equipment,” estimates Dominique Perrot.
However, LDC group companies only invest if their results allow them to do so. The Sarthe group leaves a large degree of autonomy to its subsidiaries but expects them to be profit centers. Which is therefore the case for Galina Perrot. “As in the agri-food sector, margins are low. It is very important to control your material balance and the productivity of tools to be profitable,” notes the newly retired.
A year and a half bet
Small points of profitability that are deserved, in an industry that requires anticipation and patience. And which does not lack surprises. “People who visit the hatchery are often surprised not to see any chicks there,” smiles the former manager. And for good reason, chicks are only found on the industrial site for a few hours in the morning. Once the eggs have hatched, the SME vaccinates and conditions the chicks before shipping them a few hours later to breeders specializing in broiler farming. Twenty-one days earlier, the eggs had arrived on site before being placed in incubation.
But this work carried out with the site’s 110 incubators, which have an incubation capacity of 7.5 million eggs, is not the only one carried out by the company. Well before this stage of hatching, a year and a half before to be precise, Galina Perrot bought chicks, “breeders”. Each of them will eventually produce offspring of 148 chicks. These animals are entrusted to specialized breeders, partners of the SME, who work according to its specifications.
The choice of species, between everyday chicken (75% of the total on average, which is mainly found in supermarkets and in out-of-home catering), moderate growth (20%, with firmer flesh) or labeled (like the Label Red), is decisive because it involves anticipating what consumer demand will be a year and a half later. The frequency of purchasing breeding stock is 15 days.
Galina Perrot’s direct clients are “production organizations”, cooperatives like Eureden or Le Gouessant, fattening structures like Volailles de Bretagne… The animals then go through the slaughterhouses before ending up in supermarkets, retail stores, restaurants or agri-food industries.