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19 juni 2023 Reading time 2 minutes

10 years of Pavo and ForFarmers: 'Horse health always comes first'

It has been 10 years since Pavo became part of ForFarmers. A lot has happened in these ten years and Pavo has made huge leaps in terms of development in several areas. "But in everything we do, the health of the horse comes first," says Pavo director Aart Freriks. Pieter Wolleswinkel, CEO of ForFarmers, agrees and adds: "Pavo has grown into one of the growth engines of our company in recent years." 

In 2013, Pavo became part of ForFarmers with the acquisition of Hendrix, something that both Freriks and Wolleswinkel were not involved in. They only later became part of ForFarmers/Pavo. Wolleswinkel started at ForFarmers Germany in 2014 as director of the North business unit and is now CEO over the whole of ForFarmers. He says: "Pavo has always been special within ForFarmers, somewhat of an ‘odd duck’ in our farming business. The horse sector has undergone enormous development. It comes from a situation where every farmer behind the pig barn also had a horse that had to be fed and, in the meantime, there has been an enormous professionalization in this sector. PAVO has responded enormously to this. The horse sector is increasingly distant from farmers. The 'horse' department was never a core business at ForFarmers but that has now changed. In the last strategy session, Pavo was named as a growth engine under the company. Pavo contributes to ForFarmers' operating results." 

Freriks also remembers that the word 'horse' did not really mean anything within ForFarmers in the early years after the takeover. Freriks himself has been employed by ForFarmers, as director of Pavo, since 2017 and he has seen a considerable shift. "Shortly after the takeover in 2013, ForFarmers did not know what to do with horses. In the business strategy set up in 2013/2014, the word 'horse' did not appear. In 2022, after the recalibration of the ForFarmers strategy, the 'horse' is now an important part of the future. In recent years, Pavo has 'delivered' what was agreed in accordance with the plan and has thus become a fixed value."  

After taking office, Freriks initially overhauled the organisational structure at Pavo. "Clear functions, clear responsibilities, decisiveness and a good consultation structure. That's the basics. It is great to see that we contribute to the development of people, young and old. We have grown as a brand, in revenue and in profit contribution. Major steps have been taken in Germany in particular, including the acquisition of Mühldorfer.  Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Spain are also much more connected to us." 

Of course, he recognizes there are also challenges and there must be. "The integration of Mühldorfer, and also the relocation of the warehouse in 2021, has demanded a lot from the team." 

When asked about the challenges, Wolleswinkel mentions the same topics and adds hyperinflation and the enormous increase in raw material prices. Wolleswinkel says: "The great thing about Pavo is that there is a very strong team that always puts its shoulder to the wheel. They have a good mindset and think in solutions. That's a real strength of this team." 

Both men still see plenty of opportunities for the future. "We are going to build an even better company," says Freriks. "In England and France, for example, there are still plenty of opportunities to grow and we have recently set foot in Italy." Pavo is also constantly looking for innovation in terms of portfolio. "We do a lot of research and also closely follow developments elsewhere in the horse world. We continue to adapt our portfolio to what is going on in the market. The health of the horse is always paramount in the development of our products. We are learning more and more, which also enables us to make better and more suitable products." 

Wolleswinkel also sees these opportunities. "Pavo is an A-brand. The health of the horse is really our priority. I see growth potential, both in the product portfolio and for our position in certain countries. This can be independent growth, but also growth realized through acquisitions. I am also very curious about what digitization will do, for example sales via Amazon." 

Finally, Wolleswinkel says that he is proud of a brand like Pavo within ForFarmers. "Pavo is very different in approach from our other brands, but it is a very nice brand to have within ForFarmers. It is a very independent group that are responsible for themselves but are part of ForFarmers. Together we have a very good future ahead."