The chips manufacturer Altho Brets launches the renovation and extension of its historic factory in Saint-Gérand – Le Journal des Entreprises

It is an investment of several tens of millions of euros that Altho Brets (403 employees, €206 million turnover in 2022) at its historic site, Saint-Gérand, near Pontivy. Not wishing to reveal more precisely the amount of the investment envelope, the manufacturer will expand to 12 hectares, opposite its current site. “On this plot, we are going to build some 29,000 m² of buildings, facing the 32,300 m² of our current factory”, reveals Laurent Cavard, CEO of the company, a component of Alain Glon Holding. Altho will thus increase its production capacity by 6,000 tons, for a total of 31,000 tons compared to the existing one. The new plant should come into service in 2025. Among the major equipment of the future production tool is a stacker crane, a high-rise and automated storage warehouse. “It has a double interest. Its height reduces the footprint and its installation will mean that we are going to stop storing on other sites outside. These will be optimization gains and less flow of trucks”. 40 jobs will also be created with this second plant.

Demand greater than its production capacity

This investment also foreshadows the modernization of the current plant, which is 28 years old. The renovation phase should be completed in 2029. “We were cramped, so we are going to modernize, stay one step ahead of the flavored crisps that are our signature, gain in ergonomics, be more attractive also to recruit. Indeed, these works respond to Altho’s position on the market. “We are leaders in crisps in France, providing nearly 45% of the market, via our Brets brand but also distributor brands.” Altho works for all private labels, which provide it with more than 70% of its volumes. “Today, we are driven by the chips market in France, which posted growth of 4.4% in 2022.

Its Brets brand also follows the growth curve “with an increase in value of 2.4% last year.” Yesterday regional, the Brets brand is now gaining the whole of France.

In addition to Morbihan, Altho has a factory in Pouzin, Ardèche. “We built a sister plant in Saint-Gérand in 2014, an investment of 56 million euros. In 2020, we opened a second production line there. This site only manufactures distributor brands and covers a large quarter of south-eastern France.” Today, the manufacturer admits having a demand reaching 45,000 tonnes per year when its capacity is 42,000 tonnes. Altho also has a site in Portugal which produces for the Iberian market.

A network of 300 potato producers

The only independent and family player in France on its market, the Breton industrialist sells 89% in supermarkets, 5% in out-of-home catering and 5% for export such as Italy, Belgium and Japan. Created in 1995 to promote Breton potatoes, the company has chosen to set up a supply model that does not exist with other chips manufacturers. “We work with 300 farmers, from Brittany, Normandy, Rhône-Alpes, Vendée… We have set up fixed prices which we have increased recently to compensate for the drop in yields due to the drought, set up a loyalty bonus and we provide them with the tools (seeds, seedlings, uprooting).”

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