Fur Prices Rise on Strong Global Demand
Pelts sell at record high prices at Saga Furs auction
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Saga Furs Oyj, a company established by Finnish fur producers, made the best results in its history of 73 years in the financial period from September 1st 2010 to August 31st 2011.The international fur auction held at the Fur Centre in Vantaa every spring and the annual auction held in Copenhagen are the largest fur auctions worldwide. In the spring auction of last year, the value of skins sold was more than EUR 250 million.
Even though financial crises have hit everywhere in the world, the fur business is doing better than ever before.
After last spring’s auction, the company found itself in the enviable position of having to issue a positive profit warning.
The company’s operating profit was EUR 14 million, with a net turnover of about EUR 50 million. The total sales of pelts – amounting to approximately EUR 600 million – also reached an all-time record. More than half of the sales proceeds were channelled into the Swedish-speaking rural areas of Ostrobothnia as export revenues.
For example Nykarleby (Uusikaarlepyy) in Central Ostrobothnia (pop. c. 7,000) was blessed with an income of EUR 54 million from the sales of pelts.
Already last year, the value of blue fox skins grew by 30 per cent from the previous auction.
Finnish fur producers account for 99 per cent of all blue fox skins sold worldwide, reports Jorma Kauppila, a fur farmer from Lohtaja and the Chairman of the Board of Saga Furs.
According to Kauppila, the unit price for a fox skin was EUR 125 in December.
”The price seems to be getting better, as the supply and demand situation has turned out to the seller’s advantage”, Kauppila notes.
About 70 to 80 per cent of all furs in the world are brown mink pelts. On Thursday, grey mink pelts were sold at the Fur Centre in Vantaa for EUR 50 to 120 apiece.
Around 300 of the roughly 500 buyers in Vantaa this week are from China, reflecting that country’s strong growth in the fur market, while other big players were seen from Korea, Russia, Turkey, Italy, and Greece.
The most valuable pelts are the skins of genetically-modified foxes, which are the prime products of Finnish crossbreeders. Some years ago, Chinese fur farmers tried to get a foothold in the fox market, but they had to throw in the towel.
”The genetically-modified foxes are a result of Finnish genetics know-how and Finnish fur farming expertise. We are proud of having at least this field in which we manage to outperform the Chinese”, Kauppila reports.
During an auction, Saga Furs employs about 1,000 people, while the average annual number of staff is about 250.
There are now about a thousand fur farms in Finland, while as recently as in the 1980s the number was about 5,000.
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