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Media release

Basel, 13 April 2010

Fire at FRIGO's refrigerated warehouse On 27 March 2010, a fire broke out in one of the refrigerated warehouses of the Bell subsidiary Frigo St. Johann AG in Basel. Fortunately, no one was injured. However, because of heavy smoke development and the acute danger of collapse, the fire could only be extinguished after more than two weeks. The fire destroyed around 4,300 tonnes of frozen goods.

On 27 March 2010, a fire broke out at FRIGO's refrigerated warehouses numbers 3 and 4 in Basel. Fortunately, no one was injured. After more than two weeks, the fire has now been extinguished, but the fire brigade will remain on site for a while for security reasons. It proved to be extremely difficult to combat the fire pockets. The fire could not be extinguished from the inside of the building due to the development of smoke and the acute danger of collapse. By breaking through the walls of the refrigerated warehouses the smoke could escape and it became possible to fight the fire in a limited area from outside the building. The fire was caused by maintenance welding work done inside the building by a third-party company.

4,300 tonnes of goods destroyed The two refrigerated warehouses housed frozen meat and other frozen goods for Bell and third-party companies. A total of 4,300 tonnes of goods were stored in almost 10,000 pallet bays. The fire and its consequences destroyed all products. Much of the clearing and disposal have already been done. Due to the large volumes involved, the goods are being destroyed in various incineration plants in all of Switzerland.

Operations taken up again According to initial estimates, the total loss amounts to approximately CHF 80 million. The financial loss for Bell is estimated at around CHF 50 million, including the loss of goods, damage to buildings and equipment, and the costs for the interruption of business operations. These costs are fully covered by the insurance. In spite of the crisis, operations could be resumed two days after the fire broke out. By now Frigo St. Johann AG is fully functional again, and deliveries are made regularly.

Medienmitteilung Bell Holding AG


Due to the extent of the damage, refrigerated warehouse number 3 will have to be demolished, while the situation with regard to refrigerated warehouse number 4 is not yet clear. Possible demolition work will take several weeks. Whether, in what form and with which functions the storage facilities should be rebuilt is currently the subject of intense investigations.

Bell would like to thank the fire brigade, the police, the other helpers and its employees for their exemplary handling of this extraordinary and difficult situation. Thanks are also due to the local authorities for their support in managing this crisis. Due to the strong smoke development, the surrounding communities were much disturbed by smell. Bell regrets this situation and would like to apologise to the people who were affected.

About Frigo St. Johann AG Frigo St. Johann AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Group and serves as a full-service logistics hub for frozen and fresh products. Its activities include the storage, management and transloading of frozen and fresh products. Frigo is a one-stop provider of transit and cross-docking services as well as multi-level storage and retrieval services. It has its own railroad siding and open bonded warehouse. These services are provided by more than 60 employees and five refrigerated warehouses with a storage capacity of 30,000 pallet bays for frozen goods and 2,000 square metres of storage space for cold-storage products.

This media release can be accessed at The media releases on the fire at the refrigerated warehouse issued by the Office of the District Attorney for Basel-City are available at . Photos and more information on Bell Group can be found at

About Bell Bell is the largest Swiss meat processing company. Its range of products includes meat, poultry, charcuterie, seafood and convenience products. Bell counts the retail and wholesale trade, food service sector and food processing industry among its customers. In Europe, the French Groupe Polette and the German companies ZIMBO and Abraham belong to Bell Group. More than 6,500 employees generated consolidated sales of CHF 2.55 billion in 2009. Bell is listed on the Swiss stock exchange. For more information:

Media release Bell Holding Ltd

Davide Elia, Head of Marketing/Communication Tel. +41 61 326 2212; Bell Holding Ltd, P.O. Box 2356, 4002 Basel, Switzerland