Analysis: Brexit heralds a new Dawn for meat sector
Dawn Meats is one of the biggest and most successful meat processors in Britain and Ireland.
So it is hardly surprising that it may be close to making an offer to buy Dungannon-based Dunbia.
Dawn, owned by the Queally and Browne families from Waterford, is one of those processors which can service the UK market from plants on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The big unknown in the sector is what happens after Brexit? If the UK introduces tariffs on Irish meat imports, large processors might find it easier to service large British customers from UK plants.
Dawn Meats has 3,300 staff through operations at 24 sites across Ireland, Britain and the Continent. Of those, 10 are in the UK. Group turnover is over €1bn but its profit and group margins are not known because the company is unlimited and doesn't have to file group accounts.
Dunbia has 4,000 staff at nine locations. Its biggest is in Dungannon, where it employs close to 1,000 staff. It has two plants in Wales, two in Scotland, two in England and two here. If Dawn were to buy the entire group, it would give it operations at seven more locations in the UK and a group that had a turnover of £787m last year.
Profit margins are notoriously thin in the sector and Dunbia had an operating profit margin of just 1.17pc. Profit before tax last year was £7.1m and net assets £63m.
One in five of all McDonalds burgers sold in Ireland, the UK and Europe comes from Dawn's Co Waterford plant, which is churning out 400m burgers a year.