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Saturday 3 December 2016

Concerns raised over ABP's move to take 50pc stake in Slaney Foods

Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30

ABP’s bid to acquire 50pc of Slaney Foods would give it 28pc of the national beef kill
ABP’s bid to acquire 50pc of Slaney Foods would give it 28pc of the national beef kill

Concerns have been raised with the competition watchdog over the move by Larry Goodman's ABP Group to take a 50pc stake in Slaney Foods.

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The ICSA has writen to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission requesting that farmer representative groups be consulted as part of the examination of the business move.

ICSA president Patrick Kent said any reduction in the number of "independent outlets" involved in cattle kill must be examined by the Commission.

He said that Slaney was the main competitor to ABP for Hereford and Angus beef and queried what impact this would have on competition in the sector.

"Farmers are very worried that this merger will be used to drive prices even lower," said Mr Kent.

"Most farmers associate the difficulties in getting better prices with the dominance of the ABP, Dawn and Kepak groups.

"This merger further consolidates the cattle trade in a small circle which leaves the farmer in an extremely vulnerable position."

The move would also see ABP enter the sheepmeat market as Slaney Foods includes Irish Country Meats (ICM) in addition to the Slaney International beef business.

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The ABP Group will invest in Slaney Foods for an undisclosed sum to form a joint venture with Linden/Fane Valley.

ABP stated business will continue as usual on sites operated by Slaney - which accounts for 6pc of the national cattle kill - and ICM which delivers around 40pc of the sheep kill.

ABP processes 22pc of the beef kill and this deal, if approved, will consolidate its position as the country's largest processor.

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