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Independent.ie

Saturday 10 December 2016

Dawn keeps watching brief on Brexit campaign

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

CEO of Dawn Meats Niall Browne
CEO of Dawn Meats Niall Browne

Dawn Meats is keeping a close eye on the Brexit referendum campaign in the UK as the company holds concerns about the impact of an exit, according to the firm's boss Niall Browne.

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Mr Browne said strong efforts were underway with Bord Bia, the Agriculture Department and Meat Industry Ireland (MII) to try and open new markets, including China and the US.

However, the Dawn CEO said in the event of the UK leaving the EU, their farmers would be "negotiating from scratch" which would be a major concern for them.

"We're obviously watching it very closely, we'd be concerned about the outcome," said Mr Browne who was one of the judges at a recent UCD Agri-Food debate.

"But we also see there are a lot more opportunities for Irish beef in the rest of Europe. So we've a big UK business and a big Irish business, we feel that whichever way the vote goes thre will be as much opportunity as challenges."

Mercosur

Amid warnings Mercosur discussions are picking up pace, Mr Browne stressed the world trade agreements currently being discussed such as the South American deal and TTIP can have a major impact on trade.

Mr Browne said more consolidation was needed within the meat industry, as the firm claimed its move to buy a 49pc stake in France's second biggest beef producer Elivia has worked well.

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It comes as ABP Group and Fane Valley Co-op recently confirmed their proposed 50:50 joint venture with Slaney Foods will be assessed by the EU merger watchdog.

"We would say there needs to be consolidation in the meat industry in order to compete with the bigger players around the world. Businesses need to be bigger and stronger," he said. "We continue to see more of that throughout Europe."

Last year saw the world's largest meatpacker, Brazil's JBS, buy Northern Ireland's poultry producer Moy Park in a €1.32bn deal.

On the issue of heavier carcasses, Mr Browne said they had flagged up that they wanted carcasses below 420kg over four years ago.

He said there would be no change on that and they were following "what the market wants". Overall he said some markets were still recovering slowly from the recession.

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