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Independent.ie

Tuesday 25 September 2018

€50m China beef deal will 'Brexit proof' ABP - Goodman

Mark Goodman, commercial director (international) ABP Food Group with Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny at ABP Food Group facilities in Cahir, Co Tipperary. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell's
Mark Goodman, commercial director (international) ABP Food Group with Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny at ABP Food Group facilities in Cahir, Co Tipperary. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell's
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

A €50m three-year deal between the Larry Goodman-owned ABP group and Asian restaurant chain Wowprime Corporation, to supply beef to its restaurants across China, will secure the Irish meat company from Brexit.

Speaking at the signing of the deal with WowPrime today, Managaing Director of ABP International Mark Goodman said that in light of uncertainty around the issues of Brexit and a possible Mercosur deal, the contract with Wowprime will help ‘risk proof' ABP.

“I think to be honest the main thing about the Chinese deal is that it’s an excellent hedge against the downside risk of Brexit and we’re looking at possible Mercosur which could increase imports from south America, so it’s a hedge against risk,” he said.

Mr Goodman said that the deal with Wowprime has been seven years in the making and hopes that it only the beginning of similar beef deals with the Chinese.

“We’ve been working on this deal for seven years now. In 2011 we opened an office in Shanghai and put our person on the ground to begin the research process and find the right customer for Irish beef.

“We’re segmenting the market in to food service, online and retail, we’re going to try and get in the market in that order. Today is our first foray in to food service and then we are in talks to launch a range of products on JD.com. After that we will target retail,” he said.

The company has over 40 processing sites in eight countries, with around 10,000 employees.

He added that the main challenge in making deals with Chinese companies is getting them to understand Ireland and to come to Ireland to see the high quality, grass-fed product we have to offer, as well as targeting the product to the correct customer.

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“The key challenges would be finding the right type of customer who is willing to switch from south American to Irish beef and developing relationships there and getting them to learn about our product and in a lot of cases as with Wowprime they came to Ireland and visited Irish farms and saw the cattle and grass and came to the factories.

"The challenge is to get them to understand and say yes we want to buy that," he said.


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