Farm Ireland

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Group behind meat processor Dawn reports jump in profits

Farm organisations believe Dawn Meats taking a majority stake in Dunbia is a bad thing
Farm organisations believe Dawn Meats taking a majority stake in Dunbia is a bad thing
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Gordon Deegan

Pre-tax profits at the Arrow Group, one of the largest meat processors in the country, last year increased by 53pc to €37.73m.

New accounts show that the Co Waterford-based group achieved the sharp increase in pre-tax profits in spite of revenues dipping by 2.4pc from €511.65m to €499m in the 12 months to January 1 this year.

The group achieved the sharp rise in profits after the business's administrative expenses reduced by 48.5pc from €51.25m to €26.35m.

Numbers employed by the group last year increased from 1,681 to 1,790, with staff costs increasing from €67.59m to €70.25m.

In their report, the directors of the group address the potential effects of Brexit on their business.

They state that the potential effects identified are most noticeably on exchange rates, labour costs/availability and particular tariffs in relation to goods and services.

The group is controlled by brothers, Peter, Michael and John Queally - who own the Dawn Brand. It also manufactures and distributes pet foods.


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It was recently announced that Dawn Meats has acquired Dunbia’s operations in the Republic of Ireland.

It comes following an agreement between both companies to establish a majority owned joint venture in the United Kingdom comprising the UK operations of both organisations.

The deal is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.

In Ireland, Dawn Meats will have 9 facilities (including 5 abattoirs), following the addition of two complementary Dunbia facilities - one abattoir in Slane, and one boning hall in Kilbeggan.

The development is the second major merger in the Irish beef sector in the last 12 months following link up between the Larry Goodman owned ABP Group and Slaney Meats in 2016 which was vigorously opposed by farmers.

The companies say the combined UK businesses will trade as Dunbia and will deliver enhanced scale and market presence to better serve existing farmer suppliers and customers of both organisations across the retail, manufacturing, wholesale and food service sectors. 

The businesses are highly complementary, and will offer customers regionally sourced solutions for both beef and lamb from 15 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Across Dawn Meats and Dunbia, the businesses process approximately 900,000 cattle and 2.6m sheep annually. 

Dawn Meats is also a 49pc shareholder in Elivia, the number 2 beef processor in France, which processes approximately 500,000 cattle annually.

Dunbia is a leading processor of beef and lamb with 9 sites located across the UK and Ireland, employing around 4,000 people. The company is one of Northern Ireland’s largest privately owned companies and currently exports to 36 countries worldwide.

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