Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Farmers 'concerned' and 'alarmed' at Dawn Meats takeover of Dunbia

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers have reacted with concern and alarm at Dawn Meats planned takeover of Dunbia’s operations in the Republic.

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.

ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has said he is very anxious about further consolidation of the beef trade in the hands of the big three following news that Dawn Meats is to acquire Dunbia.

“Decreasing competition in the meat processing sector is bad news for farmers. This deal will only serve to increase the all-powerful and dominant position of this small circle of players. Farmers struggle on a daily basis to get a fair price for their cattle from factories, this is just going to weaken their position even further,” he said.

“It proves once again that the only hope for the beef sector in this country is competition between live exports and factories. ICSA wants to see more support for the live trade from Minister Creed to give farmers that added option when selling their cattle. It is now more apparent than ever that it is the only show in town to deliver badly needed relief to hard pressed cattle farmers.”

“The only other hope would be for processors to try to use their increasing dominance to push for higher prices from retailers when beef is scarce rather than driving down price to farmers when beef is plentiful. However, the evidence is factories are increasingly using their own feedlots to undermine independent farmers making a profit.”


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Responding to the announcement, the IFA President Joe Healy said farmers are always concerned about the concentration of ownership in the beef processing sector because of the lack of competition, as evidenced in the independent competition report on beef processing commissioned by IFA in July 2016.  

He said the major concern for farmers is that they get a fair and viable price return from the market.

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