New era dawns for Irish meat firm
THE boss of Dawn Meats said its move to take a majority stake in Northern Ireland firm Dunbia underpinned its competitiveness in the post-Brexit era.
Waterford-based Dawn Meats ended months of speculation of a potential link up between the two major meat processors as it confirmed the joint venture with the Dungannon-headquartered firm.
The scale of the businesses means it will be examined by the competition authorities, as they will now process around 900,000 cattle and 2.6 million sheep each year.
Dawn Meat's chief executive Niall Browne said this move would bring more opportunities for staff, customers and suppliers.
"Given the uncertainty posed by Brexit, this partnership should further underpin the competitiveness of both operations to the benefit of all stakeholders in the UK, Ireland and across Europe," said Mr Browne. The second-largest beef processor in Ireland behind Larry Goodman's ABP will buy outright Dunbia's operations south of the Border. This means it will operate nine facilities, including Dunbia's abattoir in Slane and a boning hall in Kilbeggan.
Jim Dobson, chief executive of Dunbia, who will be the head of the new Dunbia Joint Venture, said in a "consolidating industry" the deal makes strategic sense, with 15 facilities across the North, Scotland, England and Wales.
It is understood the firms feel the larger scale of supply will give more security to the major UK supermarket customers in the post-Brexit environment.
They will now operate significant businesses in their three markets with Dawn in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and a 49pc stake in France's second-largest beef processor, Elivia.