Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Dunbia rubbishes takeover rumours by Brazilian giant

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Meat company Dunbia has slated speculation that it is on the brink of being sold to Brazilian meat giant Marfrig.

Commenting on recent reports that Dunbia was in advanced negotiations with Marfrig, Dunbia Group managing director Jim Dobson said: "Dunbia can categorically state that the company is not in negotiations with Marfrig or anyone else for that matter, and any assertion to the contrary is entirely untrue."

"Dunbia is a local, privately owned company, and we are fully committed to the growth and development of our operations in Ireland and the UK.

"We have strategic investment plans in place to ensure we continue to meet our customers' requirements and develop new business opportunities."

Dunbia is one of the UK and Ireland's leading meat processors, employing more than 3,200 people across 11 sites.

The company was established in 1980 when cattle dealing brothers Jim and Jack Dobson decided to buy a butcher shop in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

The company now slaughters 320,000 cattle and two million sheep a year. It employs 280 staff in the Republic in its plants in Kilbeggan and Slane.


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Mr Dobson said that the speculation had their farmer suppliers "up the walls" and "buyers jumping up and down".

"It has left us very, very upset," he said.

However Mr Dobson played down any fears that the company's valuable contracts in the UK multiples such as Sainsbury's could be affected. "There's no danger of us losing contracts," he said.

The group continues to expand since its purchase of the plant in Kilbeggan nearly four years ago, with Dobson estimating that Dunbia has invested up to £6m in its operations in the last year alone.

The Kilbeggan plant is now earmarked for a €13m investment in a new abattoir, along with upgraded boning halls and value-added facilities.

The plant is currently killing six days a week, with a through-put of 1,850hd of cattle.

Asked whether Dunbia had been approached by a Brazilian company, Mr Dobson said: "Everybody talks to everybody in this business all the time.

"But it's all just talk. I really don't know where this story came from."

Irish Independent