Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Irish expansion in British meat processing market

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Irish meat processors are aggressively expanding in the British market, with both ABP and Dawn making major acquisitions in the past fortnight.

Larry Goodman's expansion of his ABP meat processing empire in Britain continues apace, with the purchase of Somerset-based RWM Food Group announced on Friday.

The sale, which is estimated to be valued at £30m, includes beef and lamb processing facilities at Langport, Somerset and Yetminster, Dorset respectively, and a retail packing operation at the Dorset site.

RWM Food Group was originally founded in 1968 by two butchers, Robin Heffer and Geoff Knight, and has grown to include five companies, with combined sales of £204.7m (€236.6m) in 2009.

The move puts Goodman at the head of one of the biggest British beef farming operations, Blade Farming SW, which produces 16,000 cattle annually.

Blade Farming is a franchise business for farmers, set up to supply another RWM company, Southern Counties Fresh Foods, with beef.

Farmers sign forward-price commitments and pay Blade a franchise fee on each animal slaughtered.

Southern Counties Fresh Foods was historically one of the biggest exporters of beef to Europe.

Also Read

Tom Kirwan, managing director of ABP UK, said the purchase of RWM was an important milestone in the development of ABP UK, augmenting its beef supply in the cattle-rich southwest region of England.

He added that it also gave ABP UK a platform in lamb, to further develop its existing lamb processing activity in Northern Ireland.

This latest Goodman acquisition follows hot on the heels of Dawn Meats' purchase of the Duerden Lindal Moor beef abattoir in Ulverston, Cumbria.

The Lake District plant has a throughput capacity of 1,300 cattle per week.

Dawn Meats Group chief executive Niall Browne said the purchase marked the beginning of a new expansion phase for Dawn Meats, which is already one of Europe's largest suppliers of beef, lamb and pork.

Indo Farming