ABP’s full takeover of Slaney Meats and ICM has been described as “a further erosion of competition” in the processing sector, by IFA president Tim Cullinan.
It was confirmed today that Larry Goodman-owned ABP has “reached agreement in principle” with Fane Valley Co-op to acquire the remaining 50pc holding in its red meat business including: Linden Foods in Northern Ireland; and Slaney Foods and Irish Country Meats businesses in the Republic. The businesses operated as an ABP / Fane Valley joint venture for the last five years.
In a statement the farm leader said “this consolidation of buying power for livestock in the hands of a few” must to be addressed by Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and the Consumer Protection and Competition Commission (CPCC).
"This latest move renews the urgency for the minister to implement the primary legislation to provide the office of the food regulator with the powers necessary to investigate and enforce at all levels throughout the supply-chain.
"Returns to livestock farmers must be maximised from the market place. In order to achieve this, it’s critical we have full transparency on margins throughout the process.
“The CCPC has continually failed farmers in this area. The figures speak for themselves: breakeven prices for beef are €4.50/kg, but this is rarely achieved due to a combination of factors including lack of competition in the processing sector; high dependence on large supermarket chains; and the powers they have been allowed establish and the importation to our key markets of sub-standard produce,” he said.
It is understood the acquired businesses will continue to operate under their respective trading names for the foreseeable future and the sites will continue to operate as normal. The amount of the transaction has not been disclosed by ABP.