Dawn Meats on brink of buying Kildare Chilling
The beef industry is rife with speculation that Dawn Meats is on the brink of of buying the Kildare Chilling plant in Kildare town.
Neither party would confirm or deny that a deal was imminent, but industry sources said that Dawn has been on the hunt for additional killing capacity for a number of months.
A statement from Dawn management said that "Dawn Meats, as a policy, does not comment on market rumour or speculation."
While Dawn already operates another killing plant 40 miles away at Rathdowney, Co Laois, it has secured a number of significant new contracts over the past year, including one to supply burger meat to McDonald's.
The firm was buying increased volumes of beef carcases from Kildare Chilling in recent months.
The latter lacks the same base of blue-chip clients that Dawn has built up over the past decade. For this reason, it is considered more vulnerable to market downturns when issues such as the horsemeat crisis occur.
Kildare Chilling is owned by Tom McParland, an accountant who bought the plant at a major discount in the 1990s after it posted a series of losses for its English owners.
In the 1980s, the plant, which is sited on a 100-year leasehold owned by the National Stud, was purchased for nearly €18m. In 2012, it had a turnover of €140m and employed 350 people.