Wednesday 17 July 2019

Fane Valley buys duck producer Silver Hill, promises investment

Stock image
Stock image
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Northern Irish agri-food group Fane Valley has acquired Silver Hill Foods, the Monaghan-based duck producer.

Fane Valley, based in Moira, Co Armagh, is active in the red meat, oats, and animal feed sectors among others.

A sale price was not disclosed. Silver Hill management will remain in place.

Stuart Steele, who is selling the Emyvale-based Silver Hill, said it was a "good news story for our employees first and foremost, for Emyvale and for all our growers, suppliers and customers, especially with Brexit causing uncertainty in this region".

He added: "Keeping the business in Irish control and based in Emyvale was an intrinsic part of the negotiations and subsequent sale.

"Silver Hill Foods has attracted the interest of many potential overseas buyers over the years, particularly from the UK, Europe, and even Asia."

Fane Valley has been supplying Silver Hill with feed for its ducks for more than 20 years, which made it a "natural fit" as new owner, Mr Steele said. Silver Hill was set up by the Steele family in 1962. Chinese restaurants are an important target customer for the firm.

Fane Valley CEO Trevor Lockhart said his firm was "committed to future investment in production facilities on the Emyvale site to enable Silver Hill to meet growing demand, particularly in Asian markets including new areas such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam".

"We are excited by the growth prospects and the opportunities this will present for all stakeholders in the business including the dedicated grower base," he said.

Silver Hill CEO Micheal Briody said the company was "confident in our product offering and the wide appeal that our duck has across existing and new markets worldwide".

"With Brexit there is a lot of uncertainty in the food sector in Ireland, particularly around the border region. We are showing our confidence in our employees, our growers and suppliers, our customers and ultimately our belief in Silver Hill Irish duck."

Irish Independent

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