Dawn’s acquisition of Dunbia gets green light from regulator

Deal sees Waterford-based Dawn overtake rival ABP as State’s largest beef processor

Dunbia chief executive Jim Dobson (left) and Dawn boss Niall Browne will run new UK venture from Dunbia’s Dungannon headquarters.

Dunbia chief executive Jim Dobson (left) and Dawn boss Niall Browne will run new UK venture from Dunbia’s Dungannon headquarters.

 

Dawn Meats’s acquisition of Tyrone-based Dunbia has been given the green light by the competition authority.

The deal, which was approved by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) on Friday, will see Dawn take over Dunbia’s two plants in the Republic and both companies combine their UK businesses.

It will also see Dawn overtake rival ABP as the State’s largest beef processor, in volume terms. The combined businesses will process approximately 900,000 cattle and 2.6 million sheep annually.

Ireland’s meat industry is uniquely exposed to Brexit, and Dunbia’s considerable presence in the UK – it has two large plants in the North and seven in Britain – provides Waterford-based Dawn with a Brexit buffer as well as cementing its UK supply chain.

The combined UK businesses will trade as Dunbia and will be run from Dunbia’s existing headquarters in Dungannon.

It will be managed by former Dunbia chief executive Jim Dobson with Dawn Meats chief executive Niall Browne acting as executive chairman.

The companies on Friday unveiled the new brand and logo for the joint venture to staff and customers at the Dungannon headquarters.

Sustainability

Dawn’s acquisition of Dunbia’s operations in the Republic means it now has nine facilities, including five abattoirs.

“We are very pleased to have successfully concluded this process and can now look to deliver the benefits that we believe this transaction will bring for our customers, staff and suppliers,” Mr Browne said.

“Our focus will continue to be on quality and sustainability across three leading national businesses: Dawn Meats in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and Elivia in France, ” he said.

The combined businesses in the UK are highly complementary, and will offer customers regionally sourced solutions for both beef and lamb from 15 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, he added.

Mr Dobson said: “The partnership will ensure that we can grow as a leading supplier in the UK market and deliver long-term solutions for our customers and a strong relationship with our farmer suppliers.”

Commenting on the news, Irish Farmers’ Association president Joe Healy, however, said CCPC must take its head out of the sand and address the serious lack of competition in the Irish beef sector.