Larry Goodman's ABP Group has been in contact with the Irish and European competition authorities over its intention to acquire a 50 per cent stake in Slaney Foods. However, a spokesman said the processor had not yet lodged a formal submission regarding the deal with either agency.
He said it would submit the necessary notifications, in conjunction with Northern Ireland’s Linden Foods – which owns the other 50 per cent of Slaney Foods – at the appropriate time.
Group have been in contact with the relevant authorities including the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the European Directorate-General Competition in recent days and will make the necessary notifications at the appropriate time,” he said.
Farmers have expressed concern that the acquisition, if ratified, would give ABP control of more than a quarter of the beef processing industry here.
Slaney Foods, the parent company of Slaney Meats and Irish Country Meats, is jointly owned by the Allen Family and Linden Foods.
Under the proposed acquisition, ABP will buy the Allen family’s 50 per cent stake in Slaney, creating a new partnership with Linden. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Under the competition rules, the CCPC has up to 30 days to consider ABP and Linden’s submission before delivering its ruling.
“Under that legislation the commission is required to determine whether a proposed merger will or will not lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the market for goods or services in the State,” a CCPC spokesperson said
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has raised competition concerns about the deal, which it claims would give ABP a dominant position in beef and sheep processing sector here.
“Cattle and sheep farmers have serious concerns on competition and the concentration of the kill with the proposed investment,” a spokeswoman said.
She said the IFA had been in contact with the CCPC to ensure that a full investigation would be undertaken and “the necessary guarantees and undertakings provided to farmers around competition and market concentration as well as on the rendering business”.