ABP’s Slaney deal referred to EU competition authority

Ultimate regulatory approval rests with Directorate General for Competition, company confirms

 

ABP’s plan to take a 50 per cent stake in Slaney Foods has been referred to the European Commission’s competition authority.

Larry Goodman’s company confirmed that regulatory approval for the deal rests with the Directorate General for Competition as it involves businesses in more than one jurisdiction.

However, the relevant national authorities will be involved in the process.

Under the deal, ABP will buy the Allen family’s 50 per cent stake in Slaney, creating a new partnership with Linden Foods, which owns the remaining 50 per cent.

Farmers’ groups have raised concerns about the deal, which will give ABP control of over more than a quarter of the beef processing industry here.

It will also see it move back into lamb processing - via Irish Country Meats - for the first time in decades.

“There has been considerable speculation about this joint venture; however consolidation within the industry is absolutely necessary in order for our sector to remain competitive,” ABP’s chief executive Paul Finnerty said.

“This consolidation trend is the result of an increasingly challenging international background where we compete against global players, many of whom have processing capacity multiple times that of the entire Irish industry,” he added.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has urged Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to address the lack of competition in the beef sector, which it says will be compounded by ABP’s deal.