Dawn Meats takes full control of UK joint venture with Dunbia

Waterford-based processor shores up UK business ahead of Brexit

Waterford-based Dawn Meats now employs more than 7,000 staff

Waterford-based Dawn Meats now employs more than 7,000 staff


Waterford-based Dawn Meats has taken full control of its UK joint venture with fellow meat processor Dunbia. This follows the retirement of Dunbia founder Jim Dobson.

Tyrone-based Dunbia has 12 processing plants for beef and lamb across the UK. In a 2017 merger deal, Dawn took over Dunbia’s two plants in the Republic while both companies combined their UK businesses.

The deal saw Dawn overtake rival ABP as the State’s largest meat processor in volume terms with the business now processing one million cattle and three million sheep annually and employing over 7,000 staff.

“Following the announcement of Jim Dobson’s retirement, Dawn Meats will take full control of the Dunbia business that was jointly established in 2017, after the merger of their combined operations,” Dawn said in a statement.

“The business in the UK will continue to trade under the Dunbia brand and the same management team, offering customers regionally sourced solutions for both beef and lamb from 12 processing facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ” it said.

Brexit exposure

The beef industry here is uniquely exposed to Brexit with more than 50 per cent of the State’s beef output going to the UK.

Dawn’s takeover of Dunbia provides it with a Brexit buffer as well as cementing its UK supply chain.

“Combining our operations in the UK has been a strategic success based on a strong cultural fit between two family owned businesses that shared a deep connection to farming and an ethos centered on quality and sustainability,” Dawn Meats chief executive Niall Browne said.

Mr Dobson said: “The creation of the joint venture with Dawn Meats ensured the business would continue to grow as a leading quality meat supplier in the UK market.