Dunbia sells pork processing business to Cranswick

One of UK’s largest food processors buys Ballymena operation for estimated £10m

Dunbia’s Ballymena operation processes 7,800 pigs a week.

Dunbia’s Ballymena operation processes 7,800 pigs a week.


Dunbia, the Tyrone-headquartered meat processing group, has sold its pork processing business based in Ballymena to one of the largest food producers in Britain for an undisclosed sum.

Cranswick, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, is estimated to have paid in the region of £10 million for Dunbia Ballymena, according to industry sources.

The plant employs 360 people and processes around 7,800 pigs each week.

Dunbia was founded by brothers Jack and Jim Dobson in 1976 and started out as a small, family butcher shop in Tyrone.


Today, it is still controlled by the Dobson brothers but it has grown into a multinational organisation, which employs 4,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £1 billion.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Cranswick confirmed it had acquired the whole of the issued share capital of Dunbia Ballymena for cash.

According to the statement, Dunbia Ballymena had, in the year to March 29th, 2016, revenues of £72.4 million.

Cranswick has said the deal will be funded from its existing debt facilities and is expected to be earnings neutral in the current financial year and earnings enhancing in at the end of 2018.

The Hull-headquartered group also said the acquisition would enhance its “pig processing capability and establishes a significant presence in Northern Ireland”.

As part of the transaction, Jack Dobson – executive director of Dunbia Limited – is to “support Ballymena in a consultancy capacity to help ensure a smooth transition”, Cranswick added.


Adam Couch, CEO of Cranswick, said: “This acquisition strengthens our UK pork processing business and provides us with greater control over our supply chain, ensuring that we can maintain the production and processing of high quality, UK farm-assured, pigs which is central to our customer’s requirements.

“The management at Ballymena have created long-lasting and sustained supply chain relationships and we look forward to building on this and continuing to invest in the facilities, and the team, over the years ahead.”

Jim Dobson, Dunbia’s group chief executive, said Cranswick specialises in pork production and has the scale and growth potential to continue to grow the Ballymena business.

“Dunbia is pleased to welcome the investment of a major UK PLC into the Northern Ireland economy and we wish them every success. The wider Dunbia business is unaffected and will continue as normal,” Mr Dobson added.