Larry Goodman's ABP Foods is to acquire a 50 per cent stake in Slaney Foods, the parent company of Slaney Meats and Irish Country Meats, for an undisclosed sum.
The move, which is subject to competition clearance, would give ABP control of over a quarter of the beef processing industry here.
It would also see the company move back into sheepmeat processing - via Irish Country Meats - for the first time in decades.
Slaney Foods is currently jointly owned by the Allen Family and Linden Foods in Northern Ireland. The plan is for ABP to acquire the Allen family's 50 per cent stake in Slaney, creating a new partnership with Linden.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), however, expressed about the proposed investment on competition grounds.
"Competition in the beef and lamb trade is always a contentious issue between farmers and factories. Farmers are rightly concerned with the over dominance of a number of major players at both processing and retail level," the IFA's national livestock chairman Henry Burns said.
He said the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission needed to undertake a full investigation and provide the necessary guarantees to farmers around competition and market concentration.
Announcing details of the acquisition, ABP chief executive Paul Finnerty said: "At ABP we have a very successful track record with joint venture projects over many years and we have high hopes for this new partnership with Slaney Foods."
“The respective companies share the same ambition to grow and develop in what continues to be a very competitive market environment. This is a partnership that will benefit both parties and improve the range of products we offer in existing and new export markets,” he added.
Chairman of Linden Foods Trevor Lockhart said: "The existing operational and management structure of the business will remain in place but now complimented with a shareholder with considerable market reach and processing expertise".