Kepak to buy Buchan Meats


THE privately owned meat processing group, Kepak, has beaten off competition from a number of companies, including Mr Larry Goodman's Irish Food Processors, to buy the Aberdeen based beef group Buchan Meats.

No spokesman for Kepak could be contacted for comment, but it is understood that the receiver of Buchan Meats, Ernst & Young, has accepted the Kepak offer. Details of the offer are expected to be disclosed to a Buchan Meats' creditors meeting next month. When Buchan Meats folded, it had estimated debts of £4.5 million sterling.

This is the second time in the space of a year that Kepak has bought British beef processing assets out of receivership. In April last year, Kepak bought the majority of the British Beef businesses from a receiver for an estimated £12 million. Those businesses had a turnover of £100 million sterling and Kepak acquired abattoirs in Preston, Wakefield and Peterborough.

At that time, Kepak said that buying British meat factories allowed it to serve its British customers better. About 30 per cent of Kepak's sales are thought to go to British multiples and the group sells vacuum packed beef products to supermarket chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury.

Kepak, with its headquarters in Clonee, Co Meath, employs over 550 people in Ireland and, following last year's British Beef acquisition, has sales estimated at over £300 million. Together with Irish Food Processors (the former Goodman International), Kepak is one of the biggest meat processors in Ireland with an estimated 12 per cent of beef and 33 per cent of lamb processing.