ABP sells Silvercrest plant that made horsemeat burgers

By John Wood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Abp food group Hamburger

ABP has sold its Silvercrest site to the Kepak Group
ABP has sold its Silvercrest site to the Kepak Group
The Silvercrest factory in the Irish Republic that sold burgers contaminated with horse DNA to Tesco, Burger King and the Co-operative Group, has been sold by its parent company ABP Food Group to Kepak Group.

ABP, which is based in the Irish Republic but has sites across eight countries including the UK and Poland, announced that it had decided to exit the frozen burger sector. It had sold the Silvercrest facility at Ballybay, County Monaghan, subject to Competition Authority approval.

The sale involves the transfer of the 122 staff currently employed at Silvercrest, but the two companies said other terms of the transaction were confidential.

After horse DNA in Tesco products was traced to Silvercrest in January, production was halted, and ABP said it had maintained the Silvercrest staff on full pay while the future of the plant was resolved.

122 employees at the Co Monagham site

Paul Finnerty, chief executive, ABP Food Group, said: “The decision to sell the facility is the right one for both the wider group and also for the 122 employees at the County Monaghan site who transfer as part of the deal.

“Our decision to sell the Ballybay facility allows the group to move forward positively with our core chilled beef business and other developing businesses.”

Finnerty thanked the workforce at Silvercrest for their dedication and hard work over the years, and wished them well with their new employer.

“It has become apparent that the ABP Food Group was only one of a large number of leading European operations affected by the equine issue,”​ said Finnerty. “The issue affected frozen burgers which are not core to the Group’s future business strategy."

“The company confirms that its chilled business, which is the core activity for the group, has been unaffected by the horsemeat issue and sales of its chilled beef products have remained unaffected.”

Learning the lessons of the horsemeat crisis is the subject of a free one-hour webinar​ to be staged at 11am on Thursday May 23 by the Food Manufacture Group. See the end of this article for more details.

Europe’s largest beef exporter

Finnerty went on to say that Irish beef was held in the highest regard internationally. “As Europe’s largest beef exporter, ABP Food Group will continue to invest in expanding and developing this and the other businesses within the group,”​ he said.

In February FoodManufacture.co.uk​ reported warnings from union Unite that the future of 112 Silvercrest jobs was in doubt​ after Burger King, Tesco and the Co-operative Group axed contracts with the supplier.

ABP employs 8,000 staff in 36 facilities in eight countries, of which 2,500 are employed in Ireland. Over the past three years it has invested £128M (€150M) in the expansion and development of its businesses in Ireland and abroad, it claimed.

Meanwhile, market intelligence specialist Mintel has joined the line-up for our free webinar Horsemeat: learning the lessons of an avoidable crisis.

Taking part will now be a speaker from Mintel, Andrew Rhodes, director of operations at the Food Standards Agency, Professor Tony Hines of Leatherhead Food Research and Hilary Ross of business law firm and event sponsor DWF.

Find more details and to book your place click here.

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast