209 new jobs at Dunbia following £27M investment

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Capacity-boosting upgrades will be made to Dunbia's minced, diced and burger lines
Capacity-boosting upgrades will be made to Dunbia's minced, diced and burger lines

Related tags: Investment, Economy

Dunbia will pump £27M into a new boning hall and upgrades to three processing lines, creating 209 jobs at its Dungannon, Northern Ireland, facility.

The investment would increase capacity on the site’s beef mince, diced and burger lines, according to the firm.

A new ‘intelligent’ boning hall would also be operational within the next three years and would allow the firm to boost its meat exports, it added.

The investment was secured with a £2M support package from Invest Northern Ireland, enterprise, trade and investment minister Arlene Foster said.

‘Maximise the return’

“Dunbia is investing in innovative technology and production processes to enable it to maximise the return on its resources and remain cost-competitive,” ​she said.

“The new boning hall will help the company achieve improved butchery efficiencies and economies of scale, while the installation of new production lines, using the most automated retail butchery, will increase retail packing efficiencies.”

New jobs will gradually be created when the lines are operational.  When all of the positions are filled, the new staff would generate annual salaries of £3.4M, Foster added.

“It’s a sector that plays an important part in our economic success and the sector has continued to grow despite the economic downturn,” ​she claimed.

The investment would allow the firm, which sells red meat to the majority of the major supermarkets, to grow within the next five years, said md Jim Dobson.

Dunbia, which employs 4,000 people across its 13 UK sites, hasn’t made a significant investment since opening its new £12M Llanybydder facility​ in Wales in 2013.

More than 70 jobs

More than 70 jobs were created at the new lamb processing site, which allowed Dunbia to process up to one million Welsh, British and New Zealand lambs annually.

However, the majority of the site’s business would come from Sainsbury, which had pledged to boost its sales of British food, Dunbia said.

Sainsbury was involved in the development of the site and ex-Sainsbury ceo Justin King said at the time: “The new facilities demonstrate Dunbia’s strong commitment to British food and sustainability.

“Sainsbury has been involved throughout the development of the facility, which will help us meet our target of doubling our sales of British food by 2020.”

Despite King’s exit from Sainsbury last year, the retailer was still working towards its 2020 plan, according to its website.

Last month (February), 2 Sisters Food Group announced it had recruited the former Sainsbury boss​ to take up an advisory role within the business.

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