The long-anticipated deal – which is subject to approval – would see the new business trading as Dunbia, the processors said in a joint statement. The joint venture was agreed to increase the processors’ market presence, and would improve service to customers in manufacturing, retail, wholesale and foodservice, they said.
The deal would also see Dawn Meats acquiring Dunbia’s two complementary facilities in the Republic of Ireland; an abattoir in Slane, and a boning hall in Kilbeggan.
Dunbia’s existing ceo Jim Dobson would become the new business’s ceo, while Dawn Meats’s ceo Niall Browne would become executive chairman.
‘The right strategic partnership’
Dobson said: “This is the right strategic partnership for Dunbia’s staff and customers, and sees us joining with a company with a shared heritage of excellence in the production of premium beef and lamb products.
“The new UK joint venture confirms our future as a leading supplier in the UK market. In a consolidating industry, this deal makes strategic sense for both companies, our customers and our farmer suppliers.”
The deal would provide customers with regionally sourced beef and lamb, from 15 facilities across the UK, the processors said. It would also cement their place in the market, despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Dawn Meats said.
Browne said: “We are both family businesses with a deep connection to farming, and a culture and business ethos that is centered on quality and sustainability. Given the uncertainty posed by Brexit, this partnership should further underpin the competiveness of both operations to the benefit of all stakeholders in the UK, Ireland and across Europe.
‘Excited about the future and opportunities’
“We are very excited about the future of both companies, and the opportunities that this transaction will bring for our staff, customers and suppliers.”
The new business would process about 900,000 cattle, and 2.6M sheep a year. It will be based in Dunbia’s existing headquarters, in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.
Premium red meat processor Dawn Meats currently exports to 48 countries. It is also a 49% shareholder in French beef processor Elivia, which processes about 500,000 cattle a year.
Beef and lamb processor Dunbia currently employs about 4,000 workers. It exports to 36 countries.
Meanwhile, FoodManufacture.co.uk reported in March that a deal between Dawn Meats and Dunbia was “quite likely”, according to an industry expert.
Dawn Meats and Dunbia joint venture – at a glance
- Business to trade as Dunbia
- Deal would increase processors’ market presence
- Dawn Meats to acquire Dunbia’s two Republic of Ireland facilities
- 15 facilities across the UK
- Process 900,000 cattle a year
- Process 2.6M sheep a year