Dawn Meats and Dunbia agree strategic partnership

The joint venture will be run from Dunbia’s existing headquarters in Dungannon

DAWN Meats has agreed a strategic partnership with Dunbia to establish a majority-owned joint venture comprising the UK operations of both organisations.

The deal - which is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities - will see Dawn separately acquire Dunbia's operations in the Republic.

It means Dawn Meats will have nine facilities (including five abattoirs) following the addition of two complementary Dunbia facilities - an abattoir in Slane and one boning hall in Kilbeggan.

The combined UK businesses will trade as Dunbia and will deliver enhanced scale and market presence to better serve existing farmer suppliers and customers of both organisations across the retail, manufacturing, wholesale and food service sectors.

The businesses are highly complementary and will offer customers regionally sourced solutions for both beef and lamb from 15 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dunbia's chief executive Jim Dobson - who founded the company in 1976 with his brother Jack - will be CEO of the new Dunbia JV while Dawn Meats' chief executive Niall Browne becomes executive chairman. The joint venture will be run from Dunbia's existing headquarters in Dungannon.

Niall Browne said: “We are both family businesses with a deep connection to farming and a culture and business ethos that is centred on quality and sustainability. Given the uncertainty posed by Brexit, this partnership should further underpin the competitiveness of both operations to the benefit of all stakeholders in the UK, Ireland and across Europe.

“We're excited about the future of both companies and the opportunities that this transaction will bring for our staff, customers and suppliers. In our key operating markets we will be involved in three leading national businesses with Dawn Meats in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and Elivia in France, with our cooperative partners Terrena.”

Jim Dobson of Dunbia 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.”

Across Dawn Meats and Dunbia, the businesses process approximately 900,000 cattle and 2.6 million sheep a year.

Dawn Meats is a premium meat processor and supplier of choice of premium Irish and British red meat to a range of leading supermarket, food service and restaurants businesses in Ireland and the UK and is exporting to 48 countries around the world. It is also a 49 per cent shareholder in Elivia, the number two beef processor in France, which processes approximately 500,000 cattle annually.

Dunbia is a leading processor of beef and lamb with nine sites located across the UK and Ireland, employing around 4,000 people. It is one of Northern Ireland's largest privately owned companies, currently exporting to 36 countries worldwide and which has an annual turnover of £800 million.

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