Dawn Meats and Dunbia announce ‘strategic partnership’

After months of merger speculation, Dawn Meats has agreed a “strategic partnership” with major NI employer, Dunbia.

The deal is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities, and will see the Kilkenny based Dawn Meats separately acquire Dunbia’s operations in the Republic of Ireland.

The “strategic partnership” will see both companies  establish a majority owned joint venture. In the UK, both businesses will trade under the single name of Dunbia.

In Ireland, Dawn Meats will have nine facilities, including five abattoirs, following the addition of two complementary Dunbia facilities – one abattoir in Slane, and one boning hall in Kilbeggan.

Dunbia CEO Jim Dobson

Dunbia’s CEO Jim Dobson OBE will be CEO of the new Dunbia Joint Venture, and Dawn Meats’ CEO Niall Browne, will be executive chairman. The combined firm will be run from Dunbia’s existing headquarters in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.

Jim Dobson, CEO 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.”

A media release from both firms described the businesses as “highly complementary”, with the deal enabling them to offer regionally sourced beef and lamb from 15 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Commenting, Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats added: “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.”

“We are very 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.”

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