Dawn Meats and Dunbia merger finalised

Approval has been given to a strategic partnership and acquisition agreement between Dawn meats and Dunbia, which was first announced in May this year.

It will now be subjected to approval from the Competition and Markets Authority. 

The deal will create a joint venture between the two meat processors, comprising arms of both organisations.

See also: What are the prospects for the UK meat industry post-Brexit?

The combined business will process approximately 900,000 cattle and 2.6m sheep in the UK annually.

The operation will be called Dunbia but will trade with a new logo and new branding, which were unveiled to staff today in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.

Former Dunbia CEO Jim Dobson will assume the role of CEO of the new entity, with Dawn meats CEO Niall Browne taking the role of executive chairman.

Benefits for suppliers 

“We are very pleased to have successfully concluded this process and can now look to deliver the benefits that we believe this transaction will bring for our customers, staff and suppliers,” said Mr Browne.

“Our focus will continue to be on quality and sustainability across three leading national businesses – Dawn Meats in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and Elivia in France.”

The combined businesses in the UK will offer customers regional facilities for both beef and lamb from 15 locations across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dawn Meats has already acquired Dunbia’s Northern Ireland operations and now operates nine facilities – five of which are abattoirs.

No reason for closures

“With size usually comes innovation and a higher likelihood of this new partnership investing the UK,” said NFU chief livestock adviser John Royle.

Mr Royle said that the abattoirs included in the agreement were well placed geographically, creating a healthy amount of competition, which meant none should have to close.

“Producers should have a choice of where to send their animals and need to be able to shop around for the best price.

“Both businesses would have different terms and conditions, so this is a great opportunity for the new entity to be really clear about its deductions, consider adopting the Beef Processor code and forge a really strong relationship with farmers,” he added.

“This deal makes them a pretty big organisation – they are probably now the second biggest player in the sector behind ABP.”