Dawn Meats and Dunbia agree strategic partnership

Niall Browne, Dawn Meats
Niall Browne, Dawn Meats

Dawn Meats has agreed a strategic partnership with Dunbia to establish a majority owned joint venture in the United Kingdom comprising the UK operations of both organisations, it has been announced.

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

Jim Dobson, Dunbia

Jim Dobson, 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.

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 CEO Jim Dobson, OBE will be CEO of the new Dunbia JV, and Dawn Meats’ CEO Niall Browne, will be Executive Chairman. The joint venture will be run from Dunbia’s existing headquarters in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.

Commenting, Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats 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.

“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.”

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.”

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

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. Dawn Meats is also a 49% shareholder in Elivia, the number 2 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. The company is one of Northern Ireland’s largest privately owned companies and currently exports to 36 countries worldwide.