Investment ahead as GB processor buys Dunbia Ballymena in cash deal

The Dunbia plant in Ballymena currently employs 360 people
The Dunbia plant in Ballymena currently employs 360 people

The UK producer behind the cash purchase of Dunbia Ballymena says it is looking forward to investing in the facility.

Hull-based Cranswick, a leading UK food producer, announced that it had acquired the whole of the issued share capital of Dunbia Ballymena in the deal for an undsiclosed amount.

It said the plant would continue to operate as normal and welcomed its first move into the province.

The acquisition marks the second change of ownership at the plant which, as Stevensons, was purchased by Dunbia run by brothers Jim and Jack Dobson, in 2009 preventing its threatened closure.

The Ballymena plant currently employs 360 people and processes around 7,800 UK farm assured pigs each week.

Revenues for the year to end of March 2016 were £72.4m.

Cranswick said the acquisition would enhance its pig processing capability and establish a significant presence in Northern Ireland for the firm.

“I am delighted to announce the acquisition of Dunbia’s Ballymena pork processing business,” said Cranswick chief executive Adam Couch confirming that Jack Dobson, executive director of Dunbia Limited, will act in a consultancy capacity during the transition.

“This acquisition strengthens our UK pork processing business and provides us with greater control over our supply chain, ensuring that we can maintain the production and processing of high quality, UK farm assured, pigs which is central to our customer’s requirements.

“The management at Ballymena have created long lasting and sustained supply chain relationships and we look forward to building on this and continuing to invest in the facilities, and the team, over the years ahead.

“We welcome Jack and the team at Ballymena to Cranswick and look forward to working with them to develop the business further.”

Jim Dobson, Dunbia Group Chief Executive, said: “Dunbia is pleased to welcome the investment of a major UK PLC into the Northern Ireland economy and we wish them every success.

“Dunbia Ballymena has been a very successful part of the Dunbia Group and has worked tirelessly to create positive expansion opportunities and a sustainable supply chain for Northern Ireland’s pig producers and the wider agri-food supply sector,” he added.