Dawn Meats and Dunbia enter into joint venture

Dawn Meats has agreed on a strategic partnership with Dunbia, which will see it establish a majority-owned joint venture. 

The deal will comprise both of the organisations' operations in the UK. Separately, Dawn Meats will acquire Dunbia’s operations in the Republic of Ireland. The deal is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.

As a result of the partnership, Dawn Meats will have nine facilities, including five abattoirs in Ireland. The UK businesses will trade as Dunbia, delivering enhanced scale and market presence to serve existing farmers, suppliers and customers of both the organisations across the retail, manufacturing, wholesale and foodservice sectors. Customers will have the option of regionally sourced solutions for beef and lamb from 15 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dunbia’s chief executive Jim Dobson will be chief executive of the new Dunbia joint venture, with Dawn Meats’ chief executive Niall Browne being executive chairman. The venture will be run from Dunbia’s existing headquarters in Dungannon in Northern Ireland.

“We are both family businesses with a deep connection to farming and a culture and business ethos that is centred on quality and sustainability,” said Browne. “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 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 businesses - Dawn Meats in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and Elivia in France, with our cooperative partner Terrena.”

Combined, Dawn Meats and Dunbia process approximately 900,000 cattle and 2.6 million sheep annually.

“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,” added Dobson.

“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.”

Dawn Meats, which supplies to a range of supermarkets, foodservice operators and restaurants in Ireland and the UK, exports to 48 countries around the world. It is a 49% shareholder in Elivia, a leading beef processor in France that processes approximately 500,000 cattle annually.

Beef and lamb processor Dunbia employs around 4,000 people across its sites in the UK and Ireland. It is one of Northern Ireland’s largest privately owned companies and currently exports to 36 countries.

Want more stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up for our FREE email newsletter


My Account


Most read


For the third year running, a grain fed cow won the World Steak Challenge. What do you think produces the best beef?