UK meat group Cranswick has announced the acquisition of pork processing assets owned by Northern Ireland-based meat group Dunbia.

In an announcement this morning (16 November), Cranswick said the purchase of Dunbia Ballymena will “enhance” its pig processing and enable the company to establish a “significant presence” in Northern Ireland. 

Dunbia Ballymena employs 360 people and processes around 7,800 UK farm assured pigs each week. It operates a purpose built factory in County Antrim and has a “strategic, well-established supply chain” with “strong links” to local farmers, Cranswick said.

Adam Couch, the CEO of Cranswick, added the deal “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”.

In the year to 29 March, the unit generated revenue of GBP72.4m (US$90.1m). Financial details of the all-cash transaction were not disclosed but Cranswick said it will be funded through its existing debt facilities. 

The deal is expected to be earnings-neutral for Cranswick this financial year (2016/17) and earnings enhancing in fiscal 2018/19. 

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By GlobalData

In December last year, Dunbia announced that it was weighing its options to “maximise the potential” of the company after attracting interest in the business. Dunbia had also confirmed that it was in talks over a potential tie-up with 2 Sisters Food Group

A spokesperson told just-food today the company is not commenting on further on its M&A plans or whether talks with 2 Sisters are still ongoing. 

Jim Dobson, Dunbia group chief executive, added the deal sale of the pork assets will create “positive expansion opportunities and a sustainable supply chain for Northern Ireland’s pig producers”. 

“Dunbia is pleased to welcome the investment of a major UK plc into the Northern Ireland economy and we wish them every success. The wider Dunbia business is unaffected and will continue as normal,” he said.