Dawn Meats, the Ireland-based processor, is reportedly weighing up a takeover offer for fellow meat group Dunbia, based across the border in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Independent described Dawn Meats as being close to making a bid for Dunbia, which has been the subject of continued takeover speculation in recent quarters. Talks have been taking place between the two companies for around six months, the newspaper claimed.

In December 2015, Dunbia revealed it was mulling how to “maximise the potential” of the company after attracting interest in the business. Dunbia said it had received “several serious expressions of interest from would-be investors” in the previous two years.

Last spring, a report in Northern Ireland linked the UK’s 2 Sisters Food Group to Dunbia, suggesting the companies had been in talks over a possible deal. There had been speculation 2 Sisters and Dunbia were set to team up on a red meat venture. 2 Sisters rejected the report.

The Sunday Times, meanwhile, reported Danish Crown, the Denmark-based pork co-operative and Cranswick, the UK-listed meat processor, had made approaches to buy Dunbia’s pig-processing business.

In November, Cranswick announced it had struck a deal to buy pork processing assets owned by Dunbia