Ireland-based processor Dawn Meats has declined to comment on reports it is considering a takeover offer for fellow meat group Dunbia, which is based across the border in Northern Ireland.

According to The Irish Independent, Dawn Meats is “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.

However, a Dawn Meats spokesperson told just-food yesterday (14 March): “It is Dawn Meats’ policy not to comment on market rumour or speculation.”

Dunbia did not respond to just-food’s request for comment.

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. However, 2 Sisters rejected the report.