Ireland’s Dawn Meats has taken full control of the UK joint venture it established with Northern Ireland-based peer Dunbia in 2017.

The move follows the retirement of Dunbia co-founder Jim Dobson.

The business in the UK will continue to trade under the Dunbia brand and the same management team.

Three years ago, County Tyrone-based Dunbia agreed to establish a majority-owned joint venture with Dawn Meats to comprise the UK operations of both firms.

County Waterford-based Dawn Meats agreed to separately acquire Dunbia’s operations in the Republic of Ireland.

Dobson co-founded Dunbia – which has 12 processing facilities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – with his brother Jack in 1976 and together they grew Dunbia into one of Northern Ireland’s largest private companies, exporting to 36 countries.

He said: “The creation of the joint venture with Dawn Meats ensured the business would continue to grow as a leading quality meat supplier in the UK market. I want to thank all the team that has worked on the integration and feel confident that they are well-placed to build on all our past achievements together.”

Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats said: “Combining our operations in the UK has been a strategic success based on a strong cultural fit between two family-owned businesses that shared a deep connection to farming and an ethos centred on quality and sustainability.

“Jim is a legend within our industry and we are proud to maintain the traditions and name he created as we continue to serve our UK customers and farmer suppliers.”

Dawn Meats’ combined businesses in the UK and Ireland now process approximately one million cattle and three million sheep annually, employ more than 7,000 staff and work with more than 30,000 farmer suppliers.

Financial terms pertaining to the deal were not disclosed.