Irish meat processor Dawn Meats has sold its 49% share in Elivia back to French farmer cooperative Terrena almost a decade after investing in the meat processor.

The two companies disagreed over the “future strategic direction” of Elivia, Dawn Meats said in a statement released yesterday (15 June).

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was part of a “review of long-term business strategy”. The final deal is still subject to approval.

Already a majority shareholder, farmer cooperative Terrena previously owned 100% of the beef, pork, veal and lamb processor. It sold its 49% share to Dawn Meats in 2014, forming a joint venture when the deal closed in 2015.

But now Dawn Meats said the two companies’ visions for the French market were incompatible.

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“We found that our vision for the French market and our ambition for the future strategic direction of Elivia is not aligned with that of our partner Terrena,” said CEO Niall Browne.

Browne also hinted at potential for M&A in France following the disposal of Elivia.

“The French market is strategically important for beef and lamb, and we will continue to engage and develop new opportunities in the market.

“Independently of our involvement with Elivia and within the same timescale, Dawn Meats and our UK division Dunbia have more than doubled in size and our management team will continue to successfully grow the business with further developments in the pipeline.”

Terrena CEO Alain Le Floch said Elivia had “significantly improved its performance in recent years”.

“Elivia is a strategically important company within our cooperative and we are delighted to become again the sole shareholder,” he said.

Terrena is focused in the north of France and works with 20,992 farmer members. It employs around 13,600 people and produces the Tendre et plus meat brand. Elivia processes and markets meat for large-scale retail distribution, traditional butchers, institutional and commercial catering.

In March Waterford-headquartered Dawn Meats acquired English lamb firm HR Jasper & Son via its Northern Ireland Dunbia arm. The family-run abattoir in Cornwall employs 90 people and processes up to 10,000 lambs per week, selling into wholesale, retail, foodservice and export markets.