The UK competition watchdog has officially cleared and signed off the purchase by meat heavyweight Anglo Beef Processors of assets from peer Scotbeef.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced its final decision today (14 December) and has now closed off the case having given preliminary clearance in November.

CMA first launched a probe into the deal in August, after ABP revealed in June it had purchased a meat-packing facility in Glasgow owned by Scotbeef and an abattoir further north at Bridge of Allan.

The authority had expressed concern that Scotbeef would be absorbed into the wider ABP Food Group business, creating a potential ‘substantial lessening of competition’ (SLC) in Scotland’s meat sector.

In its assessment, the competition body said: “The CMA considers that the merger is unlikely to lead to a significant increase in the parties’ buyer power. The CMA has taken into account the concerns from third parties but considers that some of the concerns expressed were not merger-specific and instead related to broader industry trends.”

The Scotbeef sites will merge with Anglo Beef Processors UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABP Food Group (ABP) and will work as one business entity. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

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By GlobalData

Privately-owned Scotbeef supplies beef and lamb cuts and ready-to-eat products to retailers in the UK and overseas, including Marks & Spencer and Lidl.

ABP supplies fresh and frozen meat products to retailers and foodservice clients internationally.

Scotbeef will continue to operate its sites in Inverurie, East Kilbride, Annan, Heysham and Wolverhampton.

ABP Food Group has a turnover of €5bn ($5.4bn) and has operations in the UK and Europe, including Ireland, according to its website.

Scotbeef, previously headquartered at Bridge of Allan, moved its head office to Glasgow in November.

The latest accounts filed with Companies House – for the year to 27 February 2022 – showed turnover increased 1.9% to £426.1m ($542.1m). The company delivered an operating profit of £3.3m versus £6.8m in the corresponding period.

Net profit dropped to £2.7m from £5.5m.