The Irish Farmers Journal understands that Kildare-based beef and lamb processing company Kildare Chilling Ltd is set to be sold to Dawn Meats, one of Europe’s largest beef and lamb processors.
The purchase, which has been rumoured on a number of occasions, is thought to be in the advanced stages and will strengthen Dawn Meat’s footing in the beef and lamb processing sector.
Kildare Chilling is a major player in the sheep processing sector, currently dealing with 20-25% of the national sheep kill on an annual basis.
The sale will see Dawn Meats process over three million sheep on an annual basis across Europe.
The Kildare Chilling site is situated on the outskirts of Kildare town and backs out on to the M7 motorway. It employs over 350 people at the site and had an estimated turnover of €140m in 2021.
The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the deal will have to go through the relevant regulatory checks with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
ABP had to go through a similar process when it acquired the remaining 50% stake in Slaney Meats in 2021, but the deal passed through the relevant checks.
The Slaney takeover was strongly opposed by the Irish Farmers' Asssociation (IFA), which commissioned an independent report when ABP acquired the first 50% of Slaney Meats, with the report stating that “the deal was likely to weaken competition in the beef processing sector”.
Founded in 1951
Kildare Chilling, founded in 1951, is owned by Tom McParland who bought it in the 1990s.
It is understood that McParland now wants out, with Dawn Meats being the preferred purchaser for the business.
Kildare Chilling currently has about 4% of the national cattle kill, with a capacity to kill in excess of 500,000 sheep and about 120,000 cattle per annum.
In 2021, it slaughtered in the region of 70,000 cattle.
It traditionally catered for the large numbers of sheep reared on the Curragh and in the surrounding areas. However, in recent years, against a backdrop of falling national sheep numbers, its sheep kill has grown significantly. Last year, it killed in the region of 500,000 sheep.
Kildare Chilling traditionally relied on intervention, export refunds and exported to third countries such as Egypt in the 1990s. Over the last 10 years, it has traded more with other factories in the form of whole carcases as opposed to retail cuts.
Established in Co Waterford in 1980, Dawn Meats is a family-owned company owned by the Browne family and the Queally Group.
It sells beef and lamb products to customers in over 50 countries. Dawn Meats is the largest processor of lamb in Europe and a leading processor of beef in the UK and Ireland.
With annual revenues exceeding €2bn, the company employs approximately 8,000 people at 29 locations in Ireland, the UK, continental Europe and Asia, processing one million cattle and three million sheep annually.