The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the Kildare-based beef and lamb processing company Kildare Chilling Ltd is set to be sold to one of Europe’s largest beef and lamb processors, Dawn Meats.
The purchase, which has been rumoured on a number of occasions in recent years, is thought to be in the advanced stages and will further strengthen Dawn Meat’s footing in the Irish beef and lamb processing sector.
Kildare Chilling is a major player in the sheep processing sector and the sale will see Dawn Meats process over 3m sheep annually across Europe.
The Kildare Chilling site is situated on the outskirts of Kildare town, backing onto the M7 motorway.
It employs over 350 people at the site and had an estimated turnover of €140m in 2021.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission must investigate thoroughly the impact this will have for competition in cattle and sheep processing
Commenting on the purchase, IFA president Tim Cullinan said: “The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission must investigate thoroughly the impact this will have for competition in cattle and sheep processing, taking into consideration consolidation of processing that has occurred in this region in recent years, in particular the ABP/Slaney/ICM alignment.”
In 2021, Kildare Chilling slaughtered in the region of 65,000-70,000 head of cattle, or 4% of the national kill, but has the capacity to slaughter 120,000 cattle annually.
It is an even bigger player in the sheep market. The Irish Farmers Journal, understands that last year it killed in the region of 550,000 sheep or around 20% of the national kill.
More importantly, Kildare Chilling has consistently been a market leader for lamb quotes and ahead of the other main players in the industry such as Kepak, Dawn Meats and Irish Country Meats (ICM), owned by ABP.
The purchase is likely to move Dawn Meats to over 30% of the national sheep kill, behind ICM, which slaughters around 40% and ahead of Kepak at in the region of 20%.
On the cattle side, over the last 10 years, Kildare Chilling has traded more with other factories in the form of whole carcases as opposed to retail cuts.
The sale will concern some bull beef producers, as Kildare Chilling had been one of the few processors with good contracts for heavy bulls.
Dawn Meats, on the other hand, has been one of the more vocal of the larger factories regarding its preference for bullocks as opposed to bulls.
Kildare Chilling, founded in 1951, is owned by Tom McParland, who bought it in the 1990s.