Despite wafer-thin margins currently at Dunbia's Northern Irish pork business, I think Cranswick have landed on a great opportunity. Cranswick should be able to lift production through investment, lift the margins through scale and potentially piggy back on the export trend of shipping pork to China.
With a potentially hard Brexit looming in 2019, corporates need to take risks now to be able to weather the storm in 18 to 24 months' time.
UK meat group Cranswick has announced the acquisition of pork processing assets owned by Northern Ireland-based meat group Dunbia. In an announcement this morning (16 November), Cranswick said the purchase of Dunbia Ballymena will "enhance" its pig processing and enable the company to establish a "significant presence" in Northern Ireland. Dunbia Ballymena employs 360 people and processes around 7,800 UK farm assured pigs each week. It operates a purpose built factory in County Antrim and has a "strategic, well-established supply chain" with "strong links" to local farmers, Cranswick said. Adam Couch, the CEO of Cranswick, added the deal "strengthens our UK pork processing business and provides us with greater control over our supply chain, ensuring that we can maintain the production and processing of high quality, UK farm assured, pigs which is central to our customer's requirements".