Competition Authority called on to examine possible sale of Kildare chilling
The Competition Authority has been called on to intervene and examine whether a possible sale of Kildare Chilling to one of the ‘big three’ meat processors in Ireland and the UK is anti-competitive.
The call has been made by ICSA president Patrick Kent who said “Farmers are alarmed at the prospect of a further concentration of the national kill in the hands of the ‘big three’. Kildare has been an important independent operator for both beef and sheep meat, and any sale to one of the ‘big three’ is bad news for farmers.”
Kent stated that there is ongoing frustration with the meat processing sector in Ireland, where all factories pay remarkably similar prices and change specifications in a remarkably uniform manner, ultimately leading to farmers getting a remarkably unviable share of the retail price.
He said: “It’s time for the Competition Authority to step up to the plate. We already have a situation where beef processing is dominated both here and in the UK by just three companies, and further concentration of the kill will undoubtedly be detrimental to farmers. This situation further highlights problems in the beef industry such as factory-controlled feedlots and lack of competition in the rendering sector.”
ICSA has been calling for a meat regulator to examine all practices within the sector which are preventing farmers from getting the best possible price given prevailing market conditions. If this sale goes ahead unhindered, then it will provide further evidence of the need for greater regulation at both national and EU level.