Coveney says ABP /Slaney deal will be subject to competition law

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has stressed that the recently announced partnership between ABP and Slaney foods will be subject to competition law.

His comments come in the wake of serious concerns over the deal which will see ABP controlling a large proportion of the beef market.

In response to a parliamentary question from Noel Grealish TD the Minister said that the State, through the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, has an existing and well-established infrastructure for oversight of competition matters and for dealing with allegations of anti-competitive practices or abuse of a dominant position.

“I understand that acquisitions or mergers of organisations with turnover exceeding certain statutory thresholds are required to be notified to that body, which conducts an assessment to determine whether there will be any “substantial lessening of competition”.

“The acquisition referred to by the deputy will be subject to the relevant statutory requirements under competition law,” he said.

‘Partnership’

Last week the Linden Food Group announced that it is set to restructure its Slaney Foods business in the Republic of Ireland, resulting in the creation of a new partnership with ABP.

ABP has confirmed that they are set to take a 50% stake in Slaney Foods, which involves the purchase of the Allen family stake in the business.

The move has sparked serious concern among farm organisations in terms of both competition in the market and the concentration of the kill.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said competition in the beef and lamb trade is always a contentious issue between farmers and factories.

“Farmers are rightly concerned with the over dominance of a number of major players at both processing and retail level”.

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