ABP/Slaney tie-up still not notified to competition authorities

The Competition Authorities in Brussels or Dublin have not been notified formally to date of the proposed tie-up between ABP Food Group and Slaney Foods.

Both the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (‘the CCPC’) in Dublin and the European Commission confirmed to Agriland that they as yet have not been notified of the proposed merger.

Last month, Fane Valley Co-Op and ABP Food Group announced that they have been informed by the Directorate General for Competition that the proposed 50:50 joint venture in relation to Slaney Foods, comes under the remit of the EU for merger control assessment.

However, to date, no formal notification has been issued by the parties to the competition authorities and, as yet, there is no clear timeline for any investigation into the merger.

Paul Finnerty, CEO of ABP Food Group, said of the deal recently that there has been considerable speculation about this joint venture; however consolidation within the industry is absolutely necessary in order for the sector to remain competitive.

“This consolidation trend is the result of an increasingly challenging international background where we compete against global players, many of whom have processing capacity multiple times that of the entire Irish industry,” he said.

In the meantime, stakeholders including a number of farm organisations are believed to be preparing their submissions on the case. It is also understood that IFA is set to put significant resources into fighting the merger.

It is believed the organisation has employed the services to a top competition expert to help prepare its case.

The IFA says that ABP would also have control of 30% of the beef kill around 40% of the sheep kill.

One insider estimated that if the deal goes through, ABP would have the lion’s share of the Angus and Hereford kill in the country.

The IFA led an 800-strong protest at the Slaney plant in recent weeks where National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said that farmers are “sick and tired of the lack of competition” and the impact it is having on the beef sector.