The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has not yet been notified of the proposed merger of ABP / Linden Foods.

Prior to Christmas, 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.

Once a proposed transaction is notified, the CCPC has thirty working days to make a Phase 1 determination (unless a Requirement for Further Information is issued to the parties, in which case the deadline is extended).

Once the 30 days are over, the CCPC will either: (i) clear the deal – this could involve clearance with conditions such as divestitures or (ii) move to a Phase 2 investigation.”

Under the proposed deal 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.

Farmer concern

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”.

Henry Burns said the investment will be subject to clearance by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which needs to undertake a full investigation and provide the necessary guarantees and undertakings to farmers around competition and market concentration.

Meanwhile the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has stressed that the recently announced partnership will be subject to competition law.

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.