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Northern Ireland firm Dunbia denies plan to transfer work to Britain over Brexit fears

By John Mulgrew

Co Tyrone meat firm Dunbia says it has "no plans" to move any of its Northern Ireland operations to Britain. The processor was responding to a story in the Belfast Telegraph reporting that the company had considered moving some of its work to Britain amid concerns over the fallout from Brexit.

However, the Dungannon-based company stopped short of denying or clarifying whether it had discussed at a senior level moving some processing across the Irish Sea.

In a statement it said: "The headline and implications of this story are completely untrue. Dunbia has no plans to move its Northern Ireland operations to Great Britain."

Well-placed sources said the company had discussed considering focusing its meat processing in Britain because of concerns over potential delays at ports if border controls were introduced after Brexit came into force.

The firm was contacted on Tuesday for a comment regarding whether the issue had been discussed or considered at a senior level, but it did not wish to respond.

Dunbia is run by brothers Jim and Jack Dobson and has annual sales of around £787m.

In 2015 the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the company was being put up for sale.

Last year the firm sold its pork arm in Cullybackey, Co Antrim, to Cranswick plc, which is based in England.

The pork operation employs around 360 staff and processes almost 8,000 pigs a week. Cranswick's latest accounts show the business was acquired for £16.9m in cash, with a further £1.25m payable under certain conditions.

Dunbia has seen its pre-tax profits grow to more than £7m.

It saw turnover fall from £826.6m to £787.6m. In its latest company accounts, ending March 27, 2016, the firm said a drop in turnover "was driven by deflation in livestock price".

Belfast Telegraph