Co Tyrone meat giant Dunbia is coming together with Republic firm Dawn Meats in a new joint venture. Dawn Meats has agreed a strategic partnership with Dungannon company Dunbia to establish a majority-owned operation in the UK, which will include the UK operations of both organisations.
The firm will separately acquire Dunbia's operations in the Republic.
The deal is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.
A deal with the Waterford-based company has been in discussions between both firms for some time.
Dunbia's chief executive Jim Dobson will take over as chief of the new joint venture and Dawn Meats' chief executive Niall Browne will become executive chairman.
And the new venture will be run from Dunbia's existing headquarters in Dungannon.
In the Republic, Dawn Meats will have nine facilities - including five abattoirs - following the addition of two Dunbia sites. Jim Dobson of Dunbia said: "This is the right strategic partnership for Dunbia's staff and customers, and sees us joining with a company with a shared heritage of excellence in the production of premium beef and lamb products.
"The new UK joint venture confirms our future as a leading supplier in the UK market. In a consolidating industry this deal makes strategic sense for both companies, our customers and our farmer suppliers."
Dunbia employs around 3,800 staff across around a dozen sites in the UK and Ireland. It came in at number 50 in this year's Belfast Telegraph Top 100 Companies list.
Combined, both firms process around 900,000 cattle and 2.6 million sheep each year.
Niall Browne, chief executive of Dawn Meats, said: "We are both family businesses with a deep connection to farming and a culture and business ethos that is centred on quality and sustainability.
"Given the uncertainty posed by Brexit, this partnership should further underpin the competitiveness of both operations to the benefit of all stakeholders in the UK, Ireland and across Europe.
"We are very excited about the future of both companies and the opportunities that this transaction will bring for our staff, customers and suppliers.
"In our key operating markets we will be involved in three leading national businesses with Dawn Meats in Ireland, Dunbia in the UK and Elivia in France, with our co-operative partners Terrena."
Last year Dunbia sold its pork business in Cullybackey to English-based Cranswick plc.