Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone meat firm Dunbia £769m turnover boost after a year of buyouts

Dunbia reveals £769m boost in its latest report

By John Mulgrew

Co Tyrone meat processor Dunbia has boosted its turnover in a year in which it made several new acquisitions.

It edged close to a £769m turnover for the year ending March 2014 - up more than £40m on the previous, according to the latest filed annual report.

But pre-tax profits for the company fell during the course of the last financial year - dropping by almost £3m to £4.6m.

The Dungannon-headquartered company, headed by chief executive and co-founder Jim Dobson, said it made "significant one-off costs" of £1.75m to support winning a contract for a major retailer.

The company also snapped up three businesses within a 10-month period - but would not comment yesterday on reports it is to acquire a share in Dutch-based meat business Shannon Meats.

In the last financial year, staff numbers across the firm increased by around 200 - with some 3,256 people working for the processor.

That increased staff costs at the firm to almost £70m.

The value of the company's assets, such as machinery, buildings and equipment, rose by more than £20m - increasing to £155m.

Dunbia supplies meat, including beef, lamb and pork, to a range of customers throughout the UK and further afield.

Some of its major contracts include supermarket giants Sainbury's and Asda.

It sources livestock from more than 22,000 producers across the UK and Ireland.

In the annual report, chief executive Mr Dobson said the group's strategy for the coming period "will continue to be that of product development and volume growth".

"While the group and the industry as a whole have battled with fluctuating/increasing livestock prices, the group has been able to work closely with customers in retaining gross profit margin and will continue to do so," he said.

In April 2013, the Dunbia group took over the remaining 50% of Co Tyrone firm Dunrus Limited.

It also acquired family-owned Nottinghamshire abattoir and processor G Wood and Sons a month later. Lastly, it took over Scottish firm Lynch Quality Meats (now Dunbia Ayr Limited) in February last year.

The addition to the group comes after it became the sole supplier for Scottish beef, pork and lamb to Sainsbury's and the Co-operative.

Speaking at the time, Dunbia sales director Michael Doran said the decision to snap up Lynch Quality Meats was "the next important strategic step" for the company.

And as a result of the Dunbia's latest takeovers, the group now has 13 subsidiaries - including operations in Ballymena, Navan in the Republic, as well as Preston and Crewe in England.

It also operates an office in Paris.

Founded as a butchers back in 1976 by brothers Jim and Jack Dobson, Dunbia grew to include a slaughterhouse in Dungannon seven years later, before developing through a series of expansions.

It rebranded from Dungannon Meats to Dunbia in 2006.

The firm currently has four directors and Tory peer Lord Mawhinney as chairman.

Dunbia came in at number eight in last year's Belfast Telegraph Top 100 companies in Northern Ireland - a list topped by Moy Park.

Meanwhile, it rose to number 78 in the Sunday Times Top Track 100, moving up 10 places.

Belfast Telegraph

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