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Irish firm takes full control of NI meat company Dunbia

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Venture: Jim Dobson

Venture: Jim Dobson

Venture: Jim Dobson

Northern Ireland meat giant Dunbia is now entirely under the control of Dawn Meats after the Irish firm took full ownership of the business.

It brings to an end 44 years of Northern Ireland ownership of Dunbia, which grew into one of the province's biggest food companies.

Jim Dobson OBE co-founded Dunbia in Dungannon with his brother Jack in 1976, building it into an enterprise exporting to 36 countries.

Dawn Meats was founded by three farming families in Co Waterford in 1980. It joined with Dunbia in a joint venture in 2017.

Dunbia employs 1,000 people in Northern Ireland, an increase of 25% since the joint venture was formed. It processes beef and lamb from 12 facilities across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Dobson said: "The creation of the joint venture with Dawn Meats ensured the business would continue to grow as a leading quality meat supplier in the UK market. I want to thank all the team that has worked on the integration and feel confident that they are well-placed to build on all our past achievements together."

Dawn Meats' combined businesses in the UK and Ireland now employ over 7,000 staff working with over 30,000 farmers.

Michael Bell, executive director of the NI Food and Drink Association (NIFDA), called Mr Dobson a "pillar of industry".

"The success of Dunbia - turning a small butcher business into one of Europe's leading meat processing companies - is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and sheer hard work of Jim and his brother Jack.

"Jim has been an active NIFDA member for many years and a forceful voice for Northern Ireland food and drink. I wish him a very well deserved long and happy retirement."

Belfast Telegraph