The ABP Food Group, owned by Larry Goodman, has increased its beef processing capacity to over one million head per annum. This positions it as one of the largest beef processing operations in the EU.
The Newly named Larry Goodman ABP Food Group,
The increase in capacity comes after ABP UK, part of the ABP Food group, announced the purchase of the RWM Food group for an undisclosed sum. The RWM business has a state of the art beef processing facility in Langport, Somerset, with capacity to slaughter 100,000 cattle per annum.
The acquisition also sees ABP UK ramp up its lamb business, having secured a lamb processing and retail packing facility in Yetminster, Dorset, as part of the deal. The lamb plant is slaughtering one million lambs per year. Previously, the only factory in the ABP Food group to slaughter lambs was ABP Lurgan.
As part of the deal, ABP UK will also acquire a major shareholding in Blade Farming, an independent farming company which finishes around 16,000 cattle per annum on contract. The Blade Farming production model is focused primarily on calf to beef systems.
The latest acquisition by ABP UK is strategic on two fronts. Firstly, it strengthens the processor's share of the high value retail market. Tesco was one of the RWM Food group's key customers, supplying beef to the retail giant through the Hilton Food Group. Other high profile customers include McDonalds and the Co-operative retail chain. The lamb plant in Yetminster supplied around 50% of Tesco's lamb requirement.
Perhaps the most important dividend from acquiring the RWM business comes in the form of an increased supply base. It is becoming clear that with the British herd in decline, and the subsequent tightening in beef supplies, the future strength of the large processing groups will be based on their ability to secure raw material. The purchase of the RWM will give ABP UK access to an additional 1,300 farmer suppliers.
There is no doubt that this hunger to increase the supply base has fuelled the rapid expansion of ABP UK. Along with the acquisition of factories in Gilford, Blackburn and Sturminister, the group has almost doubled its slaughtering capacity in Britain within a period of just two years. Over £6 million (€6.8 million) is reported to have been spent refurbishing and increasing the capacity of the Blackburn and Gilford plants.
Total slaughter capacity for ABP UK now stands at around 12,000 head per week or in the region of 600,000 head per annum. Based on 2010 kill figures, this gives the group capacity to handle approximately 20% of the national kill in Britain.
In Ireland, ABP slaughters around 24% of the national kill. However, when the purchase of carcase beef and primal joints from other Irish and British factories is factored into the equation, their true share of cattle slaughterings in Ireland is likely to be over 27% and 24% in Britain.
Overall, the ABP Food group now has the capacity to slaughter one in every four animals slaughtered within Britain and Ireland. The group also has the capacity to slaughter 60,000 cattle per annum through the recently acquired factory in western Poland.
Meanwhile, the dominance of the ABP Food group within the European market was clearly evident at the Anuga International Food Fair in Germany this week. The positioning, design and sheer size of the group's exhibit rivalled that of the major global players in the world food market.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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