ABP Food Group’s acquisition of two beef processing sites in Scotland has been cleared after an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In June of this year, ABP announced the acquisition of an abattoir in the town of Bridge of Allen, and a meat packing plant in Queenslie in Glasgow.

Both plants belonged to Scottish-based processor Scotbeef.

However, the CMA issued an enforcement order on July 29, indicating that it had decided to investigate the transaction on the basis that the business of ABP UK and Scotbeef will cease to be distinct.

This enforcement order prevented ABP from taking any action, during the course of the investigation, which would lead to the integration of Scotbeef with ABP; transfer ownership or control of Scotbeef or its subsidiaries; or impair the ability of ABP and Scotbeef to compete independently in any of the markets affected by the transaction.

On September 21, the CMA said that it was considering if the transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a merger situation that may result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services.

Any interested parties were invited to comment on the merger from that point.

The CMA also confirmed on September 21 that it had launched a merger enquiry into the acquisition.

On October 11, the CMA said that it had revoked the initial enforcement order that was imposed on July 29. However, this did not officially signal the end of the investigation.

In the latest update, announced by the CMA today (Thursday, November 9), the acquisition by ABP of the two facilities has now been cleared.

It is intended hat the two facilities will become part of ABP’s UK meat division, which also includes an existing processing facility in Perth, Scotland.

Commenting at the time that the acquisition was announced, Frank Stephenson, group chief executive of ABP, said: “We look forward to working with the team in Scotbeef to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for farmer suppliers, colleagues and customers at the Queenslie and Bridge of Allan plants.”