Irish firm Kepak Group has been urged to invest in the sustainability of Britain’s red meat sector following its acquisition of several UK meat plants.

The firm announced it had reached an agreement to acquire the UK business and assets of 2 Sisters Red Meat for an undisclosed sum earlier this week.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kepak assumes control of the business with immediate effect.

The business’ four key production sites, running under McIntosh Donald and St. Merryn brands, are included in the deal:

  • McIntosh Donald, Portlethen, Scotland (operating since 1966);
  • Merthyr, Wales (operating since 1987);
  • Glamorgan, Wales (operating since 1999); and
  • Bodmin and Victoria, Cornwall (operating since 1995).

Collectively, these four sites and the associated central support office at Talgarrek House and cold storage facilities at Truro, process and market, around 250,000 cattle and more than one million lambs annually from more than 13,000 farmers spread from Scotland to Cornwall.

NFU Scotland Livestock Committee chairman Charlie Adam, a beef farmer from Aberdeenshire, said the acquisition was a sign of yet more consolidation within the UK red meat sector.

He urged the firm to invest in the local industry.

Margins in the red meat sector continue to be tight, and livestock farmers need to see sustainable investment in the sector to allow the Scottish red meat industry to continue to compete internationally.

“We hope that there will be continued investment into the site, ensuring that facilities are up to modern industry standards,” he said.

“In its announcement, Kepak Group has stated its desire to grow the business in the UK and collaborate closely with livestock farmers who supply existing UK sites.

“Hopefully, this will mean increasing the sales of Scottish beef and lamb and investing in a supply chain to deliver on-farm profitability and productivity.”

NFU Cymru Livestock Board chairman, Wyn Evans added: “We must not forget the importance of red meat processing facilities being located here in Wales, with regards to the collection of levy to Hybu Cig Cymru [Meat Promotion Wales].

“This is critical to support the marketing and promotion of PGI Welsh lamb and beef. The commitment Kepak has made for a reliable and financially secure business arrangement at the site is therefore reassuring.”