The completion of the ABP takeover of the former Scotbeef businesses at Bridge of Allan and Queenslie has been officially cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Following a statement from the CMA, the investigation has concluded, and the merger can be complete.

Earlier in the year, on July 29, the CMA raised an initial enforcement order that halted the deal while the merger was investigated by the authority. The reason for the investigation was to assess whether the acquisition would significantly reduce competition in the abattoir sector.

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The order compelled the two parties not to integrate the Scotbeef business into the ABP operation, to avoid the transfer of ownership or control of the business, and to avoid the impairment of the Scotbeef business’ ability to “compete independently in any of the markets affected by the transaction”.

Industry leaders in the cattle and sheep sectors raised concerns that increased control by Irish owned ABP could make the processing sector less competitive. However, farmers also worried that if the takeover was stopped, then the overall processing capacity in Scotland could be reduced.

A statement from the government authority states: "The CMA has cleared the completed acquisition by Anglo Beef Processors UK of Scotbeef Limited’s businesses at Longleys Farm, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, and Penston Road, Queenslie, Glasgow."

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ABP has had a presence in Scotland since 1982, where it already employs 320 colleagues and works with 1600 Scottish farmers. The company has a further 15 meat processing sites across the UK.

CEO of ABP Food Group, Frank Stephenson, commented: “I would like to welcome our new colleagues and farmer suppliers to ABP and look forward to further developing opportunities for quality Scottish beef and lamb products in the retail and food service sectors across the UK and further afield.”

ABP employs 13,200 people across its four divisions: Red Meat, Pet Foods, Renewables, and Proteins, with processing facilities in nine countries and a turnover of €5 billion.