In a statement, ABP said it was selling its Silvercrest facility at Ballybay in Co Monaghan to the ready meal food group Kepak, subject to Competition Authority approval.
More than 120 employees at the site will move over to Kepak management and ABP explained that, since the horsemeat scandal broke in January, it had kept staff at the site on full pay while its future was resolved.
ABP Food Group chief executive Paul Finnerty explained the sale was the right thing for all involved. He said it would help ABP progress positively with its chilled beef business, as well as its other businesses.
He added that, since January, it had become apparent that the group was only one of a large number of other leading European companies affected by the horsemeat issue. “The issue affected frozen burgers, which are not core to the group’s future business strategy,” he said.
He also confirmed that other parts of the business were unaffected by the horsemeat scandal and sales in its chilled beef sector remained steady.
“ABP continues to meet our ongoing customer demands for quality and service; we would like to thank our customers for their continuing support for all our operations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the workforce at Silvercrest for their dedication and hard work over the years, and to wish them well with their new employer,” he said.
Meanwhile Kepak Group managing director John Horgan said: “We look forward, subject to Competition Authority approval, to working with the staff at the Ballybay plant and to returning the facility to full production in the coming months.”
He also said that the group was pleased to announce the terms it had agreed with ABP to acquire Silvercrest Foods. He added: “The acquisition of the Ballybay plant would complement Kepak’s existing burger and convenience foods business strategy which is focused on developing its sales within EU retail and foodservice markets.”