The joint venture between the two Irish meat companies is a 50:50 partnership, which won approval from the European Commission in October 2016.
The partnership includes Slaney Foods’ international beef operations, as well as what ABP Food Group described as the “sheep meat specialists” Irish Country Meats.
ABP declined to comment on the appointment of Cotter, but the move may be viewed as a strong acquisition of talent; the joint venture has brought in a man who spent more than a decade at the helm of Bord Bía.
His appointment comes against a backdrop of uncertainty, with Ireland anxious about the UK’s decision to exit the European Union (EU). If the UK fails to agree a free trade deal with the EU, it may have to use World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, which would see costly tariffs placed on imports of Irish beef and lamb.
During his tenure at Bord Bía, Cotter led numerous trade missions around the world and opened sales offices in Warsaw, Dubai, Shanghai and Singapore to promote Irish exports. Ireland is targeting meat export growth in Asia too now with a €3.75 million marketing push, which is set to benefit the ABP Food Group/Fane Valley Group joint venture.
ABP is a major exporter of Irish beef. The food group also claims to be one of Europe’s top privately-owned agribusinesses and the largest beef processor in Ireland and the UK. The Irish-based firm employs 10,000 people and runs 41 factories in Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, France and Spain.
Fane Valley Group is an agri-food firm operating in beef and sheep meat, feed, agricultural supplies, grains, by-products and fat processing.
Who is Aidan Cotter?
Bord Bía’s commander-in-chief from 2004 to January 2017, Aidan Cotter has spent more than decade at the Irish food board. Prior to serving as chief executive, he had stints as director of operations and European director. He also led the creation of the much-acclaimed Origin Green initiative, the world’s first national sustainability programme for food and drink.