FEARS OF JOB LOSSES AT BREEO
The High Court ruling that allows the Kerry Group to buy Breeo Foods has caused fear of yet more job losses in Mitchelstown.
A spokesman for the Kerry Group told The Avondhu this week, “We are now concentrating on completing the purchase of Breeo Foods and, as far as the Kerry Group are concerned, it is business as usual.” However, he added that he was not in a position to rule out job losses at Breeo Foods at this time.
The Competition Authority had blocked the proposed €165m acquisition last August saying that it would ‘substantially lessen competition’ in the bacon, processed cheese and non-poultry cooked foods sectors.
However a High Court ruling last week overturned this and the brands, Shaws cooked meats, Dairygold, Galtee rashers and sausages and Mitchelstown cheese are now set to be part of the Kerry Group’s portfolio.
Reox chairman Flor Riordan said, “We believe that the sale of the business to Kerry Foods represents a full price for the business given the current market conditions. The sale of Breeo Foods has been controversial and difficult.
"The High Court ruling last Thursday has given the green light for Kerry and Breeo to complete the sale and we expect this to be concluded in the coming days. The outcome is a very good one for Reox in the present climate. This is a very significant step in stabilising our business.”
Cllr Liam O’Doherty (FG) told The Avondhu, “I am not aware that the Kerry Group plans any job losses at Breeo Foods but in these very uncertain times it will be very difficult to find new employment should anyone lose their jobs now. I would call on the Kerry Group to confirm the deal with Reox will not affect employment at Breeo and Dairygold”.
The move by Reox to sell the Breeo brands to the Kerry Group for €165m was the brainchild of Reox’s former CEO Jerry Henchy whose positions on the boards of both Dairygold and Reox were only recently made redundant. Sean Sherlock TD is calling for Kerry Group to announce that jobs at Breeo are safe.
“Dairygold, and indeed the North Cork region, has been devastated over the last few years. I would hope that the farmers who are shareholders and the actual owners of Dairygold will stand up and oppose any proposed job losses in their area,” Deputy Sherlock said.
The Mitchelstown Business Association (MBA) is also fearful for the future of jobs at Breeo, “We would be very disappointed if even one single job was lost. At this time all we can do is wait for any announcement from Kerry as to what their plans are,” Eamon O’Brien Chairman of the MBA said.
Local TD and long time opponent of Jerry Henchy, Ned O’Keeffe told The Avondhu, “There will be job loses at Breeo Foods no matter what the Kerry Group say. There will be losses and I challenge them to deny this. The jobs at Dairygold’s plant at Castle Farm will be affected. This is an absolute disgrace. I think the High Court ruling was wrong and it allows a monopoly to exist in the market. This is just another nail in the coffin of Mitchelstown and North Cork.”
Breeo Foods employs 300 people in all.
Thursday 26th March 6:41pm