NI rendering plant referred to Competition Commission

A Northern Ireland rendering company has been referred to the Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), over concerns that its proposed merger with a rival company may lessen competition and impact prices for local meat plants.

An OFT investigation concluded that there was a realistic prospect that the merger between Linergy Limited and Ulster Farm By-products would result in substantial lessening of competition in Northern Ireland, because there is only one other rendering plant in the region.

Amelia Fletcher, OFT chief economist, said: “We were concerned that animal waste producers in Northern Ireland, who are obliged by law to purchase rendering services, might be disadvantaged by this merger. As a result of the merger, there would be very little remaining competition among Northern Irish renderers, and this could lead to higher prices for meat plants and farmers, and ultimately for consumers. We have therefore asked the Competition Commission to undertake an in-depth investigation.”

Dungannon-based business Linergy Limited produces renewable biomass fuels, tallow oil and meat and bonemeal from animal by-products and the collection and disposal of fallen stock animals. It was established in 2005 by three agri-food industries – Linden Foods, Dunbia and Fane Valley – to provide an innovative solution for the problems of waste disposal costs, soaring energy prices and a changing legislative framework. In January, it announced its merger with Ulster Farm By-products, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Glenfarm Holdings, which specialises in processing fallen stock.