14 Aug 2022

Kildare-based food company buys up London ham producer

Meat processing plants reopening this week as Kildare remains in local lockdown

O'Brien Fine Foods in Timahoe

Timahoe-based O’Brien Fine Foods, one of Ireland’s leading producers of cooked meats, including the Brady Family, Homebird, and Green Farm brands, has acquired UK food producer Bearfields of London.

Effective from 1 December 2021, O’Brien Fine Foods has acquired the brand and business of Bearfields of London, an established ham producer in the UK with a rich heritage in producing traditional, quality products.

The acquisition means that Irish-owned and run O’Brien Fine Foods now operates across Ireland and the UK.

Bearfields of London

Established in 1906, Bearfields of London is a family-run business spanning three generations, with a strong heritage and history of success.


With a team of over 100 people based at the company’s base in East London, Bearfields of London is an established and successful business and brand, counting both Lidl and Costco as major UK customers, in addition to a significant number of pub and café groups, catering businesses, and independent retailers.


The company supplies both branded and own-label raw and cooked ham to its customers.


O’Brien Fine Foods

With a team of over 500 people operating from three dedicated facilities in Timahoe, County Kildare; Rathowen, County Westmeath; and Rathcairn, County Meath, Ireland, O’Brien Fine Foods currently supplies branded (Brady Family, Green Farm, and Homebird) and own-label meat products to all leading retailers in Ireland including Tesco, Lidl, Dunnes, the Musgrave Group, and BWG Foods.

The company has a track record of success in acquiring growing family brands and businesses. It successfully acquired Brady Family and Green Farm, developing both brands into market leaders. Green Farm is currently the fastest-growing brand in the business.

With Bearfields of London now part of the business, O’Brien Fine Foods can develop the business with operations in the UK, delivering on the firm’s ambition to grow the company.

Commenting on the acquisition, John O’Brien, Managing Director of O’Brien Fine Foods, said: ‘We’re delighted to secure this deal today and welcome Steve and colleagues to the business. In Bearfields of London, we’ve found a strategic partner and a business of real substance that shares many of our strengths and values.

‘This acquisition allows us to enter the UK market with an established and successful business, and we look forward to working to develop the brand and offering through investment in the business and the people.’

The acquisition will see an initial investment in a new facility in London.

Commenting on the Irish business, O’Brien said: ‘Our continued growth is testament to the success of the business and the talent and expertise of the O’Brien Fine Foods team in Ireland. We will bring this knowledge and know-how to bear in working with the Bearfields team while opportunity exists for our people, customers, and suppliers as a result of this acquisition.’

Steve Bearfield, Managing Director of Bearfields of London, said that the acquisition was a positive development and a great opportunity for both businesses.

‘The merger means we’re creating a larger business and offering in the UK. With the expertise of John and team, we can capitalise on this scale for our employees, suppliers, and customers. The acquisition is testament to the hard work and strong business that our team has built over the past 100 years, and I look forward to working with the O’Brien Fine Foods team in further developing the Bearfields of London brand.’

In planning for over nine months, the deal was managed by Louise McElligott, finance director at O’Brien Fine Foods, advised by Wallace Corporate Counsel, JP Burke & Company and Focus Tax Partners.

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