NI farmer owned co-op Fane Valley has taken a significant interest in egg packing and processing, having bought-out the shares held by Greenfield Foods Ltd and Shane and Declan Kerrigan, in Ready Egg Products Ltd.

The move has created a new joint venture with Lough Erne Investments Ltd, owned by Charles Crawford, the founder and managing director of Ready Egg Products.

Crawford established Ready Egg Products as a joint venture between Erne Eggs, Irish Egg Products and Monaghan-based Greenfield Foods back in 2007.

In April 2022, Ready Eggs acquired the Skea Eggs business outside Dungannon from the Hayes family. The accounts for Lough Erne Investments Ltd underline the significance of that deal, with turnover increasing from £64.6m in 2021 to £174.7m in 2022, once the Skea Egg business was included. Employee numbers increased from 151 to 306.

Ready Egg Products (and its subsidiary, Skea Eggs) will now be operated as a joint venture between Charles Crawford (Lough Erne Investments) and Fane Valley. It is understood that Crawford has retained his 51% controlling stake.

For Fane Valley it is the latest of a series of corporate decisions that has seen the co-op get out of milk (Armaghdown) and beef (Linden Foods) processing and focus on input supply and more specialist/niche food-processing businesses.

In 2019, it bought Silver Hill Duck as well as Smyths Daleside animal feeds in Donegal. Fane Valley also acquired a 50% share of Meath-based feed and seed company Drummonds in 2021.