Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies have agreed to merge following the unanimous approval of the Boards of both co-operative societies who are recommending the proposed merger to their respective shareholders.
The two dairies are neighbouring societies and both operate on a cross border basis exporting the vast majority of their output to global markets. Owned and controlled by farmers, with over 3,200 milk suppliers and a collective milk pool of some 1.8bn litres, the new co-op will be the second largest dairy processor in Ireland (Northern and ROI combined). It will have a combined annual turnover in excess of €1bn, creating internationally competitive scale while ensuring efficient costs of operation.
As an absolute priority, the combined new co-operative will work to support dairy farming families on a long term basis into the future by maximising market returns and paying a sustainable and competitive milk price in line with market conditions.
The announcement was made jointly by the chairman of LacPatrick Dairies, Andrew McConkey and the chairman of Lakeland Dairies, Alo Duffy, together with Michael Hanley, CEO of Lakeland Dairies who will be appointed group CEO of the new merged co-operative society which will adopt the name of Lakeland Dairies.
Andrew McConkey, chairman of LacPatrick Dairies said: “The Board of LacPatrick firmly believes that an amalgamation with our neighbours in Lakeland Dairies is the best thing for our milk suppliers, shareholders and customers.
“With an enlarged milk pool and well invested dairy processing sites on both sides of the border, the new co-operative will be a co-op of scale working in the long term best interests of dairy farmers, ensuring global market access and serving our valued customers with an even greater capability and an expanded range of high quality, value-added dairy products.”
Alo Duffy, chairman of Lakeland Dairies said, “This merger proposal is a once in a lifetime opportunity for both co-operatives to continue their strong progress in a very meaningful way. Both societies are committed to the long term well-being and economic success of dairy farming, milk producers and rural communities. The proposed merger will uphold these values and will lead to further scale, strength and sustainability for milk producers.”