Shareholders of Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies have overwhelmingly supported the merger of the two businesses into a single dairy processing co-operative, operating across the northern half of the island of Ireland, subject to regulatory clearance.
Directors envisage completion in early 2019, concluding negotiations between the two parties that started in July this year.
The merged business will trade as Lakeland Dairies, processing over 1.8 billion litres of milk from 3,200 dairy farm suppliers on both sides of the border into dairy products each year, and generating annual revenues in excess of €1 billion.
The decision was approved by 97.24% of Lakeland members and 95.99% of LacPatrick shareholders. Directors say the new business will have the cashflow to underpin the development of the business, while creating efficiencies to benefit milk producer members.
“The combined organisation will be a competitive, international dairy food business which will work as a platform to secure the future of our dairy farmer members for generations to come,” states Michael Hanley, chief executive of Lakeland Dairies and group chief executive designate of the news society. “It will deliver economies of scale and commercial synergies, processing increased volumes of milk and providing greater capability to address global customer needs for high quality dairy foodservice, food ingredients and consumer products.”