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Artigarvan dairy cooperative reaches agreement to merge

CROSS-border dairy cooperative, LacPatrick, one of whose main sites is in Artigarvan, has reached an agreement to merge with neighbouring Lakeland Dairies.

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 on the island of Ireland.

It will have a combined annual turnover in excess of €1bn, creating internationally competitive scale while ensuring efficient costs of operation.

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The two co-operatives have reached agreement to merge following the unanimous approval of the Boards of both societies who are recommending the proposed merger to their respective shareholders.

Discussions about a possible merger started last June. Regulatory approval will also be required.

Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies are neighbouring societies and both operate on a cross border basis exporting the vast majority of their output to global markets. Each has a heritage of excellence in co-operative dairy farming spanning well over a century and share common business development aims in the interests of their shareholders, milk producers and rural communities.

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. It gives our farmers the necessary security to make long term business decisions and provides stability for continuing progress in dairy farming for the next generation. The Board of LacPatrick is unanimously recommending our shareholders to approve this merger at our forthcoming SGM.

“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.”

Lakeland Dairies will hold its special general meeting (SGM) in Cavan and LacPatrick Dairies will hold its SGM in Cookstown at 1pm on Tuesday, October, 23.

Both cooperatives have written to their respective shareholders with details of the merger and will also hold a series of information meetings in advance of the SGMs across several counties, north and south.

LacPatrick was established in 2015 following the merger of Ballyrashane Co-op and Town of Monaghan Co-op. It has three main sites at Monaghan, Ballyrashane and Artigarvan.

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