Greenlight for Lakeland and LacPatrick dairies’ merger

LACPATRICK Co-operative Society Limited and Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Limited have jointly welcomed regulatory approval, for the merger of both societies, received this week from the Competition and Markets Authority (UK) and from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (Ireland).

Both authorities determined and ruled that competition would not be adversely affected as a result of the merger.

CMA previously announced that it has opened an investigation into the proposed merger between the two dairies.

Cross-border dairy co-operative, LacPatrick, one of whose main sites is in Artigarvan, reached an agreement last October to merge with neighbouring Lakeland Dairies. Discussions about a possible merger started in June 2018 however regulatory approval – via the CMA – remained essential.

Owned and controlled by farmers, with over 3,200 milk suppliers and a collective milk pool of some 1.8bn litres, a new co-op – to be called Lakeland Dairies Co-Operative Society Limited – would be the second largest dairy processor on the island of Ireland.

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

The regulatory authorities’ clearance was the last significant hurdle for the merger to go ahead. 

Andrew McConkey, chairman of LacPatrick Dairies said, “We look forward to the continuing future success of Lakeland Dairies as a fully integrated dairy industry player, creating efficiencies and further added value for our milk producers with enhanced global market access for our high quality dairy products. The merger 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. 

With a large milk pool and well-invested dairy processing sites on both sides of the border, the new Lakeland will be a co-op of considerable scale. We will work in the long-term best interests of dairy farmers while serving our valued customers with even greater capability and an expanded range of high quality, value-added dairy products.”

A number of standard legal and administrative procedures will now be completed to enable the new Society to begin trading at the end of March. Until then, the two co-ops will continue to operate independently with each setting its own milk price.


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