Munster co-op to begin negotiations on merger deal

A potential merger between the north Kerry based Newtownsandes Co-op and North Cork Creameries has moved a step closer following a members’ meeting last night.

AgriLand understands that negotiations on the potential merger will now proceed to the next stage after a vote on the matter at the meeting, sources have confirmed.

It is understood the Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICOS) is expected to act as a “go-between” on the deal, and will chair talks between the two co-ops.

At the meeting, a majority of stakeholders apparently voted to merge with North Cork Creameries, based in Kanturk, over two other mooted options – Arrabawn and Tipperary Co-ops.

The prospect for a merger of Newtownsandes is not a new one, and has been looked a for a number of months; last night was the decision-making night, having carefully weighed up the co-op’s choices.

North Cork and Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge co-ops announce merger

This development comes in the immediate aftermath of the announcement that the aforementioned North Cork Creameries and the Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-operative from Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick, are to merge following an agreement approved by the boards and members of both co-operative societies.

It follows “necessary rule changes and approvals” agreed by the members of the co-operatives, on the unanimous recommendation of their respective boards, according to the co-ops.

These were made during the course of discussions leading up to the completion of the merger agreement.

The merger is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge and North Cork are considered “friendly societies” that already work closely together in a commercial dairy processing arrangement.

As it stands, North Cork Creameries processes milk into a range of products for Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge.

Following on from the agreement, the businesses of both co-operatives will be merged – with all current milk collection and processing arrangements continuing as normal.

Under the new arrangement, members of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-operative will become full members of North Cork Co-operative.