Strong majority backing from shareholders of both Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies for a merger between the two co-ops has been cautiously welcomed by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Commenting on the decision of suppliers on both sides to endorse the merger proposal to form the new Lakeland Dairies, president of ICMSA Pat McCormack welcomed the decision of the shareholders.

He wished the new entity – now one of the largest milk processors in the country – success and good fortune.

McCormack said that farmers will judge the new entity on its commitment to paying its farmer-suppliers a strong, competitive milk price.

He hoped that the relevant competition regulators will approve the merger as quickly as possible enabling the management and board to begin delivering the efficiencies and benefits of the merger to their farmer-suppliers as quickly as possible.

“The new merged entity has all our best wishes, but they must know that we will expect that the farmers supplying the milk – on which the whole commercial operation is based – will be paid a competitive price for that milk in a speedy and direct manner,” he concluded.

Strong backing for merger

Shareholders at Lakeland Dairies have voted in favour of merging the two companies – making the new entity the second-largest dairy processor in the country.

Lakeland has passed the motion with a majority of over 97%, while earlier on this afternoon LacPatrick shareholders backed the merger by 96%.

The vote was reached by majority decision today (Tuesday, October 23) after larger-than-expected turnouts at two separate Special General Meetings (SGMs) – held by Lakeland Dairies at Hotel Kilmore in Co. Cavan, and by LacPatrick Dairies in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.