Merger of North Cork and Feale Bridge co-ops given the green light

The proposed merger of North Cork Co-operative Creameries and the Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-operative has been given the green light by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

News of the merger came to light in early February following an agreement approved by the boards and members of both co-operative societies. The CCPC gave its approval in recent days.

North Cork Co-operative Creameries is based in Kanturk, Co. Cork; while, the Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-operative is located in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick.

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

North Cork Creameries processes over 250 million litres of milk annually into a range of value-added dairy products and functional food ingredients – including 12.5 million litres of milk supplied by producers of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-op.

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.

The chairman and vice-chairman of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-operative will also join the board of North Cork Co-operative. The board of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge will continue in an advisory capacity for 12 months to oversee transition arrangements.

Successful relationship

When the proposed merger was announced in early February, the chairman of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge Co-operative, Michael Mangan, said: “We have a long and successful commercial milk processing relationship with North Cork Creameries – which has always supported us very strongly over the years. Our milk producers will now also benefit from direct involvement in co-operative dairy processing.

This agreement represents the total commitment of both our societies to support our members, milk producers and customers as part of a vibrant co-operative enterprise – which is both competitive and sustainable for our mutual benefit as dairy farmers.

“The combination of both co-operatives will strengthen the dairy industry throughout our region and will underpin the future success of our business.”

Meanwhile, Martin O’Keeffe – chairman of North Cork Co-operative Creameries – also commented, noting: “Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge is a co-operative which we greatly respect and we are very pleased to enter this merger with it.

“This development offers clear prospects for further secure growth and sustainability for dairy farmers. It will reinforce our commitment to pay the highest possible milk price to milk producers through continuing efficiency and excellence in everything we do.”