Lakeland Dairies, Ireland, and LacPatrick Dairies Ltd., also based in Ireland, announced plans to merge.

Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies are neighboring societies and operate on a cross-border basis, exporting a vast majority of their output to global markets. 

The amalgamation of Lakeland and LacPatrick is a coming together of two dairy co-operatives on the island of Ireland to form a strong force in the global dairy industry. The new combined co-operative will work to support dairy farming families on a long-term basis by maximizing market returns and paying a sustainable and competitive milk price in line with market conditions.

Owned and controlled by farmers with over 3,200 milk suppliers and a collective milk pool of some 1.8 billion liters, the new co-op will be dubbed as the second largest dairy processor in Ireland.

“The board of LacPatrick firmly believes that an amalgamation with our neighbors 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,” says Andrew McConkey, chairman of LacPatrick Dairies. “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.”

“This merger proposal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both co-operatives to continue their strong progress in a very meaningful way,” adds Alo Duffy, chairman of Lakeland Dairies. “Both societies are committed to the long-term well-being and economic success of dairy farming, milk producers and rural communities. The proposed merger will uphold these values and will lead to further scale, strength and sustainability for milk producers. It will enable us to process all of the milk sent to us, including the expanding output of our dairy farming members. It will create economies of scale and will secure our channels to global markets on a stronger, substantial and even more sustainable basis for the future. The board of Lakeland Dairies is unanimously recommending the merger to our shareholders.”

“I am confident that the best interests of the shareholders and milk producers of both societies will be best served through this merger. The economies of scale achievable by combining both societies will create a larger, more efficient, diversified, farmer-controlled, global dairy food group with a broad portfolio of value-added products and brands,” says Michael Hanley, chief executive officer of Lakeland Dairies. “Both co-operatives have excellent facilities, technologies and resources with strong synergies across our milk processing footprint and in the markets we serve at home and abroad. We will be able to expand the potential of our overall portfolio of products, covering food ingredients, foodservice and consumer foods. The business will have considerable potential to increase revenues and generate the cost savings necessary to ensure competitive milk prices for our dairy farmers in the future. It will continue to ensure market access to the United Kingdom, Europe and the world. The combined organization will have substantial cash flow to underpin the development of the business. All of these factors will enhance the value of the merged societies for the benefit of all shareholders and milk producers.”