TWO OF IRELAND’S OLDEST DAIRIES CONFIRM COMPLETION OF ‘GAME CHANGING’ MERGER
Town of Monaghan and Ballyrashane Co-ops have confirmed their merger, announced a new company name and have described the merged entity as a ‘platform for growth’, against a backdrop of a challenging global market.
At separate meetings of shareholders yesterday in Monaghan and Ballyrashane, the members almost uananimously confirmed completion of what has been described as a ‘game-changing’ merger with plans for further significant new investment at Artigarvan near Strabane as a critical part of the new Co-op’s growth strategy.
The newly merged company will be called LacPatrick to reflect its size and scale, and its strong global ambitions to grow the business in Ireland and beyond. It will officially commence trading on September 1st. LacPatrick will be led by a new Board of Directors comprising the former two Boards, with a new management team headed up by Gabriel D’Arcy and Nigel Kemps – former CEOs of Town of Monaghan Co-op and Ballyrashane Co-op respectively. Gabriel D’Arcy will be the new Chief Executive, with Nigel Kemps appointed as Deputy Chief Executive.
Gabriel D’Arcy said: “I am delighted with the strong confirmatory vote from both sets of shareholders, and that our companies are coming together to become a powerful new force in the Ulster dairy sector. We now have the scale and ambition to win in what is currently a very challenging and competitive marketplace. Given the volatility of global dairy markets, this merger further underlines the importance and significance of this ambitious move by our two companies.
“Our shared geography and production facilities, technologies and customer listings, together with the combined balance sheet strength, offers a unique opportunity to create a true leader in the Ulster dairy food sector, focused on innovation and competitiveness. This potential for clear and endurable market leadership will ensure that the new merged entity will continue to make competitive and sustainable returns to our members, the dairy farmers of Ulster. This merger is a platform for future growth for all associated with LacPatrick and, we look forward to making further announcements in the weeks and months ahead regarding future investment.”
Nigel Kemps said: “This merger is particularly necessary when we look at the state of the market and especially the poor returns paid to producers. The size and scale that we now have as a merged entity will ensure we can be more competitive, and achieve better returns. Our aim is to give dairy farmers in the north of the island confidence to grow their own businesses and herds. LacPatrick as a combined entity can achieve scale and volumes, delivering more than the two separate companies could have done on their own.”
The name LacPatrick has been chosen to reflect the core ethos of the newly merged Co-op, which is to bring its innovative and excellent dairy products to consumers at home and internationally.
Lac, which is Latin for milk, and Patrick, which is synonymous with the island of Ireland, combine to create a name which underpins the newly birthed Co-op’s rich heritage, but also speaks of its ambitions to grow and develop. Its strap-line ‘DAIRY BY IRELAND Since 1896’ is a clear statement of its longevity in its markets and communities and defines the solidity of the new entity.
The logo features a modern red map pin to celebrate LacPatrick’s location in the rich and fertile northern part of the island. A four leaved clover emphasises its good fortune in being situated in an area of such natural bounty and the milk drop symbolises the central focus of the business. The green colour is reflective of the nutritious grass of Northern Ireland’s pastures and the natural goodness of Ireland.
The new name will be used at trade fairs and to market the new company on the global milk market. It will also appear on tankers in conjunction with the individual consumer brands of the two former Co-ops. Existing product brands – e.g. Champion, Ballyrashane Butter – will remain.
Town of Monaghan Co-op, which was established in 1901 and employs 150 people, is a farmer owned co-operative with a turnover of approximately €250m. It has approximately 950 farmers supplying 460 million litres annually. The milk is processed at Coolshannagh, Monaghan and at TMC Dairies (NI) Ltd in Artigarvin, Co. Tyrone. Yogurt, liquid milk, cream, butter, bulk skim milk and bulk evaporated skim milk are produced at its Monaghan HQ site with spray dried, whole milk and skim milk dairy powders being produced at Artigarvin.
Ballyrashane Co-op’s main site is located close to the world famous Giant’s Causeway on the North Antrim Coast. Renowned for its innovation, the company has in recent years expanded to its current position as a leading dairy supplier within the global market, boasting a wide portfolio of products and employing approximately 150 staff. Ballyrashane remains true to its roots as an independent co-operative still owned by local farmers and contributes financially, socially and environmentally to the local rural community. Ballyrashane has an annual turnover of approximately £80m and buys 100m litres of milk from around 100 local farmers.