SHARES in Glanbia rose sharply yesterday, as Glanbia co-op formally gave up its majority holding in the company. The stock closed up 6pc at €8.14 after the co-op sold 3pc of its shares in the food group, reducing its holding to just over 48pc.
The move comes a week after co-op members backed a plan to reduce its holding in Glanbia Plc, the food group it part owns, from 51pc to 41pc.
Some 83pc of farmers voted in favour of reducing the co-op's shareholding in Glanbia plc to 41.4pc at a special general meeting of the co-op last Wednesday. The vote needed 75pc approval for it to be passed, combined with the yes vote received at the first SGM on November 28.
Some 78pc of active milk suppliers also said yes.
Under the plan, 3pc of shares were sold on the open market yesterday, while the remaining 7pc will be distributed directly to co-op members. That is expected to be completed by March and means farmers will be able to either hold or sell their Plc shares themselves.
The direct distribution will bring a windfall worth an estimated €15,000 to co-op members.
The placing is the final piece of a plan to spin out Glanbia's milk production into a joint venture between the co-op and Plc. Under the plan, milk production will now be 60pc controlled by the co-op and 40pc by the Plc. The move is said to give farmers more control over the milk business, while allowing the Plc to chase markets for its sports nutrition business.