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Wednesday 23 May 2018

LacPatrick 'pursuing strategic options' following approaches from international and national companies

Gabriel D'Arcy, chief exec of Lacpatrick. Photo/Paul McErlane
Gabriel D'Arcy, chief exec of Lacpatrick. Photo/Paul McErlane
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

It has emerged the board of LacPatrick Dairies have agreed on pursing a number of strategic options to secure the future of the business.

In a statement it's Chairman Andrew McConkey said the move is with a view to identifying the best way forward for the business that is in the interest of its suppliers, shareholders, staff and customers.

He said this may or may not include partnerships, joint ventures, mergers and other opportunities to consolidate the dairy industry. 

“The decision by the board of LacPatrick comes following a number of approaches from international and national companies from the sector in recent months,” he said.

The company currently handles and processes more than 600 million litres of milk from more than 1,000 farmers, with more than 500 million litres coming from suppliers in the North, and the remainder in the Republic, from in and around Monaghan.

It has three operations - in Tyrone, Coleraine, and in Monaghan, where it is headquartered.

Last month LacPatrick unveiled a "Brexit-proofing" technology centre in Co Tyrone in a £30m investment creating 20 jobs.

The site at Artigarvan near Strabane has now doubled its capacity, with a total workforce of 90, and will be able to make two new milk powder products for export.

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LacPatrick was formed three years ago following a merger between Town of Monaghan Co-Operative - which had a long history of taking milk from Northern Ireland farmers - and Co Antrim's Ballyrashane Co-Operative.

Its investment has been supported by Danske Bank.

Chief executive Gabriel D'Arcy said: "The new dairy technology centre at Artigarvan will provide security of capacity for local dairy farmers producing milk to the highest standards. The plant provides long-term security to our supplier base and positions the business at the forefront of  global dairy technologies.

"We are now able to produce two new lines of milk powder for international markets, with the dairy technology centre able to process milk all-year round."

Mr D'Arcy said the "core logistical risk of" Brexit has been mitigated by the Artigarvan expansion. As an exporter out of the UK, LacPatrick will be closely monitoring the trading agreements being negotiated by London.

Mr D'Arcy added: "We will be focused on driving product development, building relationships with processors seeking access to our technology and expanding our customer base in Asia and the Middle East.

"We have made a significant capital investment with the clear purpose of delivering a sustainable return to our suppliers over the coming months and years ahead."

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