Monday 19 November 2018

North Cork Creameries reveal details of merger with co-op

'It will reinforce our commitment to pay the highest possible price to suppliers'

Bill Browne

The chairman of North Cork Creameries, Martin O'Keeffe, has said its merger with the Feale Bridge & Headley's Bridge Co-Operative would "offer clear prospects for further secure growth and sustainability for dairy farmers." 

It emerged this week Kanturk Co-Op will merge with its Abbeyfeale-based counterpart following an agreement approved by the respective boards and the members of both societies. 

The development follows what have been described as "necessary rule changes and approvals" on the unanimous recommendation of both boards during the course of discussions leading up to the completion of the merger agreement. 

In a joint statement the co-ops said the merger is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Committee. 

"Both are friendly societies who already work closely together in a commercial dairy processing arrangement whereby North Cork Creameries processes milk into a range of products for Feale Bridge & Headley's Bridge."

Founded in 1928, North Cork Creameries processes more than 250 million litres of milk annually in to a range of dairy products and functional food ingredients, including 12.5 million litres of milk supplied by producers of  Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge. 

"Each society has a long standing heritage of commitment to co-operative dairy farming and they share common business development aims in the interests of their members, milk producers and rural communities," read the statement. 

"Following on from the agreement, the businesses of both co-operatives will be merged with all current milk collection and processing arrangements continuing as normal."

Should the merger be given formal approval, it will see Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge members become full members of the North Cork Co-Op, with its chair and vice-chair joining the board. The board of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge will remain in an advisory capacity for a year to help oversee the transition proceedings. 

Mr O'Keeffe said they greatly respected the Co Limerick based co-op and were "very pleased" at being able to announce the merger plan. 

"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," said Mr O'Keeffe. 

He said that North Cork Creameries had made "substantial investments" in modernising its facilities to meet the milk processing needs of its customers. 

"We now look forward to working closely with our colleagues to further progress our co-operative success in the years ahead," said Mr O'Keeffe. 

The chair of Feale Bridge & Headley Bridge, Michael Mangan, said the combination of both co-ops would "strengthen the dairy industry throughout our region and underpin the future success of our business."