Regulator to look at proposed merger of Irish dairy co-ops

The Competition and Markets Authority is investigating plans to merge LacPatrick and Lakeland co-ops

Plans to merge Irish dairy co-ops LacPatrick and Lakeland Dairies are to be examined by regulators.

The merger was approved by more than 90% of the two co-ops’ members in October last year. But now the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced plans to investigate the deal.

Between them, Monaghan-based LacPatrick and Cavan-based Lakeland collect milk from more than 1,300 farmers; both organisations operate cross-border. The merger would form the second-largest dairy processor on the island, with a milk pool of 1.8 billion litres and annual revenues of more than €1bn,

At the time the merger was announced, Michael Hanley, group CEO designate of the planned new society, said: “The combined organisation will be a competitive, international dairy food business which will work as a platform to secure the future of our dairy farmer members for generations to come.

“It will deliver economies of scale and commercial synergies, processing increased volumes of milk and providing greater capability to address global customer needs for high quality dairy foodservice, food ingredients and consumer products.”

The CMA said it was considering whether the merger “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.

It wants to hear from any parties with concerns over competition or public interest matters arising from the planned merger.

The invitation to comment closes on 31 January.

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