The merger of Ballyrashane and Town of Monaghan (ToM) co-ops will be completed within the next two months, according to ToM Chief Executive Gabriel D’Arcy.
“The joining of the businesses represents the culmination of a long established working relationship between both entities,” he said.
“Formal meetings involving members of both boards took place before Christmas. I can confirm that the details of the merger have been agreed in full. It will take another two months to complete the legal formalities. A new name for the merged business will follow.”
The co-ops have a combined milk pool of 550 million litres and last year recorded a joint turnover of €300 million.
“Both businesses complement each other,” said D’Arcy.
“Ballyrashane has a specialised fractionated butter business while Town of Monaghan is committed to new processing technologies, which will allow us to add value to the non-butter components of milk. With this in mind a commitment has already been made to invest between €25 and €30 million at our Artigarvan plant in north Co Tyrone.
“Both businesses also have a robust brand profile in the marketplace. Ballyrashane has strong liquid milk, butter and cheese lines. The Champion liquid milk and yoghurt brand is synonymous with Town of Monaghan while our Leckpatrick milk powders are amongst the most sought after on the African market.”
D’Arcy believes that the merged business will be well placed to ride out the financial, volatility-related storms coming the way of the Irish dairy industry over the coming years.
“It has been my experience that only those businesses with a strong balance sheet will survive the ups and downs of a volatile marketplace.
“And this is exactly what the new business will bring to the table. The ability to simply generate profits is not enough when it comes to long term, commercial survival,” he said.
“We have no existing debts. But I would have hesitation in borrowing money to invest in the right growth opportunities for the future.”