Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Limited and LacPatrick Co-operative Society Limited have today created history by formally completing the merger of the two societies.
The new society formed by the merger is to be called Lakeland Dairies Co-operative Society Limited and will be known as ‘Lakeland Dairies’.
A transitional board has been established (including Lakeland and LacPatrick Board members) to cover the initial 12-month period post-merger.
At the first board meeting of the new Society, Alo Duffy, Ballybay, Co Monaghan was appointed Chairman of the Co-operative together with two Vice-Chairs, Colin Kelso from Omagh, Co Tyrone and Alan McCay from Dunamanagh, Co Tyrone.
Michael Hanley, the current CEO of Lakeland Dairies, will continue to serve as the Group CEO in the new society.
Lakeland Dairies is now the second largest dairy processor on the island of Ireland with a cross-border milk pool of 1.8bn litres, produced by 3,200 farms from a catchment area covering 16 counties. The co-operative will have a combined annual turnover in excess of €1bn.
Alo Duffy, Chairman of Lakeland Dairies said: “This is a historic and progressive development. The fruits of the merger will be realised as we continue to grow and develop our co-operative for the long-term benefit, sustainability and livelihood of dairy farmers.
“I welcome all members and milk producers collectively into our new co-operative society. Our mutual progress will be underpinned by the confidence that comes from working together to create a strong and secure future for our dairy farming families and our generations to come.
“The major contribution that we make through our co-operative enterprise, to the economic wellbeing of rural communities and the progress of the dairy industry north and south on this island, will be further strengthened and will continue long into the future.”
Group CEO, Michael Hanley said: “Together with my management colleagues throughout the business, and under the direction of the current and future Boards of the Society, we are deeply committed to the future success of this enterprise.
“Both of the societies now forming Lakeland Dairies have a proud heritage of excellence in dairy farming. From today, we combine our mutually valued heritage into one. There is no looking back, only a collective movement driving forwards to achieve commonly held goals.
“Lakeland Dairies is farmer owned and farmer controlled and we exist for the benefit of our milk producers. We are now bringing all of our capabilities together into a single and unified organisation whereby we will create new efficiencies and economies of scale as we continue to serve our valued customers throughout the world.
“We look forward to the future success of Lakeland Dairies as a fully integrated dairy industry player, creating further value for milk producers, with modern processing technologies and enhanced global market access for our high quality dairy products.
“The bringing together of two major organisations is complex. After the intensive activity leading up to the merger, we must now focus all of our energies entirely towards the future success of the combined business. Significant work will have to take place to make the new organisation as efficient as possible and to return the strongest possible milk price back to dairy farmers in line with market conditions. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we establish the most effective platform from which to conduct our business in the future.”