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Farmers expected to share Glanbia gains

By John Mulligan

Almost 15,000 Glanbia Co-op farmers across Ireland - including hundreds in Northern Ireland - are to split a €105m (£89m) windfall under a plan hatched to create a new €1.5bn business.

Glanbia plc revealed plans yesterday to create a new entity called Glanbia Ireland.

The plc, which is led by Siobhan Talbot, owns a mozzarella cheese factory in Magheralin, Co Down.

Glanbia Ireland will include Glanbia plc's Irish consumer brands such as Avonmore and Kilmeaden. It will be Ireland's biggest dairy company.

Under the plan, the co-op would pay €112m (£95m) to Glanbia to secure a 60% stake in Dairy Ireland.

Its assets would then be transferred to Glanbia Ireland, which will then include Glanbia's Irish consumer foods business, as well as its Irish agribusiness unit.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, a joint venture between Glanbia and the Co-op, will also become part of Glanbia Ireland.

At least 66% of the Co-op members will have to vote in favour of the deal for it to be approved.

Glanbia shareholders also have to agree to the proposed plan.

That vote could take place by May and the deal could be cemented by June.

Glanbia's Dairy Ireland business generated revenues of €616.2m (£522m) last year and earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) of €30.7m (£26m).

Glanbia Co-Op will have to sell a 3% stake of its 36.5% holding in the plc to fund the transaction, and will also set up a €40m (£34m) members' fund.

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