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Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick formally complete their merger

Lakeland chairman: Alo Duffy
Lakeland chairman: Alo Duffy

By Claire Fox

Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Co-operative have formally completed the merger of the two societies.

The new society formed by the merger will be known as 'Lakeland Dairies' and will collect milk from around 1,350 Northern Ireland dairy farmers.

Lakeland Dairies is now the second largest dairy processor on the island of Ireland with a cross-border milk pool of 1.8 billion litres, produced by 3,200 farms on the island of Ireland.

The co-operative will have a combined annual turnover in excess of €1bn.

At the first board meeting of the new society, Alo Duffy was appointed chairman of the co-operative together with two vice-chairs, Colin Kelso and Alan McCay.

Michael Hanley, the current chief executive of Lakeland Dairies, will continue to serve as the group chief executive in the new society. He said that after completing the merger process, it must now focus its efforts on driving the business forward and delivering the strongest possible milk price for the farmer.

"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.

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"We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we establish the most effective platform from which to conduct our business in the future.

"Lakeland Dairies is farmer-owned and farmer-controlled and we exist for the benefit of our milk producers."

Lakeland was assisted by legal advisors at Belfast-based commercial practice Cleaver Fulton Rankin.

Its director Hilary Griffith said: "We are delighted to have been involved in this landmark merger on behalf of our client, Lakeland Dairies.

"It is a clear example of an agri-food company which takes a strategic and ambitious approach to its growth.

"It is not only an important merger for our client, but also the Northern Ireland dairy farming and agri-food market as a whole."

Belfast Telegraph