LacPa­trick sup­pli­ers call for share­hold­ers’ meet­ing on merger plan

But board in­sists it has been ‘pro-ac­tive’ and trans­par­ent with farm­ers

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - LOUISE HO­GAN

THERE are mount­ing calls for share­holder meet­ings at LacPa­trick Co-op to dis­cuss the con­tin­u­ing un­cer­tainty at the Ul­ster dairy pro­ces­sor.

Sup­pli­ers of the north­ern dairy have ex­pressed anger and frus­tra­tion at the lack of con­sul­ta­tion from man­age­ment at the co-op.

A Lacpa­trick source pointed out that the co-op had writ­ten to its share­hold­ers re­gard­ing re­cent de­vel­op­ments and that it had met with farm or­gan­i­sa­tions on both sides of the Bor­der over the last week.

How­ever, the ICMSA has backed calls for the co-op to hold a share­hold­ers’ meet­ing.

“We note that LacPa­trick is com­mu­ni­cat­ing di­rectly with in­di­vid­ual farmer-mem­bers and with farm or­gan­i­sa­tions, but we would think that the cir­cum­stances call for com­mu­ni­ca­tion at share­holder level and that should be ar­ranged,” ICMSA pres­i­dent Pat McCor­mack said.

How­ever, in a state­ment to the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent, LacPa­trick in­sisted that it had been proac­tive in its com­mu­ni­ca­tions with co-op mem­bers.

“LacPa­trick has com­mu­ni­cated di­rectly with farm­ers as well as with farm or­gan­i­sa­tions thus far and will con­tinue to do so through­out this process,” LacPa­trick stated.

“LacPa­trick proac­tively sought meet­ings with the IFA and the ICMSA in the Repub­lic of Ire­land as well as the UFU in North­ern Ire­land to in­form them and their mem­bers of the re­cent de­vel­op­ments in LacPa­trick,” the co-op state­ment added.

The co-op also pointed out that no de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of LacPa­trick would be taken with­out the “ap­proval of share­hold­ers”.

In its let­ter to share­hold­ers LacPa­trick stated that its board had set out a strate­gic vi­sion for the busi­ness which “may or may not in­clude part­ner­ships, joint ven­tures, merg­ers and other op­por­tu­ni­ties”.

The let­ter claimed that the LacPa­trick board’s de­ci­sion fol­lowed “ap­proaches from in­ter­na­tional and na­tional com­pa­nies in re­cent months”.

The move also fol­lowed a 5.5c/l cut in milk re­turns for South­ern sup­pli­ers for March sup­plies.

Prof­itable

LacPa­trick’s VAT in­clu­sive milk price fell from 35.75c/l in Fe­bru­ary (which in­cluded an early calv­ing bonus of 3c/l for Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary) to 30.25c/l for March.

The price for North­ern Ir­ish milk sup­pli­ers was also cut to 25p/l.

LacPa­trick man­age­ment has in­sisted that the co-op is prof­itable and re­mains “in a po­si­tion of fi­nan­cial and strate­gic strength”.

“LacPa­trick is a prof­itable co-op. All farm­ers have been paid for their milk this month and farm­ers will con­tinue to be paid on time each and ev­ery month re­gard­less of how long this process takes and re­gard­less of the out­come,” the co-op stated.

LacPa­trick was cre­ated in 2015 by the merger of Town of Mon­aghan Co-op and Bal­lyrashane Co-op in Antrim. It has a milk pool of around 600m litres, with 500m litres sup­plied from the North and 100m from the South.

The co-op has around 1,000 sup­pli­ers, 700 in the North and 300 in the South. It has three pro­cess­ing sites lo­cated in Mon­aghan town, Bal­lyrashane and Ar­ti­gar­van, Co Ty­rone.

Among the pos­si­ble merger can­di­dates touted for LacPa­trick are Dale Farm in the North, as well as Aurivo, Lake­land Dairies and Glan­bia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.