Heads are down as Lakeland and LacPatrick in talks

Merger talks for LacPatrick are understood to be heating up, AgriLand can reveal.

High-level talks involving LacPatrick bosses and Lakeland Dairies are understood to be taking place this afternoon.

AgriLand has seen a message sent around suppliers saying that the firm had agreed to enter “exclusive talks” regarding an amalgamation of the two organisations.

It’s understood any potential deal resulting from the talks will be subject to shareholder approval and clearance by the regulator.

Neither Lakeland or LacPatrick would comment on any potential deal.

A deal would be welcome relief to LacPatrick’s 1,000 farming families. However, it’s understood there is still much ground to be covered.

It’s been a turbulent few weeks for the processor with major Irish processor Glanbia announcing it had pulled out of talks last week.

The merger talks come less than a year after the firm opened its €33 million (£30 million) 30,000ft² dairy technology centre in Artigarvan, Co. Tyrone.

How It Started

The interesting turn of events began following a meeting of the board of LacPatrick Dairies on Tuesday, April 17, when the firm issued a statement in which it said it was “pursuing a number of strategic options”.

It’s believed the firm had been coming under pressure from its suppliers following several months of paying less than its near rivals.

In the statement, the firm’s chairman, Andrew McConkey, said: “The board of LacPatrick Dairies met on Tuesday, April 17, and it has agreed on pursuing a number of strategic options with a view to identifying the best way forward that is in the interest of its suppliers, shareholders, staff and customers.

“This may or may not include partnerships, joint ventures, mergers and other opportunities to consolidate the dairy industry.”