Two oldest dairies explore merger plan

Town of Monaghan CEO Gabriel D'Arcy, standing left, with Ballyrashane CEO Nigel Kemps with Town of Monaghan chairman Hugo Maguire, seated left, and Ballyrashane chairman Roy Irwin
Town of Monaghan CEO Gabriel D'Arcy, standing left, with Ballyrashane CEO Nigel Kemps with Town of Monaghan chairman Hugo Maguire, seated left, and Ballyrashane chairman Roy Irwin

Two of Ireland’s oldest dairies - Ballyrashane Co-op and Town of Monaghan Co-op - confirmed today their Boards of Directors have agreed to enter formal discussions with a view to exploring the merits of merging.

A joint statement from the two co-operatives underlined the benefits of a new combined entity saying it would create a “powerful new force in the Ulster Dairy sector with the scale and ambition to win in the increasingly challenging and competitive marketplace.”

“Our complementary geography and production facilities, technologies, customer listings together with the combined balance sheet strength offers the unique opportunity to create a true leader in the Ulster dairy food sector focused on innovation and competitiveness,” said Town of Monaghan chief executive, Gabriel D’Arcy.

“This potential for clear and endurable market leadership will ensure that the new merged entity will continue to make competitive and sustainable returns to our members, the dairy farmers of Ulster.”

His Ballyrashane counterpart, Nigel Kemps said: “Both co-operatives have similar ethos values and culture and we have entered these discussions with the best interests of our suppliers and shareholders to the fore while also being cognisant of the strong potential benefits to our suppliers, staff and customers.

“We believe this a potentially powerful partnership that will enable both co-ops to achieve more together than we could on our own.”

Town of Monaghan, established in 1901 and employing 150 people is a farmer owned co-operative with a turnover of approximately €250m.

It has around 950 farmers supplying 460 million litres annually. The milk is processed at Coolshannagh, Monaghan and at TMC Dairies in Artigavan, Co Tyrone.

Based close to the Giant’s Causeway Ballyrashane has expanded to its current position as a leading dairy supplier within the global market boasting a wide portfolio of products and employing approximately 150 staff .

It has an annual turnover of around £80m and buys 100m litres of milk from around 100 local farmers.