PIGMEAT PROCESSOR Flagship Foods is to merge with Tulip, Danish Crown‘s UK subsidiary, to create one of the largest meat groups in the UK.

Sales of new company Tulip Ltd will approach £1bn.

The firm will cover pig production, abattoirs and fresh meat operations as well as bacon, cooked meats and other processed products.

The Flagship group includes Roach Foods, Dalehead Foods and Flagship Fresh Meats – the business acquired from Glanbia in 2003 – as well as BQP Pig Farming.

Flagship Foods has annual sales in excess of £443m and slaughters over 1.5m pigs a year. Tulip operates several processing factories in the UK with sales of more than £400m a year.

National Pig Association chairman Stewart Houston welcomed the news, saying the Danish merger could help improve output and production costs.

He did not regard the move as a threat to the British pig producer.