09 April 1998
Egg merger plans scrambled

By Boyd Champness

MERGER plans between two of the UKs largest egg producers – Stonegate Farmers and Thames Valley Eggs – have been scuppered.

The board of Stonegate released a two-paragraph press statement today (Thursday) saying directors had decided to terminate the merger discussions.

“It is the wish of the Stonegate Board that no further comment be made until both parties have had time to properly discuss the Stonegate decision,” the release said.

Des Houston, sales and marketing director of Stonegate, said: “Its difficult for us to comment at the moment because Thames Valley managing director David Watts is on holiday.

“But its fair to say that there were some difficulties with the merger, which were too hard to overcome,” he added.

Had the merger gone ahead, the combined company would have controlled roughly 21% of the UK egg market.

At the time of the merger announcement, Andrew Parker, Stonegate chairman, said the bottom had fallen out of the UK egg and hen-meat market making the merger necessary for both companies.

He said egg prices were at an all time low, and broilers imported from Thailand had undercut the local hen-meat market.

The proposed merger was not expected to run into conflict with the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. French company Matines currently controls 28% of the French and 34% of the Spanish markets.