2 April 1999

Five merge to form United Milk group

FARMER members of five independent milk groups have approved plans to merge and form United Milk (Business. Mar 5).

Of the 814 members belonging to Camelot, Somerset, Stour Vale, United Milk Producers and Wessex Milk entitled to vote, 74% did so. Only one was against the move, says UMs Chris Austen.

United Milk will be the largest independent milk group in England and Wales with an output of 850 million litres, equivalent to 8% of the liquid milk market.

"We couldnt have wished for a better start," says Richard Ashworth, UM chairman.

An assets-for-shares swap is expected to build capital reserves well in excess of £1m. Many members intend to invest more than their basic entitlement, Mr Ashworth claims. As a result, the board will increase the number of shares in the "additional share offer" due to be issued in August.