8 March 2002

Giant merger is placed on hold

THE proposed merger between Zenith and the Milk Group has been put back by several months due to apparently unforeseen complexities of merging a co-op with a private limited company.

July is now thought to be the most likely operational date, rather than the start of April.

Zenith managing director Chris Bird dismissed rumours that differences in ex-farm milk prices paid by the two groups or membership concerns over the structure of the new company were to blame.

A series of special meetings will be held in May before members vote on the issue.

&#8226 United Milk has announced a price cut of 0.5p/litre for March milk, taking the farmers weekly standard litre (4.1% butterfat, 3.3% protein, top TBC and cell count bands, 1101 litres collected daily) to 18p/litre.

Zenith has held its milk price for February, equating to 18.37p/ standard litre. Milk Link is maintaining its price through to the end of March (17.52p/standard litre).n