17 August 2001

Kerry is Irish No 2

IRISH food processor and agri-business Kerry Group has secured over 80% of the shares in rival public limited company (PLC) Golden Vale, creating the countrys second biggest dairy outfit behind Glanbia.

The new company will have a milk pool of over 1bn litres, or about 20% of the Irish quota. Combined turnover will come to over £2bn, though dairying will represent only a small percentage, given Kerrys wide product range across all food areas.

Farmers have welcomed the move. "The group will be large enough, influential enough and will have sufficient potential for cost cutting to return a leading milk price to its suppliers.

"Nothing less will satisfy both Kerry and Golden Vale milk producers," said Irish Farmers Association milk chairman Padraig Walshe.

The deal has to be approved by Kerry Group shareholders at a special meeting in Tralee next Tuesday (Aug 21) and by the competition authority in Dublin. &#42