15 November 1996

Milk sell-off denial

WEEKEND Press speculation of a wholesale sell-off of Northern Foods milk division has been hotly denied by the company.

It also denied there had been detailed merger talks with Unigate and that chairman Chris Haskins was about to step down to pursue a political agenda.

It is understood there have been discussions between most of the major dairy companies on ways of dealing with over-capacity in the liquid sector. But, while further rationalisation was inevitable, City analysts were satisfied that a Northern Foods sell-off was not on the cards.

&#8226 Both companies are due to publish interim results next week, which are expected to show evidence of continuing pressure on their dairy interests.