13 August 1999

Pig co-ops set for big merger

SOUTHERN pig marketing co-ops Thames Valley Pigs and Cambac Pig Sales are merging to form Thames Valley Cambac.

Operations will start in the New Year, when the new group will market 1m finished pigs and over 500,000 weaners a year from the Midlands and across the south of England. That is about 7% of the total UK finished market and 30% of the throughput of the countrys largest producer group, United Pig Marketing.

The move comes at a time when pig producers, hit by recent price cuts, are branding marketing groups as poor performers. One suggestion at a recent British Pig Industry Support Group meeting, says consultant Peter Crichton, was that pigs should only be consigned after a price has been agreed.

Meanwhile, UK media rumours that the UKs biggest pig processor, Malton Foods could merge with Denmarks largest, Danish Crown, has been dismissed as laughable by Danish executives.

"It is not something we have even thought of," said one. With Danish Crown still in the process of merging with another big domestic operator, VJS, it was unlikely the company would be contemplating a move into the UK, he adds. Maltons Max Hilliard was unavailable for comment. &#42