Arla and Walhorn EGM members approve merger

Farmer representatives from Arla and European dairy co-op Walhorn EGM have overwhelmingly approved their merger.

The 795 Walhorn farmers will take Arla’s membership to 13,500 and give the global business its first Dutch producers.

National competition authorities must now approve the tie-up, which was announced in March and is expected to go ahead in the summer.

Arla and Walhorn representatives voted 94% and 96% for the merger, with a 75% majority needed for success.

See also: Arla plans merger with European co-op Walhorn EGM 

Arla Foods chairman Ake Hantoft said he was delighted to welcome the new farmers.

“Arla is a bigger business than Walhorn but we have exactly the same desire to be part of a co-operative that enables us to grow and develop our farms,” he said.

“Some of Walhorn’s owners are already neighbours of Arla farmers, so in every way it feels like a natural step to merge with our colleagues at Walhorn.”

Arla CEO Peder Tuborgh said the vote showed Walhorn’s owners had warmly received the message that Arla was ready to buy all the milk they produced, even after European quotas were lifted.

Walhorn EGM has 426 members in Belgium, 317 in Germany and 52 in the Netherlands and an annual turnover of €239m (£195m).

Arla’s current members are spread across Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, with more than 3,000 in the UK.

Its total sales of dairy products in 2013 were DKK73.6bn (£8bn).

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