The leading farmer representative groups have reacted to today's announcement that Glanbia Co-op proposes to acquire full ownership of Glanbia Ireland.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said the announcement that Glanbia Co-op is taking full control of Glanbia Ireland is a significant step for the business.
“This is a complex financial arrangement that will require careful scrutiny before members vote on the proposals. I would ask that Glanbia provide every opportunity for this plan to be discussed ahead of the SGM that will have to take place,” he said.
IFA will be seeking a meeting with Glanbia as soon as possible to discuss the proposals.
The IFA President said it’s important that suppliers will see benefits from this deal, if it goes ahead. “Glanbia has a three billion litre milk pool and takes in 270,000 tonnes of grain each year. It’s a major processor and buyer of what farmers produce so they should be a market leader in price,” he said.
IFA Dairy Chairman Stephen Arthur noted the comments by the Chairman of Glanbia Co-op John Murphy that ‘our ambition is to pay the best possible price for milk’.
“Whatever new structure may emerge, it has to return a leading price to the farmers. The business must seek to extract the maximum value from the market for the quality product that we sell to them,” he said.
IFA Grain Chairman Mark Browne said grain farmers would expect any new arrangement, if it goes ahead, to pay a leading price for the quality grains supplied by farmers.
Responding to the Glanbia announcement, ICMSA President, Pat McCormack, said that the association would look carefully at the proposal before coming to any decision on whether to recommend it or not. Mr. McCormack noted Glanbia PLC’s enthusiastic and positive vision of a post purchase future where the Co-op became ‘one of Europe’s top Co-ops’ with an ‘award-winning portfolio of brands’ and greater flexibility to support members and pursue new opportunities. All of which was possible, according to Mr. McCormack, but was in no way conditional on the Co-op acquiring full ownership of Glanbia Ireland.
“Though there are obvious differences with other buy-outs and various mergers, there’s enough in common to justify our Association taking its standard attitude and that is to ask what is the long-term interests of the farmer-suppliers. That’s our starting point and our finishing point. With due respect to both the PLC and Glanbia Ireland, we will consider this in terms of how it affects the farmers. It’s not as simple as giving the farmers the room to decide their own milk price, we have seen over in the UK how a deceptively simple slogan like ‘Taking Back Control’ is actually a much more complex proposition than seemed at the time. There will be arguments for and arguments against and ICMSA will decide on a position after carefully looking at both”, said Mr McCormack.
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