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Finland's Valio To Merge Two Of Its Dairy Co-Operatives

Published on Aug 31 2018 8:30 AM in Fresh Produce tagged: Dairy / Merger / Valio / finland

Finland's Valio To Merge Two Of Its Dairy Co-Operatives

Finnish dairy manufacturer Valio has announced that its co-operatives Osuuskunta ItäMaito and Osuuskunta Maitosuomi will merge into a new co-operative, as of 1 September 2019.

The new co-operative will be known as 'Osuuskunta Maitosuomi' and will be based in Lapinlahti.

The chairman of the board of ItäMaito, Mikko Heikkinen said the new co-operative is “close to the heart of the combined operating area, which extends from Ostrobothnia to North Karelia and from Kainuu to Central Finland. Lapinlahti’s current cheese and powder plants’ modern premises are ideal for the new co-operative’s personnel. Most of the company's staff will be serving the entire territory.

"The new co-operative is being christened Maitosuomi (‘Milk Finland’), which aptly describes its new operating area stretching across a large part of the best milk production regions in Finland."

Better Services

The merger agreement was signed on Wednesday, 29 August in Helsinki.

The move will enable development of services for dairy farmer entrepreneurs and provide efficiency in terms of access to resources.

Esa Kotala, chairman of the board of Osuuskunta Maitosuomi said, “The number of dairy farmer entrepreneurs in Finland has been falling by 5%–7% each year for some time now, which also cuts the number of members in the milk producer co-operatives. The merger will enable us to enhance our operations and secure the future of services offered by the co-operative.

“Advisory and expert services will be more effective together and serve entrepreneurs more efficiently. A large unit promotes specialisation."

Election Of Delegates

The administration of the new co-operative will be similar to that of the current co-operatives. All members of the new body will have one vote in the election of delegates.

Of the 23 dairy farmer members on Valio’s Supervisory Board, four represent Osuuskunta Maitosuomi while ItäMaito has six.

The first election of delegates will be held in the autumn of 2019.

A board of directors will also be elected towards the end of 2018 to ensure a smooth transition during the merger, and prepare the co-operative for future operations.

“Our goal is to further develop operations and focus personnel performance and resources so we can respond to the needs of the dairy farmer entrepreneurs even more effectively, and promote the prerequisites of their livelihood in the best possible way. The merger targets the cost-efficient development of our services,” said Ilpo Lukkarinen, managing director of Osuuskunta ItäMaito and Reima Luomala, managing director of Osuuskunta Maitosuomi.

Large Shareholder

The new co-operative will be Valio’s largest single shareholder with 20,849 shares (42.7% of the total 48,861), also leading in terms of raw milk intake, at around 900 million litres per year.

Osuuskunta Maitosuomi has a little over 1,100 dairy farmer entrepreneur members, while Osuuskunta ItäMaito has under 1,600 members.

Osuuskunta Maitosuomi’s raw milk volume intake was around 364 million litres in 2017 and ItäMaito’s was around 519 million litres.

Together, the co-operatives supply nearly half of the raw milk volume taken in by Valio.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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