French agriculture and food cooperatives Coopagri Bretagne, Even and Terrena have made public their plan to create a company gathering all three groups' milk and dairy operations, local media report.
The new company will have an expected turnover of 1.5 billion euros and a combined output of 1.5 billion litres of milk a year, compared to 5.5 billion litre for French leader Lactalis and 2.2 billion litres for runner-up Sodiaal (Yoplait).
The merger should be formalized at the end of December, say the reports.
Finistère-based Coopagri Bretagne recently posted a turnover of 1.57 billion euros for 2007, up 8% on 2006. Terrena, France?s largest cooperative, reported a 3.3 billion euro turnover over the same period, whilst Even?s results skirted the billion-euro mark. The three groups already cooperate under the Laïta brand.
The news follows the signing last month of a merger agreement between Dutch milk cooperatives Campina and Royal Friesland, as reported on FLEXNEWS. Should the European Commission give its approval to the merger, it will create the world?s third largest milk producer, with 8.3 billion litres.