UK: Arla, milk suppliers to "define roadmap" to ownership
Arla, Milk Partnership look to define ownership requirements
Arla Foods and UK supplier group Arla Foods Milk Partnership have entered into talks in a bid to define how AFMP members can join Arla's existing farmer-shareholders in ownership of the co-operative.
Three group's of farmers supply Arla: owners of Arla Milk Link, members of AFMP and direct suppliers. AFMP members already own part of the UK business and the group indicated that they have "long sought" to become full owners on an equal footing with farmers in Arla Milk Link.
Last year, Arla and UK firm Milk Link agreed a merger between the two co-operatives in a deal that brought full-membership a step closer. The parties are now in the process of laying down the "roadmap" for full integration and a transfer of ownership.
"Real negotiations can only begin when we have a plan for what is required," said Arla Foods chairman Åke Hantoft.
"The work we're now embarking on confirms that both parties share the ultimate objective that, in the future, we will be able to offer full ownership to the AFMP members who want it and who can comply with the terms of the offer."
Arla Foods and AFMP ready to define roadmap for membership of the cooperative
Arla Foods amba and Arla Foods Milk Partnership (AFMP) farmer directors are in discussions to define the process of clarifying the roadmap for what is required for AFMP members to become owners of Arla.
Three groups of dairy farmers supply milk to Arla Foods: owners of Arla Milk Link, direct suppliers and members of Arla Foods Milk Partnership (AFMP). AFMP members, through their investment company, MPL, own part of Arla’s UK business, Arla Foods UK plc, and have long sought to become full owners of Arla Foods amba, on an equal footing with farmers in Arla Milk Link.
Arla Foods amba has always shared AFMP members’ ambition of full membership; most recently made clear in connection with Arla's merger with Milk Link, in October 2012.
The parties are now in the process of laying down the roadmap for what is required before the ambition can be realised.
“Real negotiations can only begin when we have a plan for what is required,” said the Chairman of Arla Foods, Åke Hantoft, who, informed Arla’s Board of Representatives last week that work was about to commence on defining the roadmap.
“The work we’re now embarking on confirms that both parties share the ultimate objective that, in the future, we will be able to offer full ownership to the AFMP members who want it and who can comply with the terms of the offer,” said Åke Hantoft.
Work begins this month within the framework of Arla and MPL, AFMP members’ investment business, which has a joint venture company that currently owns a 6.3 per cent stake in Arla UK. Besides the AFMP farmer board directors, the Arla Foods amba board of directors, and Arla's management, will be involved in defining the terms.
"Over the past 19 years, Arla Foods Milk Partnership, has enjoyed a close relationship with Arla. A decade ago, in 2003, we made our first investment in Arla UK, through our investment arm, MPL, and in January 2012, began increasing our investment. We welcome this major new development,” said Jonathan Ovens, Chairman of AFMP.
Facts about AFMP
The 1,300 members of Arla Foods Milk Partnership (AFMP) own 3.15 per cent of Arla Foods UK via their investment vehicle, Milk Partnership Limited (MPL), in a joint venture with Arla Foods amba. Since January 2012 AFMP increased its investment to 0.5 pence per litre per annum.
Original source: Arla Foods Milk Partnership
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