France's two leading pork-processing co-operatives, Cooperl and Arca, officially announced their merger at a general assembly of the two groups held in Lamballe, Brittany, yesterday (4 September).

The new entity will process almost 6.7m pigs annually supplied by 3,800 breeders.

A deal had been mooted earlier this summer but it has only been completed following the departure of Arca from the Terrena group due to apparent disagreements over the merger.

"Combining forces in this way is absolutely necessary in order to further increase the competitiveness of the sector in western France and to accommodate a market which is more and more demanding," Cooperl's managing director, Emmanuel Commault told just-food.

"We know very well that, a few years from now, borders will open up and pork will be imported from places like the US and Brazil where environmental constraints and animal nutrition are a lot less rigorous than our own. In order to cope with this new situation, it is imperative that we continue to modernise and reform the way we run our business," he added.   

This week has also seen Terrena merge its pork processing activities with Pigalys, part of the Unicopa co-operative.