Danish farmers cooperative Danish Crown has announced that it has agreed to merge its UK subsidiary Tulip with UK meat processor Flagship Foods, creating one of the UK’s largest meat groups.

The Flagship group comprises Roach Foods, Dalehead Foods, Flagship Fresh Meats (acquired from Glanbia in 2003) and BQP Pig Farming Enterprise.

The new group, which will be called Tulip, will cover the complete range from farm to fork, including pig production, abattoirs and fresh meat operations, as well as significant bacon, cooked meats and other further processed products.  The UK sales of the new group will be close to £1bn (US$1.76bn), and it will employ almost 7,000 people across 21 sites.

The transaction is conditional upon competition clearance by the European Commission. Financial details were not disclosed.