Food co-operative, Capel, based in Cahors, in south-west France, has absorbed smaller counterpart, Bevicor, based in Brive, to create a EUR250-260m (US$315-328m) business.

It will employ some 650 full-time staff with activities spanning meat processing, fruit and vegetables, farming supplies and retail outlets.

Following the merger with Bevicor, Capel’s livestock herds will extend to 150,000 pigs, 140,000 sheep, 60,000 beef cattle, 2m ducks and 10,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables.

The merger will boost throughput at Bevicor’s abattoir in Brive which has been operating under capacity while there are plans to restructure processing units with the introduction of greater specialisation.