French pork processors Cofiporc and Porc Armor plan to merge, in a deal that would create the fourth-biggest player in the country's pork sector.

The deal, which Porc Amor said today, would be effective from the beginning of next year, would bring together 700 producers. The new group will be named Porc Armor Evolution and process close to 1.8m pigs annually.

The two partners said they are looking to the merger to create economies of scale through combined purchasing and rationalisation in the marketing of pork products.