The planned merger involving Spanish food co-operatives Grupo AN  and the Unica Group will create a bigger business able to efficiently serve domestic and international markets, the groups have said.

A joint statement stressed: "We want to achieve the best position in all markets, both domestic and international, and in all segments; fresh, preserved, frozen and middle and high end. We also wish to do the best by our members and improve efficiency."

Together, the two groups will form the second-largest fruit and vegetable co-operative in Spain. The Unica Group will take charge of exports, while Navarre-based Grupo AN will run sales to Spain’s domestic market.

Unica’s strengths in vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers will be combined with apples, pears, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts produced by Grupo AN, the co-operatives said. Grupo AN is also the largest grain co-operative in Spain and has poultry processing operations.

The partners hope they will generate turnover close to in the coming year following the merger.

They also offered to work closely with other Spanish food cooperatives in developing processing and distribution services. "We wish to develop pillars of growth so that other co-operatives who are in tune with our philosophy can get involved," the co-operatives said.