The Federal Competition Commission has granted approval for the proposed joint venture between the two dairy groups Emmi and Aargauer Milchverband.

Mittelland Molkerei AG is owned 60% by Emmi and 40% by the Aargauer Milchverband.

“This clears the way for the new company to start operations, thereby reinforcing production in Switzerland,” Emmi said in a statement.

The decision of the competition commission means that the company can start operative activities from 1 April 2006 and implement the proposed amalgamation. Emmi will integrate its operations in Lucerne into the new company, and the Aargauer Milchverband will contribute the Aargauer Zentralmolkerei (AZM), the statement said. In the medium term, production will be concentrated on the facilities in Suhr.

“The merger establishes a solid base for Mittelland Molkerei to increase efficiency in production and achieve the necessary scale to remain competitive in Europe. Emmi is convinced that this decision is an important step towards reinforcing its position internationally and represents a structural improvement,” the company said in a statement.

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The company will be managed by Emmi. It concentrates on butter, cream, milk and juices, as well as services such as logistics and assignments from third parties. The production facilities in Suhr will be expanded in stages, and production from the Lucerne operations (Emmi Butterzentrale AG) will be gradually relocated to Suhr over the next two to three years.