As the rumours continue, Dairy Crest is sticking to Monday’s (19 December) statement that it has not been engaged in talks with French rival Lactalis.

A report, which appeared today (22 December) in the Daily Mail, claims to have seen internal documents suggesting that meetings between Dairy Crest and Lactalis bigwigs have been held and that Lactalis has been given access to sensitive financial information.

Amid this fresh speculation that the companies have been engaged in secret take-over talks, Dairy Crest spokesperson William Cullam told just-food that the situation has not changed. “What is in the Daily Mail today is essentially no different from what was in the Guardian yesterday,” he said.

This denial hasn’t put off investors excited by the prospect of the merger. Early this morning shares in Dairy Crest had risen by 3%.