We’re now almost halfway through January but little progress has been made between Kerry Co-op and Kerry Group on negotiations to form a new joint venture dairy processing business.

Board directors in Kerry Co-op had hoped to hold a virtual meeting this week with either Edmond Scanlon or Gavin Caplis from Kerry Group to discuss the contentious “leading milk price” issue. However, it’s understood this meeting will not take place until next week.

A cohort of board directors at Kerry Co-op wish to settle the “leading milk price” issue once and for all before any serious negotiations on Kerry Co-op investing in a joint venture dairy processing business can take place.

However, other board directors of Kerry Co-op are worried that time is running out to strike a deal with Kerry Group to buy a 60% stake in its primary dairy business, which is understood to have annual sales of €1.2bn and generates profits of €80m to €100m per year.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon, in a meeting before Christmas, informed the board of Kerry Co-op that progress would need to be made on the joint venture talks by February.

If the talks failed to move forward, Scanlon warned that Kerry Group would begin engaging with third parties interested in buying the business.