Glanbia Co-op members have given a resounding endorsement to the purchase of a majority shareholding in the Irish consumer foods and agribusiness companies from Glanbia plc.

Almost 2,400 co-op shareholders gathered in Punchestown racecourse on Thursday last, with over 93% approving the creation of Glanbia Ireland, a 60/40 joint venture between the co-op and the plc encompassing Glanbia’s entire Irish business.

It means Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) will reunite with the other Irish businesses to form the new entity.

The co-op also approved the release of 5% of its plc shareholding, worth in excess of a quarter of a billion euro.

On Monday, following the plc’s approval of the transaction, 8.7m Glanbia plc shares (about 3%) were sold by the co-op at a price of €17.60 – equating to almost €155m.

This will pay the €112m price tag for the purchases, and put over €40m in a solidarity fund for co-op shareholders.

In addition, 2% (5.9m shares) of the co-op’s shareholding in the plc, worth over €100m, is being distributed among co-op shareholders.


Glanbia chair Henry Corbally

“I’m very grateful to the shareholders for turning out in such numbers and voting in favour of the proposals the board brought to them. It’s justification for what we have said since the beginning of the process – that we would like to see more farmer ownership of the processing assets here in Ireland.

We still have a wonderfully integrated relationship with the plc, but the business that farmers deal with every day of the week is very important to shareholders.”

Listen to an interview with board member Brendan Hayes and group managing director Siobhan Talbot here:

Listen to "Reactions to Glanbia Ireland vote" on Spreaker.

Jim Bergin, CEO designate, Glanbia Ireland

“The joint venture model has worked well in Glanbia Ingredients since 2012. We have processed over 33% extra milk, we have spent €270m building extra capacity, we have paid down that debt to a balance of €65m at the end of 2016, and paid a competitive milk price through that time. The structure of GII has been successful, the board has been very challenging, but very ambitious for the business. The consumer foods and ingredients companies complement each other, with consumer foods making more profit when milk prices are lower. Agribusiness has been a consistent performer over many years, and brings a stability to the business. We are planning further capital investment on dairy processing, and our suppliers will again not be required to pay a penny toward that expansion”.

Listen to Jim Bergin's reaction to the vote here:

Listen to "GII chief executive Jim Bergin" on Spreaker.


In truth, there was little suspense around the vote this time. There is a logic to the co-op taking a slice of those businesses that the shareholders interact with. The joint venture concept has been proven in GII, and consumer foods and agribusiness will now come into the fold as Glanbia Ireland.

With continuing dairy expansion on-farm, the spin-out money will be welcomed, and non-dairy farms of all sectors will be glad of the cash boost.

In terms of the challenges ahead, one farmer summed up the feeling of many when he said he was supporting the management proposals, as he always had previously, but expected a strong commercial milk price from the new company. Glanbia’s success means farmers, while grateful for the spin-outs and co-op solidarity payments, want the biggest processor to pay the best price – all the time.

Additional reporting by Odile Evans.

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