The groups are joining forces to combat “expected changed in the dairy industry” with the end of EU milk quotas in 2015. France is the EU’s biggest farming economy, and the scrapping of EU production limits is controversial among the country’s small-scale producers.
Sodiaal is France’s largest dairy cooperative, and enjoyed sales of €4.4bn in 2012. With the merger of the two groups, combined milk production will exceed 5bn liters.
The two cooperatives claim the restructuring reflects their desire to build a common future.
“Sodiaal and 3A share a common vision for the future of the French dairy industry and changes that are coming with the end of milk quotas in 2015,” said a joint statement on the merger.
“Simultaneously dedicated to their milk producer members and conscious of having to be competitive in their processing operations, they share the same cooperative values.”
The merger is subject to consultation with employee representative bodies, the approval of competition authorities and the agreement of the shareholders’ general meeting which should meet before the end of 2013.