Milk merger welcomed

A merger between dairy companies Arla and Milko was on Wednesday given the go ahead by the Swedish Competition Authority. The merger has to comply with a number of conditions from the authority, including selling off Grådo dairy plant in Hedermora.

Arla must also sell a number of Milko brands. Arla said the integration of Milko, which is based in northern Sweden and has been struggling in recent times, will begin on November 1st. The farmer organisation, LRF, told TT that the merger was good news for the dairy industry.

"It is great for farmers who have lived with uncertainty for a long time and now can continue working. It will still be a tough time for Milko's farmers, but this is a step in the right direction," said LRF chairperson Helena Jonsson in a press statement.

The food retail branch organisation, Svensk dagligvaruhandel, told TT that the merger wouldn't mean that consumers would have to pay higher prices for their milk and yoghurt in the future.

"There will not be any great consequences for consumers," Thomas Svaton, Svensk dagligvaruhandel's managing director told TT.

"It's about saving production."