Managing Director Jens Bigum describes the result for the year as "acceptable" considering the developments in the international market and the tough battle for market shares during the first half of the year. In view of the falling milk prices, however, Jens Bigum is reluctant to express any particular pleasure with the result.
In his report to the Board of Representatives, Jens Bigum referred to the rationalisation measures which have already been implemented within production, marketing and administration and pointed out that the result could not have been achieved by Kløver Mælk or MD Foods individually. Moreover, he expressed confidence that the expected rationalisation gains will materialise.
In his report, Jens Bigum also mentioned the huge changes currently under way in the European retail trade, including the world's largest supermarket chain, American Wal-Mart's arrival in Europe and the Dutch giant Ahold's entry into Sweden. Ahold recently acquired a 50% stake in the Swedish chain, ICA, which owns 3,100 outlets and has a share in the petrol company Statoil's Scandinavian business. Ahold is now Europe's largest retail chain.
"We've become even more convinced that the merger with the Swedish dairy company, Arla is strategically sound," said Jens Bigum drawing attention to the fact that Ahold, which is already one of MD Foods's most important customers, will be the new Arla Foods' largest customer by far.
Jens Bigum rounded off his report by saying:
"We have put an exciting year behind us – a year in which we have achieved more than most could have dreamed about just one year ago. Not only have we reached the goal established at the time of the creation of MD, i.e. to gather all Danish milk into one milk can. By deciding to merge with the Swedish Arla, we have also started a new era for the Danish dairy sector. We're now facing a new, exciting year where the challenge lies in bringing MD Foods and Arla together in the new Arla Foods."