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Proposed merger of Arla Foods plc and Express Dairies plc

Press Release   •   Mar 27, 2003 12:56 GMT

LEADING THE WAY

The boards of Arla Foods amba, Europe's largest dairy co-operative, and Express Dairies plc announced today that they have agreed the terms of a proposed merger between Arla Foods plc, Arla Foods amba's UK subsidiary, and Express Dairies plc.

The proposed new business, called Arla Foods UK plc, will create a new leading dairy company in the UK. It will be a UK market leader in milk and cream as well as marketing a wide range of added value dairy products such as Lurpak, Anchor and Cravendale PurFiltre(r) fresh milk.

The new company will have a combined turnover of some £1.4 billion and will be 51% owned by Arla Foods amba and 49% owned by existing Express Dairies plc shareholders.

Arla Foods and Express Dairies are both among the UK's largest liquid milk producers, with Arla Foods forming part of the Arla Foods amba Group, the largest farmer-owned dairy co-operative in the European Union.

Customers across the retail, doorstep and foodservice sectors will benefit from the creation of a full service dairy company with a strong track record in innovation, comprehensive nationwide coverage and excellent distribution.

Both Arla Foods and Express Dairies have long histories of working collaboratively with farmers, and the new company is committed to continue fostering strong, inclusive relationships with all its suppliers.

This approach - as envisaged by the Curry Report on the Future of Farming and Food (January 2002) - reflects both Arla Foods' commitment to farmers as Europe's leading dairy co-operative, and Express Dairies' partnership arrangements (Express Milk Partnership) plus the recent alliance with Milk Link.

The proposed merger is conditional upon approval by Express Dairies plc's shareholders and certain regulatory consents.

Arla Foods UK plc is home to some of the UK’s leading dairy brands including Cravendale, Lurpak and Anchor. Processing approximately two billion litres of milk a year Arla continues to be one of the UK’s leading dairy companies and a supplier of fresh liquid milk and cream to the top seven retailers.

Over 2,500 daily deliveries are made directly to stores nationwide and Arla brands can be found across the dairy category. As well as the leader of the butter, spreads and margarine sector, and a major supplier of other added value products including flavoured milk and cheese, Arla continues to build working relationships with Arla Foods Milk Partnership, a unique group of dairy farmers, which supplies around 90 per cent of Arla's total milk requirements.

Behind this leading business is a team of circa 2,800 people across the UK located at our dairies, distribution centres and head office.