Merger of dairy co-operatives Osuuskunta ItäMaito and Osuuskunta Maitosuomi confirmed

The merger of Valio owner co-operatives Osuuskunta ItäMaito and Osuuskunta Maitosuomi to form a new, single dairy co-operative named Osuuskunta Maitosuomi was confirmed by the decisions of the delegates at each co-operative’s meeting on 28 November 2018. The co-operatives will continue to operate in their current form until 31 August 2019, starting together as the new Osuuskunta Maitosuomi on 1 September 2019.

Osuuskunta ItäMaito has a little over 1500 dairy farmer entrepreneur members and Osuuskunta Maitosuomi a little over 1000. ItäMaito’s raw milk intake was around 519 million litres in 2017 and Maitosuomi’s some 364 million. For the transition period, seven members of Osuuskunta ItäMaito and five from Osuuskunta Maitosuomi have been elected to the Board of Directors of the new co-operative. The following have been elected to the Board of Directors for the transition period, from ItäMaito: Hannu Gröhn, Nurmes; Arto Heikkinen, Pyhäntä; Mikko Heikkinen, Lapinlahti; Jarno Kämäräinen, Kiuruvesi; Petri Natunen, Joroinen; Jari Puhakka, Ilomantsi; Satu Pulkka, Vieremä and from Maitosuomi: Esa Kotala, Lapua; Mats Broända, Kruunupyy; Hannu Hokkanen, Kangasniemi; Antti Saari, Lapua; Kyösti Anttila, Kurikka.

The transitional Board of Directors will meet for the first time before the end of 2018 to start building the operations and organisation of the new co-operative and ensure the goals set for the merger are met.

The highest power of decision in the new co-operative will be exercised by its members in electing the delegates, and the first election will be held in autumn 2019. In accordance with the co-operative principles and Valio’s owner strategy, all members of the new co-operative have one vote in a delegate election. Also, dairy farmer entrepreneurs are paid a raw milk price set by its composition and production, independent of the size or location of the farm.

Renewed conditions for operational development

The new co-operative will be domiciled in Lapinlahti. The merger will enable the further development of services for the dairy farmer entrepreneurs and greater resource efficiency. The co-operative’s official languages will be Finnish and Swedish.

“The goal of the merger is to develop operations and allocate resources to respond even better to the co-operative’s needs, and promote the operating conditions for dairy farming. The number of dairy farmer entrepreneurs in Finland has been falling by 5–7% per year for some considerable time now, which also reduces the number of members in the milk producer co-operatives. The merger will enable us to enhance for example our advisory and expert services, and secure the future of services offered by the co-operative. Also a large unit promotes specialisation. All services can be provided in Finnish and Swedish,” says Paula Kaleva, Chair of the delegates of the current Osuuskunta Maitosuomi co-operative.

“The new co-operative’s Lapinlahti domicile puts it close to the heart of the newly combined operating area, and Valio’s cheese and powder plants’ modern premises in Lapinlahti are ideal for the new co-operative’s personnel. Most of the clerical staff will work and be based in different parts of the co-operative’s territory. The name Maitosuomi (‘Milk Finland’) aptly describes the new operating area spanning a large part of the best milk production regions in Finland,” says Petri Natunen, Chair of the delegates of ItäMaito.

The new co-operative will be Valio’s largest single shareholder

The new co-operative will be Valio’s largest single shareholder (42.7%) and supply around 50% of the raw milk taken in by Valio. Of the 23 dairy farmer members on Valio’s Supervisory Board, four represent Osuuskunta Maitosuomi and ItäMaito has six.

Valio’s procurement co-operatives at 28 November 2018, shareholdings and raw milk volumes 2017:

  1. Evijärven Osuusmeijeri0.15% Valio shares, 9.4 million litres of milk

  2. Osuuskunta ItäMaito27% , 519

  3. Osuuskunta Länsi-Maito13% , 196

  4. Osuuskunta Maitosuomi15.7% , 364

  5. Osuuskunta Pohjolan Maito17.4% , 500

  6. Osuuskunta Tuottajain Maito25.6% , 239