British and Central European Arla farmers vote yes to ONE Arla
Arla farmer owners in the UK and Central Europe have voted a resounding ‘yes’ to becoming direct members of Arla Foods amba.
Until May 2018, British and Central European Arla farmers were members of Arla through their national cooperatives.
As a result of the vote, the farmers will fully align with Danish and Swedish members who, as founding members, already have direct membership status of Arla Foods amba.
For many of the corporate members, completing the journey to becoming direct members completes the journey on which they set out when they merged with Arla.
The final step to align all members commenced in October 2016, when Arla’s supreme governing body, the Board of Representatives, gave management permission to find a solution to achieve direct membership ‘ONE Arla’ status for all Arla farmers. In February 2018 the Board of Representatives voted to change the Articles of Association which facilitated British and Central European farmers being given the invitation to become direct members.
Arla farmer Chairman, Ake Hantoft comments on the decision of British and Central European Arla farmers. “I am absolutely delighted that these farmers have given such strong support to Arla by voting to become ONE Arla and we look forward to welcoming them as direct members.
“Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing our 11,200 farmers standing united in ONE Arla. For me it has certainly concluded the journey on which I set out when I became Chairman in 2011. In July 2018, when I stand down as Arla Chairman, I will leave a truly European-wide cooperative that is the largest in Europe.”
Following the result of the votes, British and Central European farmers will now merge into a European Cooperative Society (SCE) at which point the individual cooperatives will cease to exist. The SCE will, in turn, merge with Arla Foods amba later this year.
As direct members, all Arla farmer owners will be governed by the same rules, and will continue to be paid in the same way through Arla’s Common Payment model and receive the same benefits as they do today.
Result of the votes
Voting took place in five cooperatives:
UKAF - 1st vote 97.5 per cent, 2nd vote 98 per cent voted in favour
EAGM 99 per cent of the delegates and 99.74 per cent of the members voted in favour
MUH 91.95 per cent voted in favour
Hansa 92 per cent voted in favour
MGBS 97 per cent voted in favour
What is an SCE?
An SCE is a specific legal entity that has its constitutional basis in EU law. The SCE will be based in Viby, Denmark, and will be subject to Danish law.
The two-step merger process, using the SCE as an interim stepping-stone, is required for the Central European Cooperatives to merge into Arla Foods amba. While the SCE is not strictly necessary for the UK to merge with Arla Foods amba, the legal and administrative process is simpler if all cooperatives across the UK and Central Europe form an SCE first, which will then merge directly with Arla Foods amba