“Hansa-Milch and Mecklenburg-Holstein and the Scandinavian company Arla Foods are set to merge,” Arla said in a statement.
“A plan to that effect put forward by the boards of the two companies was approved by the members of the two cooperatives on March 2,” it said, adding the decision has “retrospective effect for the full 2011 financial year, and is enacted for January 1st 2011.”
It added the German company, owned by some 1,200 farmers in Northern Germany, would now be known as Hansa Arla Milch.
Arla, which will retain its name, is owned by some 7,600 dairy farmers in Denmark and Sweden. It says it is already the fourth-largest dairy cooperative in the world and the largest global supplier of organic milk.
The merger still needs approval from European regulatory authorities, Arla said.
The two groups had announced in December they were in merger talks, with Arla chief executive Peder Tuborgh noting the move would give Arla a boost for the German retail market.
“Together, we can offer a full range of dairy products from a single provider, making us an even more attractive partner for German retailers,” Ove Møberg, the chairman of Arla’s board, said Wednesday.