Banks Cargill merger given EU go-ahead


Banks Cargill Agriculture has been given the go-ahead for their proposed merger of the UK agricultural operations of Cargill and Banks Agriculture.

Full EU approval was granted on Friday and the new directors have now signed and sealed the deal, which creates one of the industry's leading businesses in the sector.

Richard Banks, chairman of the new business, said: 'This European approval represents a significant piece of history for both our companies and the launch of our combined business operations.'

The new company has more than 400 staff and sales that top 450 million, with centres based at Sandy, Swinderby and Andover, plus regional offices and seed plants.

Commenting on how the current foot and mouth crisis in farming is affecting the business, Mark Aitchison, managing director, said: 'We have been very pro-active in taking all the necessary steps to protect our sites from infection.

'We have dipping and disinfectant mats, so we have done what we can, and we are also trying to be as understanding as we can be in terms of collection of grain.

'But a lot of farmers want their grain collected, so we are working hand in hand with them, very much on a one-to- one basis.

He added: 'Some farmers are finding it very difficult. In the domestic market a lot of farmers have stopped ordering and collections.

'We are more concerned about our customers' 'bottom lines' at the moment than our own.

'We will muddle through, but I am concerned about the impact on individual farmers, seeing their life's work destroyed.'