* 71 pct of shareholders in farmers' co-op approve deal
* Deal cuts co-op stake from 54.4 to 51.4 percent
* 2nd vote will decide whether co-op cuts stake to 41.4 pct
DUBLIN, Nov 14 Glanbia on Wednesday
secured a deal to hand direct control of its Irish dairy
subsidiary to a farmer-led cooperative which will agree to
reduce its majority shareholding in the Irish food group.
Glanbia hopes the move will allow it to focus more on its
high-margin U.S. cheese and international nutritionals
businesses away from its lower margin dairy processing.
Members of Glanbia Co-op Society Ltd voted to approve the
purchase of 60 percent of Glanbia subsidiary Dairy Ingredients
Ireland via a new joint venture. Glanbia will retain the
remaining 40 percent.
The deal, which will reduce the co-op's stake in Glanbia to
51.4 percent from its current 54.4 percent is expected to be
approved in a vote of Glanbia shareholders on Nov. 20.
The vote paves the way for a second ballot for the co-op to
cut its stake by a further 10 percent to 41.4 percent. That vote
will be held in two stages on Nov. 28 and Dec. 12.
That vote, however, would require the approval of 75 percent
of shareholders, above the 71 percent who voted in favour of the
joint venture on Wednesday.
Glanbia Chief Executive John Moloney said the vote marked a
"significant and penultimate step" to the creation of the joint
venture, which he said would allow the co-op's farmers to boost
processing capacity and maximise the benefits of the abolition
of European Union milk quotas in 2015.
Glanbia shares were up 0.3 percent at 1210 GMT, ahead of the
broader Irish market which was down 1.5 percent.