December 19 2013 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Friday, September 20, 2013
Co-op bosses have unveiled plans to create a single £1bn business by merging the Midlands and Anglia Co-operative societies.
• Projected gross sales of £1bn
• Over 329,000 regular trading members
• Over 8,600 employees
• 500,000 customers served every week
• 227 food stores, 23 fuel filling stations and 22 post offices
• 2 food distribution centres
• 113 funeral homes, 9 florists, 5 masonry outlets, 1 coffin factory and 1 crematorium
• 21 travel shops
• 3 opticians
• 1 hair salon
• 2 motor dealerships
• 1 specialist vehicle building business
The proposed shake-up will aim to secure the long-term future of the two organisations and accelerate growth and development, the Co-op said.
Yesterday’s announcement was welcomed by union leaders who claimed the merger would be managed “professionally and sympathetically” and would be in the interest of its employees because it would add “commercial strength” to the societies.
But the process can only gather momentum once it has passed a vote by members from both societies at meetings in October and November.
The Anglia Co-operative Society – a separate body to the East of England Co-operative Society, which also has stores in the region – employs 1,804 people and has food, funeral, travel and optical retail outlets in both Norfolk and Suffolk.
John Chillcott, chief executive of Anglia Co-operative Society, said: “As well as having many similarities from a business and organisational point of view, our two societies also have the benefit of a shared cultural and ethical perspective.”
Martyn Cheatle, chief executive of midlands Co-operative Society, added: “We believe that this move provides a fantastic opportunity to secure the long-term future of our societies and will allow us to accelerate our plans for growth and development.
“By pooling our resources, we will be better placed to develop our competitive advantage, protect our existing business, and move forward with investment and expansion on a greater scale.”
The Co-op said that if members approve the proposal, then the legal formation of the merger would take place in early December.
John Gorle, Usdaw’s national officer for members working in the Co-op, said: “Both societies are modern and progressive employers and their relationships with Usdaw enable change to be managed professionally and sympathetically. The merger between the two societies will further add to the growing competitive strength and commercial performance of each operation.
A spokesman for NACO, the union for management and professional staff at the Co-op, said the merger would ensure a strong Co-operative presence in the Midlands and East Anglia and would help enhance staff careers.
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