Prime Tanning Co and Irving Tanning Company have signed a letter of intent to merge, in a move that will create the largest vertically integrated tanning operation in the US with revenues in excess of US$225m.

The combined company will be called Prime Tanning Company and will be led by president and CEO Bob Moore, and co-chairmen Mike and Steve Kaplan. Dick Larochelle will become executive vice president - International.

The companies' finished leather operations will have a customer portfolio of footwear and accessory brands including Born, H H Brown, Coach, Cole Haan, Justin Brands, Rocky Brands, SAS, Sofft, Timberland, Wolverine and the US Military.

Irving operates a 30m feet capacity side leather finishing operation in Hartland, Maine, while Prime operates a similar size facility in Berwick, Maine, as well as a wet blue tanning operation in St Joseph, Missouri.

Prime's CEO Bob Moore said: "This merger leverages the synergies and shared potential of both companies. The new Prime will offer its customers an unparalleled R&D platform and enormous capacity and flexibility, combined with a higher level of sales, service and responsiveness."

Irving's current CEO Dick Larochelle said: "This is a logical step for our two companies. Together, we have enormous potential to improve the standing of US-based leather tanneries on the global stage."