Global Co, the company created by the merger of New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Dairies, has been named Fonterra.

Chairman John Roadley, who announced the decision today, said the new name would initially mean little to shareholders, staff and the public.

"Our challenge is to ensure Fonterra means something special to our shareholders, our staff and all New Zealanders within our first year."

Mr Roadley said the process to develop the name took several months, was led by the board, and involved a small group of shareholders, industry executives, designers and lawyers.

Care had to be taken that the name was not offensive in any language or already prominently in use internationally.

Fonterra, with over NZ$11 billion in assets, will operate in 120 countries, employ 20,000 people, earn over 20 per cent of New Zealand's export receipts and generate seven per cent of its GDP.