A chain of four John Deere equipment dealerships in Quebec's Monteregie has expanded eastward in a merger with another Deere dealer in the Estrie.

Les Equipements Lague, which deals in Deere's ag, commercial, lawn, garden, turf and golf equipment and Gator utility vehicles at St-Hyacinthe, Pike River, Ange-Gardien and Varennes, on Thursday announced it will merge with Les Equipements Veilleux effective Aug. 1 under the Lague name.

The Veilleux dealerships operate at Lennoxville and Coaticook in the Estrie, selling and servicing Deere farm machinery, skid-steers, loaders and other commercial-grade equipment.

The combined dealerships will employ over 175 people across the six locations, the companies said Thursday.

Bernard Duquette, who manages the Veilleux shop at Lennoxville, said in a release that the result of the combination will be "a new, more competitive business that can take up the challenges of a market experiencing very rapid change."

The Lague chain has expanded organically since Roger Lague opened his dealership at Farnham in 1951, adding the Ste-Hyacinthe and Pike River locations in 1967 and 1973 respectively and moving from Farnham to Ange-Gardien in 1994.

The company's Varennes location, a joint venture named Equipements Lague et Martin when it opened in 1996, merged back into the Lague chain in 2009. Lague Golf et Gazon, a separate wing selling Deere golf and turf equipment, was launched in 1988.

The Veilleux operations, founded in 1983, will now also handle the golf and turf equipment, a company representative said Thursday.