Russian meat producer Cherkizovo Group has moved to buy one of the country's largest poultry groups Chicken Kingdom.

Cherkizovo said today (17 April) that it has signed a memorandum of understanding ahead of the acquisition. Further details will be revealed when the acquisition is sealed, the company said.

Cherkizovo CEO Sergey Mikhailov said the deal is "a major step forward" for the company amid consolidation in the Russian poultry sector.

Mikhailov said: "The deal makes us the number one chicken producer in Russia, and at the same time strengthens our position in the central region of the European part of Russia."

Chicken Kingdom has operations in the Lipetsk and Bryansk regions of Russia. Annual volumes in 2006 were around 70,000 tons.