Dairy Crest Group has been given the green light by the French Works Council for its EUR370m (US$488) proposed acquisition of spreads firm St Hubert.

Dairy Crest announced on 9 November 2006 that it had entered into an agreement for the purchase of the French and Italian spreads business from convenience food group Uniq.

Uniq confirmed that the required French Works Council consultation process has now been completed and that a sale and purchase agreement, binding on both parties, has been signed.

Completion of the acquisition is now conditional on the approval of both Dairy Crest and Uniq shareholders, with meetings expected to take place in early January.

A Dairy Crest spokesperson told just-food: "The shareholder feedback we have received is very positive. The deal would be a good step into Europe through a strong brand in St Hubert, together with our existing brands."

Dairy Crest, whose UK dairy portfolio includes Clover, Utterly Butterly and Cathedral City cheese, would not rule out bring the French spread brand over to the UK.

"We would also think about bringing the brand over here and also taking some of our brands to Europe by using the extra distribution channels. There are no short term plans to do this at the moment but this could be a possibility in the future," the spokesperson added.