Belgium-based frozen food manufacturers Ardo and Dujardin Foods have struck a deal to merge.

The companies, set up by two brothers 40 years ago, announced on Friday (28 March) plan to combine, subject to competition approval.

The Haspelagh brothers formed the companies and, following the merger, the family will own 100% of the combined business. The deal will see private-equity firm NPM Capital sell its minority stake in Dujardin Foods.

Ardo operates 15 production, packing and distribution sites in eight European countries. In 2013, Ardo's net consolidated turnover was EUR607m (US$836m).

Dujardin Foods is a manufacturer of fresh frozen vegetables, aromatic herbs, ingredients and ready-to-eat meals. The company, has five production sites located in Belgium, France and the UK, has a turnover of EUR213m.

Ardo and Dujardin Foods said the two companies will "continue to operate independently".

Dujardin Foods CEO Rik Jacobs, who will still stay in charge of that business ahead of the combination of the two companies, said: "The new Ardo will be an even greater company with a unique European footprint of large scale, specialised plants, sound agricultural expertise, professional management and an entrepreneurial attitude."