Sweden-based conglomerate Lantmännen has agreed to sell its potato processing business to a group of growers.

The company said yesterday (1 September) that it would keep an interest in the storage and sorting of potatoes but wanted to exit processing to focus on its core businesses.

"This way, the potato processing will get a number of engaged, Swedish growers for owners - which feels very positive," said Lantmännen chairman Thomas Bodén.

The deal, signed for an undisclosed sum, will see the growers gain control of a business that processes potatoes under the Solanum and Alströmer brands.

In July, Lantmännen said it had swung into the red during the first half of 2009 despite "good results" from its food division.

Lantmännen, which has also has interests in sectors including constriction and machinery, booked a loss of SEK196m (US$27m) for the six months to the end of June.