French food co-op Unicopa is to be broken up after an agreement was struck with its banks and financial backers.

The company, which has a range of dairy, meat and animal nutrition interests, has struggled with financial difficulties for the last two years and has seen a raft of assets already sold.

A memorandum of understanding has been reached with Unicopa's lenders and backers, which although remains subject to approval by local legal authorities, will see more assets offloaded.

Unicopa's animal nutrition business Nutréa will join co-operatives Coopagri Bretagne et Terrena in a new structure.

Other operations, including a 33% stake in French dairy group Entremont Alliance, have been placed in administration to be sold at a later date.

Last week, Unicopa sold its charcuterie arm, Brocéliande, to one of France's leading pork processing groups, co-operative Cooperl Arc Atlantic.

Unicopa president Gilles Bars said the move would help farmers compete with counterparts across Europe and deal with a volatile market.

"These changes respond primarily to the new expectations of farmers and the need to build structured business that can adapt to compete on the European and world markets and to withstand multiple fluctuations in these markets," Bars said.