STOCKHOLM, Sweden--(BUSINESS WIRE)--3i Group plc and the Swedish Industrial Development Fund are making a first-stage investment totalling SEK 10 m in fast-food enterprise MicVac AB, which has developed and patented an entirely novel method for producing ready-to-eat food using microwave technology. MicVac makes vacuum-packed, nourishing, high-quality, tasty meals.

MicVac AB, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and founded in August 2000, offers the food industry an entirely novel method for preparing, pasteurising and packaging ready-to-eat meals. This step-wise production process is cost-efficient and confers a long shelf-life.

Philip Nordell, MicVac AB's CEO, commented: ``We take a very positive view of gaining two such professional, stable owners as 3i and the Swedish Industrial Development Fund. This capital injection will provide us with a very solid foundation for driving our concept and products resolutely onwards.''

The production process employs microwaves and a special valve to release steam, and originated from innovator and founder Joel Haamers's previous experience of, and research into, mussels.

The method is still in development, with a number of major food corporations in the Nordic region and other European markets now discussing pilot projects. MicVac expects to have consumer products in stores in autumn 2002. At present, MicVac has seven staff.

Magnus Ramstrom, Investment Manager at 3i Nordic, adviser to 3i Group plc, added: ``The market for ready-to-eat fast food is extensive and in robust growth; MicVac is in an exciting developmental phase, and we perceive bright prospects of them securing a solid position.''

Thomas Gorling, the Swedish Industrial Development Fund's Investment Manager, also noted: ``MicVac's method conforms closely to the food industry trend towards increased value-added. The enterprise's skills and business model provides the right conditions for it to grow into a highly profitable corporation with huge development potential.''

In this phase, 3i and the Swedish Industrial Development Fund will invest SEK 5 m each, with a supplementary investment planned for spring 2002. Apart from its founder and some Board members, MicVac's owners are Chalmersinvest, Chalmers Innovation, 3i and the Swedish Industrial Development Fund.