UK food firm Associated British Foods has announced the acquisition of G Costa, a UK producer and importer of oriental and speciality food brands.

G Costa, which has UK manufacturing and distribution facilities in Wales, Hertfordshire and Kent, was formerly owned by senior management with backing from venture capital firm 3i.

G Costa makes the Blue Dragon range of sauces and ingredients for Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese cooking, and had annual sales of £51.8m (US$90.2m) in 2002.

The company is to be run as a separate unit, but alongside ABF's Westmill Foods, which supplies rice and noodles to the UK market.