Portfolio management company AXA Private Equity has started exclusive talks to acquire French food additives specialist Diana Ingrédients.

Diana Ingrédients is currently owned by investment fund Cognetas, who acquired the company from French bank BNP Paribas in April 2004 for EUR270m. A deal with AXA could be worth around EUR700m (US$945.7m). 

Following the sale, French media reports suggest Cognetas will retain a majority stake. The investment fund declined to comment when contacted by just-food today (29 May). 

Diana Ingrédients' culinary ingredients activities focus on tailor-made ready-to-use sauces and flavoured butters along side pork bards and high functional meat proteins.

The Brittany-based firm also specialises in meat and seafood natural ingredients and pet food ingredients.

Diana Ingrédients has a total workforce of around 1,000 staff. The group posted turnover of EUR280m in 2006.