PinguinLutosa is eyeing expansion in Eastern Europe through its planned merger deal with French co-op Cecab, the chief executive of the Belgian frozen food group has told just-food.

Herwig Dejonghe said today (14 May) that PinguinLutosa’s proposal to combine its and Cecab’s frozen vegetable businesses would help the Belgian group expand further in the east of the continent.

“We want to grow in Eastern Europe. Poland is an important country for processing frozen vegetables,” Dejonghe said.

Cecab’s frozen vegetable division, D’Aucy Frozen Foods, has eight production sites in Europe – two in France, two in Hungary and four in Poland.

Dejonghe reaffirmed that the two sides were in exclusive talks and said he could see a deal being completed by the end of the year.

The proposed deal plans for Cecab to take a 10% stake in PinguinLutosa and would see the Belgian group’s frozen vegetable business grow by more than 50%.

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Dejonghe ranked his company’s proposals alongside recent deals that saw Pinguin expand in the UK and its acquisition of frozen potato firm Lutosa. “This is the third important deal,” he said.