Belgian ingredients firm Puratos has agreed to form a joint venture with South Africa-based foodservice group Bidcorp to develop new products targeting opportunities in South Africa's baking industry.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, announced today (7 December), Puratos and Bidcorp Food Africa will become equal shareholders in Bidcorp Food's Bakery Solutions Division (BBS), which manufactures and supplies bakery ingredients to industrial bakers, the craft market and large retailers under the Chipkins and NCP brands in South Africa.

Puratos CEO Daniel Malcorps said the deal "will help us further develop the booming African market". "We want to expand further in Africa. Not only does it help us strengthen our global presence, but it also gives us the opportunity to bring the same Puratos quality ingredients to every baker on the continent. With this investment we also aim to accompany our industrial and retail customers who look at Africa, just as we do, as the next big frontier."

Bidcorp Food CEO Klaas Havenga said: "BBS has been a strong competitor in its market despite the presence of multinationals. The JV will be in a much stronger position on the back of Puratos's technical strength and specialised ingredients. This augurs well for strong future sales growth, especially in market segments of the baking industry where BBS traditionally was under-represented."

The closing of the JV transaction is subject to various approvals including those of South Africa's competition authorities and the South African Reserve Bank.