Campbell Soup Co. has acquired Danish baked snack company Kelsen Group in a bid to grow its international presence, particularly in China.

The US group has acquired Kelsen from private-equity firm Maj Invest and “several” other unnamed investors for an undisclosed sum.

Kelsen sells its brands, including Kjeldsens and Royal Dansk, in 85 countries around the world and benefits from established distribution networks in Asia, South America and the Middle East, Campbell said.

The US soup-to-cracker firm emphasised Kelsen is “a market leader in the assortment segment of the sweet biscuits category” in China and Hong Kong.

Campbell said the acquisition would complement its existing presence in baked snacks. The group sells Pepperidge Farm crackers, primarily in the US, and Arnott’s biscuits in Australia.

Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said: “Kelsen will give Campbell a solid platform for growth in baked snacks in China and for the expansion of our international footprint. The acquisition of this successful business is another important step in Campbell’s quest to delight new consumers through expansion into higher-growth spaces, including fast-growing emerging markets.”

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Kelsen has been exporting into China for more than 20 years and its brands have grown at a compound annual growht rate of 28% for the past three years.

Last year, the group generated net sales of DKK1.04bn (US$180m). The business will continue to operate on a stand-alone basis. The deal is expected to be “modestly accretive” to fiscal 2014 earnings.

Kelsen CEO Brian Rønsholdt said: “Campbell’s consumer-focused capabilities and wide-ranging experience in biscuit production will provide new resources for enhancing Kelsen’s product lines and strengthening our engagement with consumers around the world.”