Nestlé’s baby-food assets in France have come under the ownership of FnB Private Equity following talks that began five months ago.

The deal for the NaturNes, Babicao and Babivanille brands, along with the P’tit franchises, to the Paris-based investor was approved by competition authorities and worker representatives.

The transaction, however, does not include any of Nestlé’s infant-formula products or brands in France. When the talks started with FnB in February, the Swiss food giant described baby powders as “a strategic and historical pillar for the group”.

FnB will house the acquired assets under a company called Azuré Holding, led by Antoine Forbin as chairman and president, according to a statement from the investor, which is a majority shareholder in the business.

Forbin said: “By relying on the teams in place who have already been fully committed since the beginning of the year, supplemented by our recruitment teams and equipped with a high-quality industrial tool, based in Arches in the Vosges, our ambition is to give a new boost to strategic growth to the recognised and powerful brands.

“We will focus on deploying our capacity for innovation, getting closer to consumers by significantly strengthening our share of voice and ensuring operational excellence with respect to our customers.”

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The future production of the acquired baby-food brands will be centred on a plant in Arches, a commune in Vosges, north-east France.

That site was part of the deal with Nestlé, along with the existing 235 employees that worked for the Swiss group, a person familiar with the proceedings confirmed with Just Food.

The facility has an annual turnover of around €100m ($108.1m) generated locally, with a production capacity of 33,000 tonnes. The acquired brands hold a 25% market share in France.

Azuré Holding is a holding company set up by FnB to house the assets and a new trading name will be announced later, along with a new name for the brands purchased, person said, asking not to be named.

Financial terms of the deal with Nestlé have not been disclosed.

Valérie Lutt, a partner at FnB, said the acquired baby-food brands have “strong development potential and a unique positioning on the market”, adding: “We are very confident in the ability of the team as a whole, led by Antoine Forbin, to strengthen market share and identify new sources of growth, particularly through innovation.”