The French state has signed off emergency aid of EUR70m to embattled French food industry holdings group Financière Turenne Lafayette, the owner of brands including William Saurin ready meals and Madrange meats.

Last week, FTL issued a statement on the findings of an audit that revealed “a misrepresentation of the group’s accounts over several years within a context of extremely poor market conditions for the food industry in general and for certain of the group’s subsidiaries in particular”.

The audit followed the death of company founder, president and sole owner, Monique Piffaut, last month, although it pre-dated the hiring of the company’s new president, Eric Le Gouvello, who was appointed earlier this month.

A decree has been published in France’s state’s official journal to say “payment of the aid will be made in full by December 31, 2016 at the latest… one or several of the FTL group’s companies”.

FTL declined to comment on the emergency aid and what it would be used for.

However, a source familiar with the move said EUR10m would go towards paying part of the wages due to FTL’s 3,200 staff and to provide financial support for any subsidiaries in difficulty.

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The remaining amount will be held in reserve should other funding be required, the audit having yet to be completed.

The source added FTL has debts of around EUR350m.