The holding company controlling French organic products maker Léa Nature has bought a 33% stake in rival Ekibio.

Compagnie?Biodiversité bought the stake in Ekibio from investment bank CIC Banque de Vizille and other minority shareholders for an undisclosed sum. Ekibio’s founder Didier Perréol remains the company’s principal shareholder.

Léa Nature and Ekibio will preserve their autonomy and identity as family-owned firms, a joint statement said.

The Léa Nature-Ekibio alliance represents France’s second-biggest organic food specialist behind Distriborg, which is owned by Dutch food group Wessanen and has an annual turnover of more than EUR230m. It will employ 780 staff and operate seven production plants, including one in Bolivia.

Léa Nature’s activities include organic food brand Jardin Bio, as well as health and dietetics products, with 80% of its turnover generated in the retail sector. Some 90% of Ekibio’s turnover is earned from business with organic food stores.