Labeyrie is eyeing an IPO by 2018 and plans to make new acquisitions, according to CEO Pierre-Yves Ballif

Labeyrie is eyeing an IPO by 2018 and plans to make new acquisitions, according to CEO Pierre-Yves Ballif

French group Labeyrie Fine Foods is considering an initial public offering by 2018, as one of the company's key shareholders prepares to sell its stake, according to CEO Pierre-Yves Ballif.

Ballif told French business daily Les Echos the IPO move will take place when private-equity firm PAI Partners goes ahead with the planned sale of its 43% stake in Labeyrie.

"The strategic plan in this regard will be finalised in April," Ballif was quoted as saying. He said the IPO would seek to raise additional funds for further acquisitions to boost the group's presence internationally.

A spokesperson for Labeyrie told just-food the company "will not make further comments for the time being". PAI Partners did not respond to a request for comment on Ballif's remarks.

Labeyrie's other key shareholder, French Basque food co-operative Lur Berri, also holds a 43% stake in the group. Labeyrie's management holds the remaining 14%.

Labeyrie was formed in 2012 after the group operated for several years as part of the Icelandic seafood group Alfesca.

In November 2015, Labeyrie announced it would take a 50% stake in trout supplier Aqualande, after confirming a month earlier it was taking a majority stake in local snack maker Sales Sucres.

Last February, Labeyrie announced the acquisition of Belgian firm Père Olive and Dutch company King Cuisine to expand its reach in "gourmet snacking". King Cuisine specialises in ready meals and also manufactures products including dips and olives. Père Olive packages and sells Mediterranean olives.