Restaurant and bakery firm Le Duff has completed the acquisition of Frial, strengthening the French group’s position in frozen ready meals.

Le Duff, which has a presence in ready meals through its Cité Gourmande business, previously said it was in discussions with US-headquartered investment company Ares Management Corp. to purchase Normandy-based Frial. The deal was confirmed in a statement on 30 December, with no financial details provided.

Ares bought Frial in 2019. The French company was founded in 1980 in the Normandy commune of Bayeux and supplies branded frozen ready meals to the retail channel and also to foodservice. It also produces frozen seafood products.

Frial operates three Normandy manufacturing sites located in Bayeux, Mont-Saint-Michel and Falaise. It had a turnover in 2020 of EUR182m (US$205.6m).

Le Duff, which said it made a turnover of EUR2bn in 2019, noted the Frial acquisition “continues its strong international growth, opening the way to new outlets, particularly in North America and Asia”.

Cité Gourmande supplies the retail brands Pom Bistro and the organic meal range Yummy. The company also operates the Bridor bakery business and Brioche Dorée bakery shops.

Founder and chairman Louis Le Duff reiterated comments in the latest statement to those he made previously: “Since the beginning of the Group’s adventure, we have not ceased to transmit our passion to the four corners of the world, always with an unwavering attachment to quality and health on the plate.

“Yesterday like today, innovating remains the watchword. 50% of the products in our freezer did not exist ten years ago. It is therefore necessary to know how to grasp the evolutions of society and the new needs of consumers. This is what we are doing with the acquisition of Frial, a perfect example of success and made in France know-how.”

Jean-Marie Piranda, the president of Frial, said: “For more than 30 years, the Le Duff Group has chosen to ‘produce in France’ and the history of Frial is deeply rooted in Normandy. Leading this development project with an independent and essential French industrial player, with whom we share many values, is a source of great pride for us.”